Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
07/19/2012 3.87 Manta Ray Dive The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
We did this dive last night and the manta rays are fantastic! They swim right up to you, mouths open, and turn upwards at the last second. Please don't touch them and one accidently bumped into my camera so be careful if you have lighting arms and leave your snorkel on the shore. The entry and exit are challenging and the long surface swims in the dark is a little intimidating. Do your research with this site, check it out during the day and the night before to see entry and exit details. I would not recommend this for anyone who has not done a significant amount of rocky shore entries. Last night we headed back in right before low tide and a slight current (pulling us out to sea) was present. It was a not big deal, but I would not want to be attempting the swim in rougher conditions. If you are a beginner or if you just want an easier dive go with one of the boat tours, they do a great job. Whether you do this by shore of by boat, this is a must do dive. I have done hundreds of dives in Hawaii and frequently see manta rays. This instantly became one of my favorite dives. On a final note, the local yellowfin goatfish have learned to feed like the mantas. They swam right up to our lights and even pushed against our lights as they fed on the shrimp.
07/08/2012 4.16 Puako Village End The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Reading the other reviews it seems clear everyone has a different experience here. This is accurate because the site has so much diversity, it fits every diver. I love the deep and heading to the right of the entry point leads to a sloping reef that bottoms out with sand and tons of garden eels. If you follow the sand you can get at least 130' deep (which is where I have been turning around) at 120' there are rocks packed with anthias. I saw a rare bandits angelfish, flame angelfish, and the wonderful black morph of the long-nosed butterflyfish. A large great barracuda stared me down on a few of the dives I did here. This is a world class site as far as I am concerned and an easy dive for all levels. Please be careful in the shallows to not drag your equipment across the corals. Straight out from the entry one the lava tubes has holes that divers like to enter through, often kicking and damaging the coral surrounding the holes. Have fun out there. This might be the best shore dive on the island.
07/03/2012 4.13 Pahoehoe Beach Park The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Wow! This site is amazing. I dove this three times today and each time was impressed. From reading the other reviews it seems some people missed the main reef and stayed too close to shore. Enter on the north side of beach with the main lava shelf on your right. Drop down immediately (into about 5 or six feet of water). While diving keep this main lava shelf on your right and the first (really a lava shelf) reef stays with you to about 25 feet. This reef is filled with large schools of yellow tangs, goatfish, and damsels. Where the lava shelf ends the main reef begins and I followed it out to 85 feet of depth. Fish highlights include black-longnosed butterflyfish and Thompson's butterflyfish. As I climbed out from my second dive two turtles were sunning on the beach. Awesome! Final note, the inshore vis (in water less than 20 feet) was OK, but once it got a little deeper it was consistently 50' to 100' vis.
05/13/2008 4.32 Ahihi Cove Maui, Hawaiian Islands
What a great site. Fairly easy entry and only a short swim to divable depths. Head anywhere remotely near the center to drop your dive flag off in the sand with a weight (there are several large sand channels near the center). Do not tie your flag to coral (at any site please). Great marine life here. My first impression was the tons of peacock groupers present. Several types of butterfly fish and large parrotfish can be found here too. My personal favorite route is to head out right and follow the reef out to 40 feet or so where many mini-reefs can be found. Turtles (we saw 12) can usually be found more or less in the center of the cove at the edge of the reef (a short swim off shore). Great dive, and what a pleasure to do an hour and half dive and not find any fishing gear!
04/16/2008 3.50 Hoala Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Wonderful site! The swim-through arch mentioned below is very fun and often dwarf morays can be found inside it. This reef has a feel similar to areas of Makena Landing and 5 Graves, with long large lava fingers and awesome marine life. I found a Red stripe and a Blue strip Pipefish hanging out together in the same hole here yesterday. Frogfish and cleaner shrimp can also frequently be found. A nice dive with an easy entry.
