Overview of Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout)

Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout)

Hawaiian Islands


Lana'i Lookout is not for the faint of heart. It is for 'extreme divers' only. Fortunately, not too many novices find their way to this extremely challenging spot. You will make your entry by giant stride to the left of the lookout, and exit to a small rocky patch to the right. Again, an experienced guide is a must! Ask your local dive shop to talk you out of it, and if they can't, ask them to guide you through it. The sights are well worth it. For further discussion on diving this coast, see the Halona Blow Hole description.

Directions: Lana'i Lookout, on the South Eastern shore, is at the only parking lot South of the Halona Blow Hole and North of Hanauma Bay.

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12/01/2010 Barry W. Stieglitz (Avg: 2.60 Review) - November 20, 2010. Two dives at this amazing site, both using the giant stride entry from the peninsula. Visibility was 70'. Although the seafloor and walls appear barren at first glance, look closely for invertebrates like banded shrimp, harlequin shrimp, blue dragon nudibranches, ashy sea cucumbers, Linkia starfish, and crown-of-thorns starfish. Saw a school of pennant fish near the exit, a single spotted eagle ray, octopus, etc. My big score was my first brotula, resting in a crack in the back of a small cave near the entry. Prior reviewers are right - this is not a dive for newbies, and not to be conducted in heavy surf.

08/07/2008 Juan from Kapolei (Avg: 3.31 Review) - Not a location for the faint of heart. Conditions subject to wind, 25+ lots of white caps. Exit can be tricky unless escorted. Use tank air in channel. Cave if you have the right equipment. Plan! Plan! Plan! Know emergency exits and plans 'before' entering the water.

02/07/2008 Seth Bareiss (Avg: 3.05 Review) - Extreme Advanced Dive. See my map ( http://scubaonthe.net/lanai.html ) for detailed info. Bring flashlight, someone to watch the car for break-ins & make sure you get back, & a local guide. Leave all valuables at home, & put a sign in the window: "no cash, no radio." From Waikiki, drive past Diamond Head. At Port Lock before Hanauma, find a dive shop with a local guide. Then drive past Hanauma toward Blowhole. Lanai's the 1 parking lot between Hanauma & Blowhole: a square for 20 cars, on a barren rocky triangular point. No phones, bathrooms, park staff-- have your car-watcher bring a cell phone. Don gear, keep wetsuit unzipped, clip your fins in top clip of BCD, do a sincere willingness check, & shove your mask into the foot-pocket of a fin. Along the highway, walk away from Hanauma Bay/Waikiki & cross the road to the inshore side of the road. When you see a small valley, walk down into it & you will find a dark narrow stone tunnel under the road. If you have a flashlight, now's the time to use it; the tunnel floor has ankle-twister holes in it. & After the tunnel, there is a tiny climb down a 3' ledge, onto a slippery flat rocky point. Beware of slipping here; there's lots of moss. Best to have pressed-felt reef boots (called "tabi" in Hawaii & Japan) to grip the ground here. Let the guide show you where to enter. DO NOT go near the innermost bays; they're extreme hazards. Giant-stride entry, sink immediately. The surface is unsafe: waves, whitewater, sharp rocks. Divers meet on bottom, 30' down. Send your 2nd-best diver to the bottom first; keep your first-best at the surface 'til last, to assist divers entering the water. You'll see a 30'-wide, 10'-tall tunnel immediately below entry point. Go through; head toward the parking lot. Cut across the narrow, boulder-strewn bay beyond the tunnel, & find a wall, outer edge of the rocky point where you parked. Follow the wall, any depth >15';. Beware, the top of the wall is extremely surge-ridden whitewater, a shallow shelf covered in waves. That shelf's edge is a great place to spot humpback cowries, though. Follow the wall for 30 minutes, until a salt-and-pepper sandy plain with wave-ridges, 30' deep. This is the last safe playground/place-to-surface before the exit, & this is where your friendly guide earns his/her $. The exit area is whitewater & surge-ridden. Worse, there're misleading false exits on either side of the real. Look for a small overhang in 15' of water, with piercings in the side & front that prevent it from being a true cavern. The near side of it is a false exit; its far side is true. Better, if you have the air & a truly knowledgeable guide, he/she will lead you past the exit to the "cheesegrate" cove beyond it, where a black 30' tunnel will lead you unerringly into the middle of the true exit cove, which is J-shaped, 40' long, & sloped upward from 10' to 1'. Use its rocky bottom as handholds & let the surge bring you in. As you 'round the J, you will be brought into a hottub-like area where you can safely exit. DO NOT PAUSE at the hottub; clamber out quickly. Waves rip over the rocks & can push you back into the bottom of the J, or pull you out over the rocks into the open sea. Get ready for a steep, dry, dusty, slippery walk up to the parking lot. Iffy divers, try out & back from the exit cove to gain familiarity. Experienced Lanai Lookout divers good on air may want to enjoy "windchime canyon" past the cheese grate cove, or even try drift-diving from exit cove to Hanauma Bay's "Toilet Bowl".

