Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
07/16/2014 4.57 Wakatobi Dive Resort's House Reef Wakatobi, Pacific
The Wakatobi House Reef is amazing, especially if you're a macro photographer. From the moment one drops, you can find an amazing variety of fish, soft corals, and a great wall! We found pipefish at the beginning of the checkout dive, and I didn't want to leave the 6-foot deep area. Under the dock, there are lots of critters, including some scorpionfish, possibly a sea krait (one of the world's most poisonous snakes), and...the list goes on and on. The vertical wall begins pretty much at the end of the dock, and you have a 'bottomless' drop-off here. But once you're to the wall, the current picks up, taking you for a bit of a ride. Getting back to shore was the tricky part, but once you make it, a porter comes and picks up your tank, leaving you only to carry your BCD and weights (and camera) back to the Long House. Superb diving here. I only made two dives here, and I regret not doing a few more!
08/22/2012 3.39 Gun Beach Guam, Pacific
Just did two dives here during monsoon season. There is now a beach bar with volleyball court, music, parking, and even a 'cultural' park located next to the entry, and a light pole facing the ocean is in direct line with the telephone cable. Despite the installation of road swales, the widened compacted coral gravel road has added silt and runoff to the sea, decreasing visibility. The reef is still in excellent condition, but this time I did not find the resident pipefish. If the surf breaking on the outer reef is 3 feet or greater, I'd dive somewhere calmer, as on the way back in, waves crash over one's head, and returning to the sea through the cut in which the telephone cable lies. Still really enjoy this site, which has octopus, eels, clownfish, anemones, grouper, hard corals and sponges. Highly recommended, but watch your depth, as you can go well past 130 feet.
07/01/2011 3.92 Eighteenth Palm Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This reef is home to clear bright waters, and lies just adjacent to Wind Sock, with great overhead views of approaching aircraft. Below, the shallows with sand and soft corals form a narrow shelf, quickly dropping to a sloping wall that is home to great sponges, shrimp, barracuda, tarpon, butterfly fish, etc. There was little to no current here, and you can easily complete a 90-minute multi-level dive here.
07/01/2011 3.93 Calabas Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
The upper 20 to 30 feet of this apparently once pristine reef was largely wiped out by large surf recently. This upper region is now mostly sand with coral rubble. The easiest entry is from the Divi Flamingo dive deck, with two wooden (and somewhat slippery) stairways descending a couple of feet underwater. The dive really begins here, as I found a sharptail eel, fireworms, anemones, sleeping parrotfish (at night), and even a mantis shrimp, all under or within 10 feet of the dive deck. A little farther out, a large anchor (~6 feet across) offers many macro photographic opportunities, with many ting gobies. At around 60 feet, lies an upright small wreck that looks like it's still sliding down the reef. At night, tarpons and great barracuda dart in and out from the deep. Smallish invasive lionfish can be found between 30 to 80 feet. This is really a superb macro dive site, but there are enough sponges and larger critters that it's even good for wide angle. A lone manta ray cruised past the dive deck, just a foot or two below the surface. There is a lot of trash here (steel, rope, wood), but looking past all that, the dive site really does have a lot to offer!
12/18/2010 3.92 Gun Beach Guam, Pacific
It's been 12 years since I last did scuba here, but over the past 3 days, I did 4 dives here and was not disappointed. The entry is easy, but waves were breaking on the drop of the cables by day three. Several pairs of manta rays were present feeding on the surface, and as long as no one touched them, they just hung out and fed. We found an octopus, lionfish, pipefish (several), small ulua, great barracuda, giant clams, sea stars, puffer fish, blennies, roy (grouper), fire corals, feather dusters, Christmas tree worms, sponges, hard corals, grouper, green sea turtles, etc. The corals here are pristine and amazing. Visibility and currents vary depending on the tides. The parking lot seemed safe, and several tour vans arrive each morning to access the private beach past the Gun. Highly recommended!
04/12/2010 1.91 Makua Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Pray for Sets Beach (waves), renamed Pray for Sex Beach, aka, Yokohama Bay...a visually stunning white sand beach with a dramatic mountainous backdrop... Below, there is some interesting reef structure, but about 95 percent of the reef is dead and covered with algae. There are a few bright spots, including a school of pennantfish, bicolor anthias, and a few other species. There are few to no large game fish, and even the spinner dolphins appear to have abandoned the site. I went left, to the second ridge, ending in about 60 feet. Maybe the arch to the right would have been better? I had to endure a boat above trying to water ski with a surf board, and exited the water amidst four ATVs tearing up the beach without mufflers. Not exactly tranquil. Overall, not a great dive in my book....I'm happier with Kahe Point! Doubt I'll go back.
04/02/2010 3.31 Keawalo Pipe Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Enter at the stairs leading into the sea over the sea wall next to the marine laboratory. It's an easy entry if the surf isn't breaking here. Bring a flag, as the reef is just a few feet deep here, and you'll be swimming parallel to the boat channel and just outside the channel markers. We dropped about half way between the inner and outer buoys, and this put us in 20 feet of water. Swimming out perpendicular from shore, there's a fair bit of reef, which is mostly dead. But there are lots of fish, turtles, eels, frogfish and scorpionfish, plus a whole lot of collector urchins (the kind with the friendly, short spines). Then we headed Ewa (towards the west) until we intersected the Kewalo Pipe. The pipe is an old defunct concrete storm drain, which provides a hard substrate for coral reef and associated life. We did a 90-minute dive and only made it to about 50 feet, so we didn't quite see the end of the pipe. Still, a great dive, despite moderate surface swells.