04/03/2008 3.82 Black Sand Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a fun site but due to regular currents I would only recommend fairly advance divers dive here. Head to the south side of the beach and continue south over the reef. Most of the better parts of the reef are in only 15 to 30 feet of water. Great site for turtles. As you're doing this dive be very conscious of the current, it usually pulls south. This current can make the swim back to the beach difficult to impossible. Might I suggest starting your dive just a little farther south at Pu'u Olai Beach (Little Beach) instead?
04/03/2008 3.94 Pu'u Olai Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is also know as little beach and if you are a fish person this is the site for you. Plus this is your best chance to encounter naked snorkelers on the island (little beach is a nude beach). I have dove here several times and the fish life here is truly impressive! I even saw my first Saddleback Butterfly fish here as well as three Leaf Scorpion fish (Black, Purple, & Red) sitting right next to each other and a Slipper Lobster. I have seen fish here that I have not encountered anywhere else off Maui, this is truly my favorite fish site on the island. Unfortunately, it is a long hike with gear over the rocks that divide big beach and little beach. Once you get over the rocks, hike to far side of the beach and enter. Head north on the dive. This will usually take you against the current and you can just drift back when you are finished with the dive. If you head straight out from the north point in about 42 feet of water you will find "Charley's Reef" named after a local boat captain. This reef features a large school of Bicolor Anthias that are perfect for photographing. These normally shy fish are strangely less shy on this particular reef. This is an easy reef to find if you know where it is, but not if you don't. If you don't find it, just turn around and head back towards the reef near shore. The best parts of the reef are found by just following the shore north. There is even a swim through cave that usually has sleeping turtles in it. Many of the boats dive this site as a drift dive so if you are not an experienced diver and still want to dive here, a boat dive may be more appropriate. The current can really rip out here and just a couple weeks ago a snorkeler (possibly intoxicated) got caught in the current and drowned.
03/08/2008 3.47 Papawai Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is one of my favorite sites on the island. The entry is tricky as well as the hike down and then back up to the parking lot. When I dove it, the visibility was great. The reef drops off quick into some sand, and depths of 90 feet plus are quickly accessible. The reef close to shore is beautiful aside from the gross amount of fishing line and lead lost by the shore fishers. I have seen hooks here as big as my fist (not sure what there trying to catch). This is one of the healthiest yellow tang populations I have seen on Maui with schools of 50 plus fish. A fun sight for any advanced and healthy diver willing to work for a great dive.
02/19/2008 3.76 Lahaina Pier (Mala Ramp) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I was very impressed with Mala. This is a great change of pace site on the island and the twisted wreak of the collapsed pier is very fun to dive on. This site maxes out at around 27-28 feet, but should not be skipped. The reef growing on the pier pieces is very nice. We saw white tip reef sharks and even 2 sponge crabs. I found a snorkel and several fishing weights, too, which is always fun. I have been advised to not walk down the ramp, so climbing out on the break a little and then under the pier (watch for falling pier pieces) may be the way to get in these days. But several divers enter from the beach as well (watch for shallow reef). Have fun, great site, but a little tricky entry.
02/15/2008 2.98 Palauea Beach (White Rock) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This site is frequently used as a training site as well as for guided shore dives. It has a very easy sandy beach entry. It is easy to navigate here as you just follow the reef out that comes off the rocky point on the right side of the beach. Apparently, some parts of the beach itself are not public property, so you may technically need to walk on the wet sand to avoid trespassing. The parking area and the trail to shore are publicly owned and that is all you need to know to dive this fun site.
02/10/2008 4.10 Olowalu Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I reviewed this site 3 years ago and feel I have to give Olowalu a new review after finally diving the site properly. The key is entering the correct spot and good navigation skills. The easiest entry is found exactly at mile marker 14. Find the sign and walk out. You will be able to see the bright blue sand path through the coral channels. Follow this out and when this channel seems to end, just swim over the channel blocking corals and you'll start a new channel. The fish life here is quite impressive. This is the best place I have seen to see several variety of parrot fish and wrasse. There is also a turtle cleaning station and plenty or turtles around. There have been tiger shark sightings here and I have been told to avoid this site when the water is murky. The bigger threat is the popularity of this site with snorkelers. This site is featured in all the guide books and the beach and surface can get a little crowded if you are snorkeling.