11/14/2007 Fish Finder (Avg: 3.86 Review) - This truly was an amazing site and possibly my favorite dive on the island. I was hooked once we started under the initial archway. Among some of the more interesting life we saw included a razor wrasse, a pebble urchin, and an enormous tako at 70 feet down. There is too much to explore here in just a day of diving, and it is a site I will be frequenting every time the conditions allow. The only downers are the climb down to the entry site and then the climb up from the exit, and finding the exit can be difficult if you don't know what to look for. These with the Molokai express make this an advanced dive and, to reiterate what others have said, don't do this dive without someone showing you how first.

10/04/2007 The Dude (Avg: 3.86 Review) - Okay, this is my FAVORITE dive on the island, but it has the possibility to turn into the worst dive on the island. That didn't come out right.....Trust me, at some point you will want to find someone to take you here. It is a thrilling dive, but it IS NOT a beginner dive. I am not going to even tell you how to go about doing this dive. You should learn that from your guide. I want no part whatsoever in someone trying this without a guide. This review is only to tell you all the super important considerations that I have learned on this dive. First of all, the most important thing that can be stressed about this dive is.....NEVER, EVER ATTEMPT THIS DIVE WITHOUT FIRST BEING SHOWN THE FEATURES TO LOOK FOR AT THE EXIT. Here is why: Once you jump in the water at the entrance, you can't get out until the exit which is around 40 minutes away. (If you only had one chance in life to operationally check your gear BEFORE hopping in the water, this would be the dive to do it on!) Entry is recommended as a negative buoyancy entry and once you see the surface conditions at the entrance you will know why. HOLD ON TO ALL YOUR GEAR when you walk out to jump in. I have seen a wave knock a mask off someone's face before they were even in the water. Once heading to the exit, if you miss it, the next exit along this coast is Hanauma Bay and you WILL run out of air before you get to that point. Hanauma is around 2-2.5 hours away. The exit cove here has zero visibility when underwater. I've lost track of a guy whose flipper was 3 feet in front of my face. Also, you know how some dives you can tell the waves jacked up a bit while you were in the water? Well, on this dive, the surf is ALWAYS (maybe a handful of exceptions a year) up here due to catching East, South and wind swells. So, if it jacks up while you are in the water, get ready for a eye opening experience at the exit cove. Never ever ever (once you have been guided yourself) act as a guide for someone who you have never dove with. This not the dive to find out a diver is uncomfortable in heavy currents or sucks their air in 30 minutes. Final word of advice, don't sit on the ledge at the exit cove and talk while you catch your breath. Get your flippers off and head to higher ground, then catch your breath. I have been swept off the ledge here and while I was fine, my buddy wound up washed onto the rocks. So, all that being said, this is a breath taking dive. Visibility is usually great until the exit due to the heavy currents sweeping away the suspended particles. I have only took one person here who said that they didn't like it. Find someone to take you. You really should be complete with Advanced Open Water Certification at least and I would recommend doing many shore dives that involve current and surge prior to coming here.