11/07/2009 4.71 Gab Gab Guam, Pacific
Gab Gab II. For years, I've been diving Gab Gab, but never found Gab Gab II until today. After reaching the wall at Gab Gab, head straight out to the mooring line for the tender boat and Atlantis Submarine. If you're not exceptional on air, you may want to swim this far on the surface, as you're only half-way there. I swam out below, and the bottom drops out of sight to more than 120 feet deep. But after about 10 minutes of swimming, the second reef appears. This reef is in pristine condition. There are three 'igloos' or fish feeding stations set up by the submarine company. In the early morning, nurse sharks come to feed and join bat fish and the large black ulua (I was told to keep my fingers to myself or they would bite them, as the ulua are used to being fed sausages). There are several nice anemones here, and the second reef is really a sea mound that drops off in all directions to more than 100 feet. Exceptional dive, and the submarine cruising by just 20 feet away or so is a bonus, although the whine of its electrical engines makes for a less serene dive. Just watch out swimming through the submarine's path and the boat channel, as Apra Harbor is a Navy base, and large vessels do cruise through regularly.
11/02/2009 4.44 Gab Gab Guam, Pacific
Gear up in the parking lot next to the stairs that lead into the water by the swim area (demarked by floats). Grab hold of the stainless steel railing, so you don't slip on the steps or upon entering the water. Swim straight out towards the Apra Harbor from the entry, towards the area where the Atlantis Submarine surfaces. About a 5-minute swim from the entry, the reef drops from 20 feet to >100 feet. The visibility is generally very good here (75-100+ feet), and typically there are no waves or current in the harbor. The plate corals, sponges, assorted hard corals, and animal life is great here. I've often seen a turtle here (very skittish), white tip reef sharks and moray eels. Just to the left about 200 feet from the damaged reef (looks like a ship's anchor dragged along the reef and down the slope in the distant past), there's a carpet of anemones with the requisite clownfish. Straight out, past the sandy bottom is a second reef, where Atlantis Submarine feeds the fish and cruises by (Gab Gab II). Excellent dive. Highly recommended. Every time I return to Guam, this one's at the top of my list!
08/28/2009 3.86 Blue Heron Bridge Florida, USA East
After parking next to the bridge, gear up, grab your flag (required) and walk under the bridge towards the life guard stand. Don't enter in the area demarked by white buoys, and don't swim or submerge in this area. This was my first muck dive, and I'll have to admit, it was fun! Lots of cool critters. I'm not used to diving with folks carrying three stacking wet close-up lenses! Arrow crabs are everywhere, along with thousands of collector urchins. Colorful sea stars and occasional anemones spot the bottom. The Sea Robin and a spotted (snake?) eel were the highlights of the dive for me, as I didn't find the sea horses or striated frogfish. Great dive, but heed the advice of diving 45-60 minutes prior to high tide, let the outgoing current pull you under the bridge, and then an hour or so later, let the incoming current pull you back to the beginning with diminishing visibility. Lots of junk here, including several small wrecks!
03/25/2009 2.54 Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
It's been more than a few years since I dove here. I did the dive once from an inflatable and once from shore. The dive seemed like a lot of effort, with limited visibility, poor reef, and a mostly featureless wall with little life. It sounds as if everyone here has different opinions about the site. I'll stick to sites with coral and fishes elsewhere. I read the other's reviews as I was looking for a winter alternative to Hanauma Bay and Kahe Point. Still not convinced!
01/01/2009 3.33 Palauea Beach (White Rock) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Two of the undeveloped beach lots are public; the remainder are private property (the beach, generally up to the vegetation line, is considered public). Follow the rocky point on the right seaward. There are usually honu in the shallows at the base of the ridge; I've seen spinner dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays and even a lone bottlenose here! This is the only site where I've regularly encountered the viper moray eel; yellowmargin and whitemargin morays are much more common. This is a great dive site, with multiple possible dives out to 50 feet or so (rock piles). Look in the sand flats for occasional flying gunards. There are lots of large antler corals in the deeper waters; occasionally, large frogfish can be found here on the rocky outcrops. Just watch out when the South Swell is here; more than a few divers have been rolled in the surf, usually resulting in lost equipment!
01/01/2009 3.42 Manini Beach The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This site is located at the southern side of Kealakekua Bay, makai of the old cattle lift. There's a notch in the reef at the right side of the park (facing the ocean) that makes for an easy entry. The Captain Cook monument is located straight across the bay. The reef here consists of (almost) unbelievably large coral heads. Visibility is generally excellent, but the dive is shallow (20-30 feet). I generally go out, then left (just going out ends you up in the sand flats that comprise the middle of the bay). Back on shore, be sure to pet the donkey, and bring some healthy food!
12/31/2008 3.25 Fire House Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Firehouse is one of three sites most commonly dived by locals in the summer time on Oahu's North Shore. It begins with a bouldery topography (watch for nudibranchs), then gives way to lava tubes (to the left) or a long ridge (to the right, in front of the Firehouse). Following the ridge, you end up in 78-80 feet, depending on the tide [be aware of current, which can get quite strong]. I've seen stingrays here periodically for years. The ridge is home to eels and, occasionally, turtles (honu). To the left is a great feature we call the Skylight. There is also a wall ~25 feet tall with an inland sand channel. This site takes many, many dives to adequately explore. When you're tired of Shark's Cove, check it out!
11/06/2007 2.27 Makapu'u Beach Park Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
This is a spot that I've only been to once. The former Windward Dive Center sponsored a club dive here, and I was responsible for leading several others on a dive at a site I'd never been to. We headed out toward the northwest (towards Rabbit Island). One word could summarize what I remember most about the dive: CURRENT! There were few fish, little reef, and lots of sand....with a strong current! After asking Keoki (who went there somewhat regularly), it turns out that current is a commonplace occurrence. Given the difficulty of the entry and parking, I've never been back.
11/06/2007 3.39 Kahekili Beach (Old Airport) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Just a quick update. Adjacent to the beach park, there is now a towering hotel/timeshare (three towers), and the beach park has lost most of its solitude. Other than that, the world below remains largely unchanged. I will mention that this became my most common Maui dive site to spot the relatively rare hawksbill turtles (up to two on a dive). One day in the shallows, I found a dragonet fish. This fish is not found in the Hawaii reef fish ID books, and I suspect that it was an aquarium release.
