Possibly the best one anyway!
Spent a day at Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii's Big Islands.
It's a very pretty bay. It has a monument to Captain Cook, the 'discoverer' of Hawaii.
Started out the day by parking up on Napoopoo Rd, just at the junction of Mamalahoa Bypass Rd. From there, there is a walk down a gravel trail to Kealakekua Bay. It's a fairly hot walk, even for Thanksgiving Day, when I did it. That being said, I personally felt that it wasn't as bad as most guidebooks tell you it's going to be.
There's no diving down at the bay, but you can snorkel. We snorkeled all morning. Just enter the water from the Captain Cook monument. Stay off the bottom, as it's all coral. All the expected fish of the island are there: Parrot fish, Durgon, Butterfly, chub, filefish, etc.
After snorkeling all morning (just off the jetty) we exited the water and had lunch. Exiting the water is a little tricky, as the rocks are slippery.
After lunch we went back into the water. This time, we made our way out to a small pinnacle, quite a swim out to the left of the beach [picture/map to follow].
This spot is an exquisite dive site. The formation has everything you would expect to find on a dive site that's 20ft down on big island, but all within 10ft of the surface, so you can easily free dive down and enjoy looking a the formations and the fishes.
When nosing around the overhangs at this spot, we were blessed by the passage of a pod of 15 or so dolphins. Kealakekua Bay is a spot used by dolphins to rest. We were lucky enough to be in the water in the late afternoon, and as I understand it, this is about the time they awaken.
We swam back to the jetty to get out of the water shortly after that. As we were swimming back through the deeper water of the bay, we noticed that the dolphins were heading straight for us. It's quite a daunting sight, having a large group of apex predators approaching you at speed! What was truly wonderful and amazing was the sight as they reached us. They all simply dove down, about 20ft below us. We looked down into the water, with our mask and snorkels on, and watched them swim by.
Several smaller dolphins were swimming upside down, as if doing it out of curiosity - to get a better look at us odd creatures awkwardly messing around on the surface.
And for the combination of the corals, the fish, the scenery, the hiking and the dolphin encounter I consider this place to be the best dive experience I've had on a dive that's not a dive site!