07/13/2006 Anonymous (Avg: 3.36 Review) - I free dove here twice. It's a great place as long as there are virtually no waves on Sandys and Diamondhead. It can be a bit of a drive depending on where you live because you have to drive though Honolulu. Make sure you have a plan on getting in and a plan on getting out and stick together. This place is tough!

04/04/2006 Jason 2 (Avg: 3.54 Review) - This is probably the best dive on Oahu, especially in the winter months when pretty much the rest of the island is off limits. I saw my first shark there, a 7 ft Galapagos, but I have been many times and never seen him again. There is a resident White tip, so make sure you have your camera ready. Do not try this site without an experienced guide for your first day/night attempt.

03/26/2005 Justin Gordon (Avg: 3.17 Review) - This is a great place to dive. I have often done drift dives from here to blow hole. I've also drifted here to Hanauma. Check tides and go when the current is in your favor if you plan to drift. Otherwise you'll end up making a long surface swim. No fun, I know because I've done it a time or two. In the winter, when the whales move through, this is the place to be. The whales get quite close to shore here, so if you have dreams of seeing them underwater, this is the right spot. It's the only place I've seen them under. And quite up close I might add. There is a resident 5 foot white tip here. My dive buddies and I call him our friend. He's very docile and has offered no cause for concern; even when he's hunting. We even have footage of him cruzing by. All around fun dive.

10/22/2004 Chad Gordon (Avg: 3.54 Review) - I have dove here about 20 times but the 3rd of October I did a drift dive from here to Hanauma Bay and it was probably the best dive I have done on this island. It is a VERY advanced dive so do not do this dive without a guide. You can go to Hawaii Sea Adventures and ask for me and I would be glad to take you out there.

07/26/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 2.98 Review) - This by far is one of the best dives on the island. During the day the visibility is great, and at night bring a spear because if you want fish you will get them here. Before you attempt this dive call the surf report line. If waves are more then 3 feet forget the dive; if wave are one to three then the dive is doable but it will be rough getting in. I love this dive! Every time I go there it is different. And I always find something new.

07/17/2004 Seth Bareiss (Avg: 2.66 Review) - The parking lot has frequent car break-ins while you're underwater or whale watching. Screwdriver entry. I've dived here roughly 100 times, got robbed 3x. The walk down to either entry point is a little challenging. Entry/exit west of the parking spot is medium-hard. Entry on the East outcropping is very challenging, and should not be attempted without watching other divers do it first. There's a broad set of tunnels under the East entry point. DO NOT GO INLAND through those tunnels, because of whitewater surge. Going west thru the tunnel's OK. Avoid the silty cave near the east entry. There's a (narrow) tunnel near the exit-point, as well. The 90 minute drift dive into Hanauma Bay / toilet bowl is strictly for the most advanced divers, and there's no way to quit en route, so avoid that until you have great experience there. Straight out on the main point is a shallow shelf that always has humpback cowries.

07/28/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 2.96 Review) - Park in the Lanai Lookout, and carefully cross the road, hop over the guardrail, and then walk down the trail that goes mauka (toward the mountain). It looks like it doesn't go anywhere, but there's a really nice tunnel (take a flashlight) going under the road that makes it a little easier to get to the cliff that you have to climb down to get to one of the two entries. My favorite is the giant stride (when the water's up, so you get pulled out when it recedes). Dropping on the Sandy Beach side of the tunnel, there's a really cool arch filled with life and sometimes a white tip reef shark! I like to take a big tank and make it a 90-minute dive, ending in Hanauma Bay (just call me crazy, but it's a great drift dive if you leave one car at the bay). One of my favorite, and more demanding dives on Oahu. ADVANCED ONLY. ONLY DIVE DURING CALM CONDITIONS!

03/11/2002 Martin Erwin (Avg: 3.44 Review) - The entry given here is insane. If you put in at the pool and swim out the channel, there is much less chance injury than jumping off the ledge. Surf conditions rarely allow for that. Yesterday we saw a large green sea turtle and a 7' Monk Seal.