11/06/2007 3.64 Maliko Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
After my first review, I've done quite a few other dives here. First off, a couple of things not to do….don't dive here after it's been raining on the North Shore (Maliko stream empties into the gulch, turning the water muddy brown)...and don't dive without a flag (I was nearly run over by an inattentive tourist on a jet ski). The inner bay is sometimes host to some interesting critters...including schools of small, juvenile oval squid...and a couple of juvenile spotted eagle rays. These both hang out near the surface, so be sure to look up when returning to the boat ramp (also looking out for boats). Typically, I dive the right side (closer, great topography and canyons)...but I recently discovered the left side. There are shallow lava tubes....with lots of Spanish Dancer nudibranchs...and an occasional yellow frogfish. The left side requires a bit more of a swim...and would really be an easier boat dive (gasp)...unless you're good for 90+ minutes on a tank.
11/06/2007 3.27 Napili Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I'll have to agree with the first reviewer...this site is very shallow...and in this diver's mind, much better for snorkeling than diving!
11/06/2007 3.09 Hoala Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Haloa Point is located at the South side of Palauea Beach (AKA, White Rock). It is best to dive this site when there is no South swell, as the surf can really pound here. Enter at the left side of the beach (facing the ocean) and swim to the left, keeping the reef on your left. The 'wall' begins as a shallow reef, eventually reaching 30 feet or so. There is also a swim-through arch more or less straight out from the entry with a buoy where dive and snorkel boats tie off. This site is excellent for beginners on calm days, and offers a good variety of fishes and typically a few green sea turtles.
10/31/2007 3.57 Izu Peninsula, Suruga Bay Japan, Pacific
I joined up with the U.S. Yokota Air Base "Finnatics" dive club for these dives. From Tokyo, it was more than a two-hour drive to this beautiful and rugged coastline. Little is cheap in Japan, and you have to pay a fee to compensate the Japanese fishermen for their loss of fishing grounds to scuba divers (you can't just go shore diving anywhere you want). There is little parking at the shoreline, so you park at the top of the hill, and a DM takes you and your gear to the bottom of the hill. There, a blue tarp awaits you and your group. You can't bring your own tanks…but they deliver tanks to your tarp for around $30 for the first tank and $20 for the second (as I recall). There are nice restrooms, hot outdoor showers, dip tanks for the cameras, hot bento plate lunches (well, that's what we call them in Hawaii). There's a concrete ramp with a handrail that descends from the shoreline into the water. The dive itself is somewhat austere (little reef here), but an abundance of dragon moray eels and lionfish more than make up for it! All of the fish (and eels) are different from Hawaii's, and I enjoyed the two dives greatly! Except for the dive club members, there was only one other non-Japanese speaking person at the site! Everyone was friendly and courteous, but there were lines of divers exiting and entering the water.
10/31/2007 3.23 Amtrak and Cemetery Wall Guam, Pacific
Yes, you park behind an actively used cemetery....we did get a few strange looks while gearing up at what is quite obviously a 'local's' place. Bit of a difficult entry and swim out...we did find the Amtrak with little difficulty. As usual, I was a bit overly enthusiastic in my quest to explore farther out...and nearly ran my less-experienced dive buddy out of air! Good dive!
10/31/2007 3.68 Piti "Bombholes"/The Aquarium Guam, Pacific
This is probably the most accessible 'safe' dive site on Guam other than Gab Gab on the Naval base. Nice public park with outdoor showers and restrooms. The walk over the shallow reef is long and somewhat tedious (and hot)...the bomb holes are more accurately called bomb craters. There are hundreds of large bomb craters starting just a few feet beneath the surface, with the deepest ending at the base of the Aquarium around 30 feet deep or so and the shallowest only a few feet deep. Judging by the size of the craters (and my experience with WWII-era ordnance on Kaho`olawe, Hawaii), I'd say that the majority of craters were made by at least 1,000-pound bombs or more than one 500-pound bomb. It is my understanding that these craters were created during the U.S.-lead liberation of Guam from Japanese occupying forces during WWII. Many of the beaches along Guam still contain ordnance and ordnance-related remnants. [If you like your fingers and toes, refrain from picking up anything metal from the water.] The shallow craters are somewhat annoying (up, into, then up and over). The best crater is the largest, at the Aquarium. Anemones, jack, clownfish, and lots of others (including people in the aquarium) make this the most interesting part of the dive. I tried to make it past the barrier reef, but it's very far out, and I tired long before reaching deeper waters. Recommended for beginners through advanced divers who are in relatively good shape and need a good workout!
10/31/2007 3.79 Gun Beach Guam, Pacific
Follow the road to the last resort on Tumon...then hang a left past the service area of the resort...if it's dry and you have a vehicle with decent ground clearance, drive towards the sea. Large enough area for parking....as the other reviewer said, follow the telephone cable on out to sea, then left or right. Amazingly colorful shallow coral...makes for excellent snorkeling, and good diving farther out!
10/30/2007 3.23 Asan Cut Guam, Pacific
I was forewarned by a local Chamorran resident not to dive here. Apparently, several US military folks were swept out to sea through the 'cut' during a period of large waves. If that isn't enough to deter you (it wasn't for me)...enter the parking lot just to the right of the National park, and park at the end of the lot on the right (facing the water). Gear up, then hike (on a really calm day, when the fishermen are standing in the water at the edge of the cut) over the really shallow (1-2' deep) reef to the edge of the cut. Do a quasi-giant stride, then you're in the 'cut' or channel...and swim on out to sea. The entry and exit are a lot of work, even on a calm day, in the hot and humid Guam weather! Interesting dive, and I'd probably do it again if I lived there!