08/19/2007 3.23 La Jolla Cove California South, USA West
This was my forth time to La Jolla Cove, and the first time I was able to dive there. My other trips were during the winter and it looked more like a washing machine down there than a diving site, so I skipped it and headed for La Jolla Shores. I went down a few weeks ago and could not find parking within a mile so again I headed to La Jolla Shores. Finally, I was able to get a dive in there and to be honest it was okay… It is a great site and fun dive, but it is almost too dived. Everything underwater seems touched and explored and the marine life there does not seem wild or natural. I think this is a great spot for new divers, but, for an adventure, I prefer La Jolla Shores. To be fair the visibility was only about 8 to 10 feet so I may enjoy this site more on a clearer day. There is plenty to explore here, so I am looking forward to returning.
05/04/2007 3.88 Coral Garden Philippines, Pacific
The most difficult part of this dive is getting a dive shop to actually loan you gear to shore dive. The currents around the island can be very intense and dive shops are hesitant to let you go out there on your own. I managed to get a few dives in at Coral Gardens and the place is spectacular, a wonderful reef with great fish life and some unique artifacts sunk down there (mostly huge cement blocks used as anchors). If you are getting certified at one of the local dive shops, this is usually the first dive they take you on-- all the remaining dives are off bancas (small outboard motor boats). Most the dive is 15 to 30 feet, but the reef continues out to 50-60 feet or so.
02/04/2007 3.54 Lovers Point California North, USA West
When the surf is down, the entry is not to bad. Unfortunately, when we dove this site nearly all the kelp was dead do to a rare October (and all summer) heat wave. The water temperature was 65-67 degrees! It easy to see that when the kelp is healthy this is a fantastic dive site. This dive was special to me because I proposed to my girlfriend Shelley during the dive. We headed out and I presented a pre-made laminated sign asking if she would marry me. Luckily, she said yes and I didn't have to resort to plan B (chumming the water with my ziplock of seal's blood). There are many awesome large boulders down there that form a cathedral type atmosphere. A great dive!
07/03/2006 3.31 Mesa Lane California Mid, USA West
This site has potential. Even on busy days you can find parking on one of the side streets. I went in the middle of summer season when there was no parking (both lots full) at Arroyo Burrow, but I still found plenty of parking here. There are 250 steps down to the beach, not the easiest hike back up. There was a rare wind swell that caused large surf (especially for summer) and visibility was around 1 foot near the bottom. It was diving by Braille, but I could see lots of plant life and reef rocks, I am sure this is a great dive when the visibility is better. I saw dolphins when I was swimming back in, but other than that the visibility ruined the dive. I suggest from the bottom of the steps going to the left about 100 yards (near the point). Watch out for large rocks in the surf. The surface swim is short to the kelp beds.
07/03/2006 2.95 Veteran's Park, Redondo Beach California Mid, USA West
Fun site and the quickest surface swim to depth I have every done. Drop down just past where the waves break, the canyon starts very close to shore. Great dive for beginners.
04/17/2006 3.64 Malaga Cove California Mid, USA West
Great place to dive. The beach entry is the way to go and we found a reef right off the beach with a few lobster and swell shark. Some crazy guy on the shore started telling us about government conspiracies, but other than that it was a great dive. Great spot for people new to diving.
01/28/2006 3.06 La Jolla Shores California South, USA West
This is a nice dive site with fun diving conditions. Parking (at least in Winter) was not a problem. Tons of divers out on Saturday for classes. Dolphins can often be sighted from the shore and while surface swimming, but I didn't see any underwater. Thorn Back Rays in the shallows and Catalina Gobies deeper out (living on the wall). There were tons of squid eggs too. At about 100 feet deep, the ground was covered with them.