01/17/2002 Robert Lower (Avg: 3.75 Review) - O.k. thrill seekers... If you come to Hawaii, or even live here, and want to get one of the best drifts of your life (providing you haven't been to Micronesia yet) then do Lanai Lookout during the winter months when the trade winds have died down on the East side and the whales are breeding. Don all gear in the parking lot, then walk across the highway to a small cut in the mountain that reveals a small man made tunnel which stretches about 75 yards underneath the highway to the ledge that you must drop off of. Avoid any unnecessary time on the surface and drift going towards Hanauma Bay/ Diamond Head. Remember, the farther from the wall you go, the stronger the current (which is usually going in the opposite direction) Average depth is 35-55ft, but can get as low as 130ft. Located in the middle of a humpback whale sanctuary, singing can be heard throughout dives from January to March. Night diving here is incredible, and the caverns/caves/overhangs plus drift action make this dive unforgettable. Exit from a small cove located along the wall (about 40 min. leisurely drifted). If you miss the exit, the next exit is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, so be alert! If you have any questions about this dive, feel free to ask, it's worth it!

05/26/2001 Theo (Avg: 3.38 Review) - This is an Advanced Dive! You start you dive trek in the parking lot. Gear up and go! As you hike down the shale, loose, cliff ledge. Be careful of broken glass. Use both hands to support yourself. You are very heavy now. Our entry point is to the south of where the man is pictured. The surf here can be very unpredictable. So be prepared. Mask on, Reg in, etc... Once in the walls, caves, and arch ways, are worth the hike in and out. Especially at night.

Anonymous (Avg: 3.55 Review) - As you can tell by the year it was quite a while ago, but I remember like it was yesterday. No bones about it, this is an intermediate to advanced dive; I just happened to make it as a beginner without a local guide. The first time we went was in late spring, early summer, when the big waves are coming in from this side of the island. The swell was 6-8ft and the waves were breaking on the rocks at about 10-15. It was not for the faint of heart. The climb down was nice, the tunnel was a cool experience and the walk out to the entry was over some even rock. We jumped in off the spit, timing the entry with the swell. This was one of those dives where you put your fins on after you are on the bottom. The life was interesting and varied and it was a wonderful dive. I haven't read all the posts, but it is useful to know that there are two exits from this entry. One to the right of the entry, and is only for the serious diver/swimmer. One of my group was picked up by a wave and not so gently deposited on a boulder (he walked way with everything but his pride intact). The other exit is farther to the left. You hook around the outcropping and back into 'Eternity Beach' (THE beach scene in From Here to Eternity). It's a nice sloping exit and quite a few turtles hang out in the area. Remember, look but don't touch.

Dive Site Links:
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*  Seth's Scuba Maps -- An excellent depiction of the underwater landscape of Lanai Lookout!


Site Photos

(what is GPS?)
(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: OA1701


Parking at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 

Turn into the lot labeled "Scenic Lookout"

Trail Head

 Map     Sat
GPS: OA1702


Trail Head at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 

This is the trail head to the exit point, at the right of the parking lot.




Overview at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 

Your exit is in a small cove to the right .


 Map     Sat
GPS: OA1704


Entry at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 

After making your way down the trail, you'll see that the exit is relatively easy.


 Map     Sat
GPS: OA1705


Entry at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 

The entry is just about 30 feet to the right of where the man is standing off of a little platform into forty feet of water. Giant Stride off the ledge, and you'll settle to the bottom at the entrance to an underwater arch. Start swimming to your right.




Aerial at Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) 
(click photo for details)

Easiest access to the entry point is via a tunnel under the main road (see the annotations). Take a flashlight with you for an added margin of safety. Again, do not attempt this dive without a guide for the first time. Swift currents could propel you well past Hanauma Bay if you are not careful.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout)  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.19
Bottom Conditions:  3.94
Reef Conditions:  3.63
Animal Life:  4.00
Plant Life:  2.75
Facilities:  1.81
Solitude 3.31
Roads:  4.19
*Site Average:  3.31

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  1.75
Beginner Scuba:  1.69
Intermediate Scuba:  3.25
Advanced Scuba:  4.44
Night diving Scuba:  4.19

Number of reviews for this site: 16


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