10/30/2007 3.31 Epcot Dive Quest Florida, USA East
I headed off to Florida for a conference, and since I was staying inland in Orlando, decided to give Dive Quest a chance. I wasn't sure about diving in the aquarium, but I figured it was worth a try. The introduction to the experience was interesting...seeing the 'fish hospital'...the seafood kitchen...and the Back Lots of Epcot Center. The diving couldn't be easier. They weight you perfectly and provide all of the gear. My only disappointment was that you can't bring your camera. After the 'tour' part of the dive, we enjoyed a bit of exploring in buddy teams. After 20 minutes or so, I nearly forgot that I was in an aquarium! Fantastic visibility, great variety of marine life! My favorite part of the dive was a small stingray that seemed fascinated with my buzz cut and ended up sucking on my forehead! Nice warm showers afterwards...and you get to watch (and may purchase) the video of your dive. Your family can watch you diver from the restaurant or aquarium gallery. Recommended for divers who end up at the Disneyworld.
10/30/2007 3.49 Makena Landing Maui, Hawaiian Islands
The "landing" at Makena landing is a nice, white sandy beach. It's a very easy shallow gradient walk-in entry. The DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) patrols the beach often looking for divers without flags...so be forewarned! Diving along the right side of the bay from the landing, the Sand and Bubble caves are within a 10-minute swim. As mentioned in the 5 Graves review, I prefer to start and 5 Graves and make a one-way trip, exiting at the Landing, where showers and restrooms await! Very busy during peak tourist time....look out for kayaks overhead! This is also the launching spot for boats transiting (under access agreements) to Kaho`olawe, and there's a fair amount of traffic here.
10/30/2007 1.94 La Perouse Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Although I haven't dove here in a really long time, what's been said about the State's DOCARE officers is true...they're trying to prevent damage to the area's archaeological sites and underwater features...so it may not be the easiest place to try to dive! If you go, make sure the surf report shows small waves on the South shore, and go very early, before the trade winds pick up. Otherwise, visibility will be terrible, and conditions will border between unpleasant and dangerous. I've only given this site two tries....didn't deem it worthy of a third. I may be missing something...but I'd rather dive the easier and clearer waters of Ahihi.
10/30/2007 3.54 Hanauma Bay Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
First, let me say that shore access to the 'Toilet Bowl' dive referenced in my 2002 review has been closed for some 5 years. I returned to Oahu diving after a 7-year hiatus of diving Maui and Monterey, CA in 2005. The outer reef here is as good as ever. There are now large schools of jack, still quite a few turtles, occasionally schooling oval squid, and once in a great while, Manta Rays! This appears to be THE spot for rebreather divers. You can follow the cable out of the bay to the right, and dive along the wall for as long as the scrubber will last! I like to do a dive along the cable to 100 feet or so, returning after some 80 to 85 minutes on an 80 cf scuba tank.... lots of others would require 100 to 120+ cf for the same length and depth of dive. Most divers here don't make it past 60 feet, but that's ok, as the Witches Brew has almost as much action, and is only 0 to 30 feet deep! Visitors are required to pay $1 for parking, free admission for residents (something like $5 for visitors), and endure a 15-minute semi-educational video (only required once a year if you sign the sheet afterwards). Even though access is a hassle, to me, the rewards far outweigh the cost.
10/30/2007 2.87 Mokule'ia Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Slaughterhouse has some solid stairs that make the hike down the hill easier than the adjacent Honolua Bay. The central portion of the bay is mostly 'barren' sand flats; the reefs hug the outer portions of the bay on the left and right. I actually prefer to dive this site from Honolua Bay....heading out the left side of Honolua and into the right side of Slaughterhouse (as referenced from shore). I've seen green sea turtles in the bay. Great beginner snorkeling spot in the summer time when the waves are non-existent, and the bay is as flat as mirror!
10/30/2007 3.15 Lahaina Pier (Mala Ramp) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
AKA, the Mala Wharf...is a twisted wreck of a disintegrating concrete pier / dock. Underwater, it makes for a great habitat of fish, eels, and even some white tip reef sharks! This is a shallow dive, and getting out to deeper (divable) water is a bit of a trek through a rough bottom...but, it's worth it! Probably a good idea to bring a flag.
10/30/2007 2.69 Turtle Town Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Turtle Town is so named for a turtle cleaning station located in just 20 feet of water. Due to great numbers of tourist snorkel boats, many of the honu have departed the now-famous reef for less crowded waters. This area is located just to the south of the finger / ridge that is located on the South side of the 5 Graves entry. It is easily accessible from the 5 Graves entry (a 5-minute swim around the point). This site is a small component of the normal dive from 5 Graves to Makena Landing. However, we have seen schools of Heller's Barracuda here, as well as manta rays during siltier conditions in the winter time. One lucky dive boat anchored just offshore in 50 feet was fortunate several winters ago to witness a very low-draft humpback whale!
10/30/2007 1.77 Magic Island Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Dive of Last Resort. OK, for me (a spoiled Hawaii diver), I have only been to this site on three occasions. Two were on days when the waves were large everywhere else, and the South shore felt some reprieve. The third was during an underwater cleanup dive. Perhaps that is the best reason to dive here. We found a car battery, a tire, lead fishing weights, fishing line, and all manner of flotsam and jetsam. Oh, yeah. And a man's ~$10,000 wedding ring. This is commonly a training dive site, although it might just be enough to have put me over the edge and turned me off from diving! Dive here if you must, but keep in mind that the adjacent Ala Wai Canal caused at least one person to die of flesh eating bacteria!
10/29/2007 3.13 Pu'u Olai Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
The road to the Black Sand beach was closed following last year's big quake and the inception of construction adjacent to the park; it was to have reopened, but political pressure seems to be keeping it closed. This site is great during calm conditions. We've seen lots of amazing things here....a dragon moray eel (on more than one occasion); fairly frequently, hawksbill turtles; a green turtle cleaning station; spotted eagle rays, crabs, eels, and even a very rare (endangered) Hawaiian Monk Seal! This site is not recommended during times when the surf is breaking as the current can be very strong!
10/29/2007 2.87 Olowalu Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Olowalu Beach is a fairly long stretch of informal beach parks located along the highway to Lahaina. There aren't many facilities here, and based on my one attempt to dive the site, I'd recommend snorkeling and not scuba. It's very shallow for a very long ways out! Maybe there's a secret deeper channel...if you find it, you're luckier than I! I have a friend who was working on a snorkel boat...as they were watching a green sea turtle surface for air, CHOMP! A tiger shark took the turtle out....and the tourists went elsewhere to snorkel! IMHO, it's not worth an attempt to dive (at least from shore).
07/18/2004 3.92 Monastery Beach North California North, USA West
When the surf is small, this site provides easy access to the Monterey Submarine Canyon. If you drop out by the wash rock, and continue seaward, you will be following the wall down as deep as you want to go! This is a great wall dive, with a huge kelp forest to keep you occupied during the later parts of the dive. Great biodiversity. Just watch the swell on days when it's not flat as there's a dangerous shore break. Typically good vis, but occasionally, there's a plankton bloom (green pea soup).
07/08/2004 3.76 Lovers Point California North, USA West
During my first dive in the cove, I thought that my fins were repeatedly getting caught in the kelp; turns out, there was a playful harbor seal nipping at them, and I missed it! My favorite dive of the two is Otter Cove. There is a great canopy of kelp over the rock 'reef' in 40-50 feet (you have to swim a ways to get there). Huge biodiversity here. Harbor seals, diving cormorant birds, sea lions, sea stars, kelp crabs . . . Great dives when there's no South swell.
03/21/2004 3.45 Cannery Park California North, USA West
As in the previous narrative, follow the pipe out to sea. It ends at 45 feet, after which there is a slight rise in the sand. Then there are the fields of Metridium. These are HUGE white anemones, some 1 to 2 feet tall, and about a foot in diameter. They are really spectacular and worth a dive all by themselves. Also saw a seal just inshore of the Metridium. GREAT DIVING!
03/21/2004 3.77 Breakwater Cove California North, USA West
This is the most popular dive site in Monterey. On Saturdays the parking lots fill up by 10AM, so get there early. There are a number of dives including the kelp beds straight out, the breakwater wall, and the Metridium field to the South. There is an amazing biodiversity here, with sea stars, anemones, fish, crabs and even seals and sea lions all living amidst the kelp forests! Great diving!
09/15/2003 3.48 More Guam Guam, Pacific
Tumon Bay, Gun Beach - This is a common beginer site located in what I called "Little Waikiki". There's an underwater telephone cable to follow out through a notch in the reef, and the marine life is interesting. Lots of giant clams and bulbous sea stars (but I didn't find any giant giant clams). Gab Gab. Interesting dive at the Big Navy base. Starting out, one climbs down a ladder in what used to be a submarine bay. Just outside the bay, the reef drops off and plate corals and sponges abound. Interesting dive! We found some ulua and a large school of unicornfish.
06/27/2003 3.24 Miloli'i Bay The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
A narrow winding road meanders some five miles down from the highway to an old Hawaiian fishing village at Miloli`I Bay. Here, most of the houses are modest, two-story structures with corrugated steel roofs, a water catchment system (water from the houses' roofs is caught in gutters and transferred to a tank), a satellite dish, and an old fishing boat. It looks as if at one time, nearly every one of the owners of some 50-plus houses made their living by fishing; during our dive, only four boats were out to sea. A sign at the local park (a covered picnic area with a volleyball court/basketball court) says that beginning in 1998, all pigs not on a leash will be confiscated. The area is over fished, leaving a paucity of game fish, but eels and reef fish abound in the pukas in the walls and arches that abound here. Great site!
06/27/2003 2.94 Pauwela Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is an advanced dive from an entry and exit viewpoint. The cliff down is very steep, and is very slippery on the way back up with wet booties! There is some great diving here in the summer, but unless it is flat and the trade winds are down, it should not be attempted. Great diversity of life, including turtles, eels, game fish, and lots of others. Advanced divers willing to take on an adventure and in good condition only.
06/27/2003 2.67 Honokohau Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Honokohau Bay is a decent dive, but the swim out from shore is a long haul! I dove to the right, and found a decent reef, that got better the farther out you went. For the effort, I'd recommend nearby Honolua Bay instead. Be respectful of the locals here.
06/27/2003 3.42 Maliko Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Maliko Gulch is one of the easiest North Shore sites (entry), and is a great place to dive in the summer. Entry is off the boat ramp (yield to boaters). The main hazard here is being run over by boats in the channel! The reef below is amazing, with plate corals and rice corals dominating the bottom. Eel, turtles, game fish, and lots of other critters abound here. Both the left side (lava tubes farther out) and the right side (several deep canyons) make great diving. There are also a number of turn-of-the-century very large anchors here that make for great photo ops!
06/27/2003 2.89 Pine Trees The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Pinetrees is often explored from a boat, but with the right directions, it looks like an easy kick out from shore. The lava tubes here make great exploring, but dive within your experience and training, and if not so trained, never go past where you can see daylight (if you want to live to tell about it). Lots of divers have lost their dives in shallow lava tubes due to panic and silt-outs. There is also an interesting shallow bay here to explore.
06/27/2003 2.79 Devil's Rock Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Devil's Rock is so named for a pinnacle that sometimes breaches the surface or lies just beneath, depending on the tide. The topography here is interesting with two adjacent ridges that can be explored in one dive. Advanced diving, so watch your depth and bottom time.
06/27/2003 3.11 Ke'ei The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Ke`ei is an old Hawaiian village located about half-way between Kealakakua Bay (where Captain Cook landed in Hawaii) and Honaunau (Place of Refuge). Life is slow here. The houses are old and run-down; the dogs lie around and hardly notice you. Everything has a feeling of peace about it. Remnants of old outrigger canoes sit amidst ruins of houses long gone. Just offshore, the sea is filled with amazing coral reefs, large numbers of tropical fish, and even a healthy forest of garden eels. Finding the village might be a little tricky, but it's well worth it!
06/27/2003 2.19 Manta Ray Dive The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
The former site of the Manta Ray Night dive is no longer being used due to the migration of mantas from the site (presumably due to too many divers). The new locations vary, dependent on the operators. Sightings are not guaranteed, although if you are lucky, you'll have a great experience. Last month I went to Kona and dove with two mantas in the daytime, just off Old Airport. Awesome creatures, and magical at night, when they feed on the plankton and krill attracted by the divers' lights! Ask the boat operator if the mantas have been sighted regularly in recent days, and good luck!
03/23/2003 2.62 Mana Kai Hotel Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Inner Reef: Black basalt outcropping starts on the beach and extends underwater to 13 feet. The rocks are sparsely covered with red pencil urchins, cauliflower coral and wana (black sea urchins). An assortment of small reef fish and juvenile ulua hover over the rocks. We found a really large conger eel that was very curious. Best for snorkeling due to shallow depths. Sand Flats: Sparsely scattered small reefs can be found in the sand flats from 13 feet to 19 feet. We found a really nice flounder in this area. Beyond 19 feet, there really isn't much except sand flats until you hit 40 feet. We did see eyestalks of a buried box crab, though. Second Reef: After swimming a long ways (perhaps a quarter mile), we hit 40 feet, where the second set of reefs begin. The reefs here are in the shape of oblong mounds, with heights of 10 to 15 feet above the white sand sea floor and whose bases extend to past 50 feet. The reefs are comprised entirely of hard corals, with finger corals, rice corals, and lobate corals dominating. Some smallish plate corals could be found at the base of the mounds. The reefs here are home to an assortment of smaller reef fish, with bluestripe snapper and damselfish being most common. We did find one yellowmargin moray eel.
03/23/2003 3.07 McGregor Point Site 1 Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Interesting site. Parking is plentiful behind the hill. Slightly more challenging hike than the Scenic Outlook. Very similar underwater topography and enjoyable reefs. Typically poor vis (<50 feet). Varied marine life (awa, turtles, reef fish, etc.). Difficult entry/exit makes this an advanced dive. Don't try this one if the waves are breaking on the rocky shoreline. Hard-soled booties required.
09/07/2002 3.44 Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This is a great site that I dive just about every time I go to the Big Island. It's perhaps a little too popular. Straight off the entry, the reef continues to 70+ feet; to the right, it extends to nearly 100 feet. There are lots of green sea turtles, occasional spinner dolphins, spotted eagle rays, the black phase of the long nose butterfly fish, pyramid butterfly fish, a really large fine scale triggerfish, moray eels (lot of varieties), and of course, an amazing reef. Boats do race by overhead on their way to the adjacent boat ramp, so watch surfacing anywhere but right at the rocks. Very worthwhile, but overall, I prefer Puako.
09/07/2002 3.34 Alua Beach The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
I've done this dive several times as a twilight/night dive, and it's a very mellow place with a great reef, and typical Kona drop-off to the abyss. There are some large fish that swim by, turtles, eels, lots of other critters. Sheltered bay/entry. Bit of a hike over the pahoehoe lava (ropey basalt), but it's worth it. Just watch out for the black sea urchins in the shallows (ouch).
09/07/2002 3.51 Kealakekua Bay (Old Wharf) The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Alternate entry on left side of bay at Minini Bay. Easy protected entry. Really impressive large coral heads, tako (octopus), eels, yellow tang, raccoon butterfly fish... I did the dive out to sea and around the corner to the left (south). Great beginner-intermediate dive, or just a mellow, shallow dive. Small parking lot under the trees, with a porta-potti.
08/04/2002 2.55 Manohole Maui, Hawaiian Islands
We made it down and up the dirt road in an old VW van, but it has eroded since then, making a 4WD vehicle necessary unless you want to park along the narrow shoulder of the highway. Very shallow reef for a long way out, making the entry and exit difficult. Probably better suited to snorkeling. To me, it's not worth the effort with the easier and more interesting flanking sites of McGregor Point and the Scenic Outlook.
08/04/2002 3.57 Kealakekua Bay (Old Wharf) The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
I've done this site as two dives-one off the old wharf to the left (it's a fun giant stride entry-just watch out for the bottom) and the second in the bay to the right (reef on the right side). They're both great dives, but the center of the bay is mostly sand flats. Lots of interesting reef and marine life. Spinner dolphin schools can often be seen in the bay.
08/04/2002 3.62 La Jolla Cove California South, USA West
When you can find parking within a quarter mile, you're doing great! Great dive/snorkel spot with lots of Garibaldi, kelp, and even sea lions (I surfaced next to a 1,000-pound behemoth)!
08/04/2002 3.31 Old Kona Airport beach The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This is a great site that's less than 5 minutes from Kona town. The park's just off the Old Airport runway, so there's always ample parking unless the fair is in town (they cover the runway with the rides, etc.). One of my first introductions to the site was two local divers exiting amidst high surf, one with a bloodied hand that he shredded on the rocks. They told me to go elsewhere, and I took their advice. If it's calm, the rocky entry is a bit slippery, but only moderately difficult. Great drop-off, and interesting reef and marine life.
08/04/2002 3.47 Marine Room California South, USA West
I wasn't certified when I lived in San Diego, but this was my favorite snorkeling spot. The parking's not too abundant, but the marine life more than makes up for that. When the surf's down, it's an easy walk across the sand. Starting in just 3 feet of water, you're likely to see large stingrays (8 foot wingspans), leopard sharks, and guitarfish (skates). Garibaldi are also common around the kelp. Call the surf report before going if you want to make it worthwhile. Wetsuit necessary except for the end of summer.
08/04/2002 2.83 Mahukona The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Shallow dive, with lots of interesting reef formations. I've only dove here once, and the visibility was more than an astounding 200 feet (we counted kick cycles to a coral head to estimate the distance). There used to be an old ship's boiler underwater, but it was up on shore the last time I stopped by. Visibility and conditions vary greatly, so if in doubt, dive somewhere else. Great on a calm day.
08/04/2002 3.19 Puako Church The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
I thought this was a great site. From the beach just a few steps from the parking area, I watched as a large group of green sea turtles fed on the sea grass and algae in the shallows practically in the surf. Heading over the reef, then South, there's some good topography, and out to sea it drops off pretty well. Good critters and reef. Variable visibility. As usual with this side, it's best to dive before the trade winds kick in, and don't try it if the surf's up.
08/04/2002 2.78 Mile Marker 4 The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
When the surf's down, this is a pretty easy and nice dive. It's just 5 minutes South of Kona town, and there are a few parking spots along the guard rail. The beach is comprised of well-rounded rocks, so watch your footing. On my second time there, we were out swimming out over the sand flats in about 60 feet, and saw a manta ray resting on the bottom. Good reef, and topography. Good beginner to intermediate diving, or if you just want something close to town.
08/04/2002 2.65 Polo Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
The South side of this site is also the North side of White Rock, which is entered off the right side of Palauea Beach. The swim from Polo Beach is a bit farther to get to the reef, but there are some patch reefs antler corals and a lot of white sand along the way. Not a bad dive, but I prefer the White Rock entry as you get to the reef sooner.
07/28/2002 2.93 Kahe Point Beach Park Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
This is a popular training site on the weekends in the wintertime. It makes a great night dive, but NEVER leave your vehicle unattended at night. I've done three night dives here, and the first two times was lucky. The third time, we had 4 cars broken into, and there was glass everywhere! There are two tubes (concrete, ~8 feet in diameter) just offshore from the entry point. You can tell about where they are by watching for turbulent water on the surface. They discharge warm cooling water from the power plant across the street, and attract a large variety of life. Just don't go directly in front of the discharge point, or you will find yourself a couple hundred feet away and on the surface in a matter of seconds (EXHALE)! Great way to warm up. To the right, there's a nice ledge with (usually) some white tip reef sharks, and a fairly extensive reef. The reef fronting the park is shallow, but filled with pukas (holes) that contain a lot of marine life. Once, I saw the rare and endangered Hawaiian monk seal sunning itself on the beach here.
07/28/2002 3.36 Shark's Cove Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Shark's Cove (Pupukea) is heavily used for training purposes. Just outside the cove to the right, there are a number of lava tubes and ledges that make for some interesting exploring, but at least 4 people have died in one of the caves. Extreme caution and training are urged. Due to high winter surf, the coral here is somewhat lacking, but the underwater topography and marine life make up for it. Only diveable in the summertime (typically). Marine reserve, so collecting is not allowed.
07/28/2002 3.19 Three Tables Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Three tables is heavily dove in the summertime. There is an extensive reef and rock system that fronts the 'tables' or wash rocks. If you head out and left (towards Waimea Bay), you may find and underwater ridge that is a turtle cleaning station. Great dive when it's calm in the summertime, but get there early to get parking!
07/28/2002 2.86 Ulua Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is THE training site for Maui's South shore dive companies. The parking lot fills up before 8 AM on the weekends, and the lower lot is even full past 7 PM! Very easy entry. Reef begins at the shoreline. The inner reef is excellent for beginners, but the outer reef is a bit more extensive. Very shallow, easy dive. For advanced divers, it makes a better night dive.
07/28/2002 2.89 Kamaole 3 Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This site is not commonly dove by scuba divers, although I have a few friends who like to dive here. Mostly patch reef diving. There are occasionally things that make it worthwhile like dolphins and rays, but these are usually few and far between. Long surface swim. Without a guide, you may have a hard time even finding the reef!
07/28/2002 3.11 Hanauma Bay Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
There are generally two dives I like to do here. For the first, walk along the beach until you are in front of the second orange life guard tower. Then head straight into the ocean (look for a gap between the rocks on the surface) and follow the old telephone cable out to sea (the current through the notch can make returning difficult). For a deeper, longer dive, follow the cable on out to deeper water. I usually don't drop until I'm in 20 feet or so, so that I can explore the outer part of the bay (watch for current the farther out you go). Great topography, marine life, reef structures to the right side, especially once you've rounded the corner. Can dive in excess of 100 feet. Left side: When the ledge is open for walking (it's often closed due to large waves breaking on the lava trail leading to the 'Toilet Bowl'), I hike all the way past the Toilet Bowl to a small channel just before the point and do a giant stride. Watch the waves here (potentially deadly). Great wall that drops to 70+ feet on the left side, but once again, there is often a strong current (not for a beginner). The wall has some shallow caves that warrant exploring. After you're done on the outside, I like to return by crossing the bay and end up coming back through the telephone cable channel. Elsewhere, you're likely to end up stuck on top of the very shallow reef, depending on the tide! Some of the best reef structure on Oahu is found in and around Hanauma Bay.
07/28/2002 2.96 Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
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!
07/28/2002 2.94 Halona Blow Hole Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
This is one of my favorite winter sites on Oahu, but if the surf's at all up at the adjacent Sandy Beach, don't even waste your time driving there. We call the beach 'Here to Eternity', for the movie filmed partially there. There's a really nice wall (and ridge) to the right, with some fairly extensive reef following the coastline towards Hanauma Bay. To the left is shallower, and not recommended if there's any surf at all. If exploring left, use extreme caution if there are ANY waves, and DO NOT enter the cave beneath the blowhole. Many have died topside at the blowhole. On even a mild day, the cave is surgey, with strong pressure changes that you can feel throughout your body (and of course, ears). Strong current offshore has swept at least two people out to sea! Not for beginners.
03/30/2002 3.69 Kahekili Beach (Old Airport) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
"Old Airport" is a great dive, when the surf is down and the current isn't very strong (the current can be very strong here). The diversity of marine life (magnificent snake eels, manta rays, eagle rays, etc.) and the health of the reef make this a great dive. There is a "bicolor anthias' reef around 70 feet to the north of the entry. Very popular with divers, tourist groups, etc. Great white sandy beach, picnic tables, showers, restrooms, grassy area. Adequate parking.
03/30/2002 3.24 Papawai Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is an advanced dive site from an entry standpoint that is not safe if surf is more than one foot. The reef drops off here to 70 feet, and lots of cool pelagics swim by (manta rays, eagle rays, humpbacks in season). The trail from the parking lot has loose rocks and soil, and is a bit too much effort for most divers. But it's worth it if conditions are good.
03/30/2002 3.15 Ahihi Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
After parking in the undeveloped lava lot, the walk to the entry is about a quarter mile. There's a narrow (8") wide black sandy beach that is an easy and steep entry. Snorkeling straight out, there are great shallow reefs to the left and right. For scuba, I go straight out and then around Cape Kinau to the south. The reef here is seldom dove, and is nearly pristine. In the past, I have seen spinner dolphins and eagle rays, but I haven't seen any dolphins since the eco kayak tours at La Perouse Bay took off a couple of years ago.
03/30/2002 3.63 Wailea Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This Beach is right off the walkway that fronts several of Wailea's nicest resorts. The swim out is a couple of hundred yards. This is the place to go if you want to see the otherwise rare lagoon triggerfish (the more colorful version of the humuhumunukunukuapuaa). I've seen one magnificent snake eel here, lots of frogfish, manta rays and other cool critters. Not nearly as popular for scuba or snorkeling as the adjacent Ulua Beach, but I think it's way better!
03/30/2002 2.44 Black Rock (Sheraton) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a shallow dive site (<25 feet) that has mostly a sandy bottom with a lava outcropping on the mauka (mountain) side. There are quite a few different types of eels here, including an occasional brotula. Also, a large school of bluestripe snapper cruised by. Very easy, beginner type dive in the daytime. From one end to the other of the site takes about 30 minutes round trip. Parking is very limited (garage) and there is a bit of a walk to get to the entry.
03/30/2002 3.12 Haloa Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Haloa Point is on the South side of Palauea Beach. The county of Maui has purchased 2 lots here, to ensure public access, but houses are planned on the rest. Entering at the south side of the beach, swim out on the surface past the lava rocks sticking up out of the water. Nearby, there is a shallow cave that often has green sea turtles and reef white tip sharks inside. Farther out, there is a small arch with a buoy. To the south, the reef is extensive, and is filled with lots of interesting critters. There are often manta rays cruising by in the daytime.
10/06/2001 2.86 Five Caves Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Probably the most dove site by tourists from both boats and shore (after Molokini Crater). There are two entries (Makena Landing at the south side and 5 Graves at the north side). The site lies in between the two, and I usually start at the graves and end up at the landing (walking back). There are more than 7 shallow caves that are home to green sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, and hairy Hawaiian lobsters. Use caution if you enter the caves. Occasional spotted eagle rays and manta rays cruise over the bouldery bottom in 40 to 50 feet near the outer boat moorings. Visibility varies radically depending on conditions, so if the surf it big, don't even try to dive here. The DLNR often warns or cites divers here who dive without a flag.
10/06/2001 3.03 Ahihi Cove Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Ahihi Bay and Cove is my overall favorite Maui dive site. I've dove here more than 100 times, and rarely lose interest. Just to the south of the cove, is a popular (for snorkelers, turtles and kayakers) turtle cleaning station. This is a reserve and you are likely to see large trumpet shells foraging through the sand. Occasional eagle rays and spinner dolphins cruise overhead. Eels are commonplace. The corals and fish are in great shape here, and once outside the cove, you will see few other divers. Go south for diversity and deeper water (up to 55 feet).
10/06/2001 3.26 Mile 4.9 The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
It is a bit of a hike down the hill, but there is a dirt road and it only takes a few minutes. It's well worth it! The corals just outside the bay are healthy, the marine life diverse, and you're not likely to see any other divers here. Several parallel underwater ridges run out to sea. Great fringing reefs to 74 feet. The highlight of the dive was a 3 foot wingspan spotted eagle ray!
10/06/2001 2.91 Black Sand Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This site is often dove from boats, but a few locals dive it from the Black Sand Beach on the north side of Red Hill. One of the strongest currents I've encountered off Maui can often be found here. Best diving is to the south. I swim out on the surface for 300 yards to where the reef drops to 15 feet or so. Manta rays often feed here in the daytime. In the winter time, you're likely to see humpback whales (at least from the shore) and hear them underwater! If you swim far enough south (past the first 4 or 5 ridges, you'll find a shallow cave that is sometimes home to a white tip reef shark, turtles, and squirrelfish. Don't dive here if the waves are more than a couple of feet.
10/06/2001 3.09 Honolua Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is an excellent dive/snorkel site on the Upper West Side of Maui. It entails a 5 minute walk down a dirt road through the woods and over an intermittent stream. Entry is at a slippery old concrete boat ramp. The reef is good on both sides of the bay. Spinner dolphins can often be seen playing on the surface just outside the bay. Manta rays and spotted eagle rays are occasionally seen off the right side. For the best reef, and a deeper dive, go right. For a dive that can take you into the adjacent Makuleia Bay (Slaughterhouse), go left.
10/06/2001 2.44 Ko' Olina Resort Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Don't bother. While it's easy enough to get out of the man made lagoons, it's extremely difficult to get back in! The reef outside is relatively shallow, in poor health, and without many fish. Once was way more than enough!
05/20/2001 3.38 Puako Village End The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This is one of my favorite Kona Coast dive sites. Puako has been discovered by the world, and now real estate prices are sky high. There's garden eels, a 'shark cave' with 3 entrances that sometimes houses docile white tip reef sharks. This is about as good as it gets on the Big Island!