01/17/2006 4.31 Crystal Cove State Park California Mid, USA West
What an awesome place to dive! I took my newly certified brother out here to dive and we had a great time. The winter surf was a little challenging, but we still made it. We found a large reef filled with Garibaldi, Senorita, and Lobsters! There was no kelp on the surface (I think the recent massive wave probably harvested it a bit), but there was plenty of eel grass and shorter kelp underwater. We went down to 32 feet and found a lobster trap, too (no lobsters in it). The walk to the beach is .32 miles and the showers are currently closed for the season (I guess they don't have as many visitors in the winter). Other than that, this was great place to dive.
10/14/2005 3.85 Polo Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I suggest the North Side of this beach. This reef is awesome with some very cool small caves and arches. The visibility was bad going out but, once out at the reef, it cleared up. The reef structure and all the holes and caves are what makes this dive fun and unique. Great second dive for the day and easy to navigate.
10/14/2005 4.51 Kamaole 2 Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a great site with neat channels in the reefs to dive in. I saw lots of turtles and a barracuda. I suggest going off to the reef on the left (the one shown in the middle photo below). This was a lot of fun diving in; just watch out for people jumping off the rocks (don't want them to land on you). Fun and easy spot to dive.
10/13/2005 4.02 Napili Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a shallow, extremely long reef. I dove and followed the skinny reef at least 1.5 miles off shore (long swim). Even this far out, the depth was on 23 feet. The coral is healthy here and there are lots of neat fish to see. Saw some large 2 to 3 foot long fish that looked like parrot fish but had whitish gray color? This is a fun site if you don't mind swimming and swimming.
10/13/2005 4.32 Five Caves Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a must do Scuba site. It is fun to explore the caves and look for sharks (didn't see any) or turtles (saw tons). Visibility was great once we got out far enough. We dove for 1 hour and 30 minutes and I still didn't get bored. We went down to 42 feet where there was a school of maybe 50 butterfly fish that have been trained to be hand feed by divers. You simply rub your fingers together and they swarm around you. This was fun until one bit my ear, then it was time to move on. Fun dive, lots to see, and the most beautiful rockscapes I have seen on the island.
10/13/2005 4.03 Ulua Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Great site for divers of all levels (although advanced divers may get a little bored). This is easy to navigate as you simply follow the reef on the right. This reef goes out forever, and stays shallow enough to snorkel for many hundreds of yards. Saw an octopus and lots of neat fish, eels, even a few crabs.
10/11/2005 4.19 Haloa Point Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a nice site with a huge reef. Popular site for boats to visit as a second dive. It is fun to swim off shore and reach the spots the boats are at, bur just be careful where you surface. Visibility was good. The reef was fun to explore and easy to get lost in.
10/11/2005 4.05 Kapalua Bay Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a wonderful beach (if you have non-divers with you, they can chill why you dive). Underwater, the coral formations and landscapes are close. It stays shallow for a while so you need to swim out a ways. Visibility is good and I saw lots of neat and unique fish. This is a great, and an easy dive.
10/11/2005 4.95 Makena Landing Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I had so much fun diving this site. The reefs are huge, awesome rocks formations (arches, cliffs, and piles of boulders). There were tons of sea turtles, larger fish, reef fish, and corals. I went out much farther than the photo below suggest, and, if you are an experienced diver, I would recommend going far out as well. This site is easy to navigate as you just follow the reef out. Very fun, and ranks with Black Rock as my favorite Maui Site!
10/11/2005 3.58 Kamaole 3 Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This site is a good navigation practice dive. You swim from reef to reef (many of them are small). Trade winds make this a very exposed site to choppy surf, but underwater it is clear. I think many divers skip this site, and to be honest it is a little boring compared to many other Maui dives.
10/08/2005 4.72 Wailea Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
This is a long surface swim, but well worth it. I snorkeled the site first with my girlfriend and the visibility was okay. Lots of triggers, tangs and smaller spotted puffers. The surf was up, so after 20 minutes we headed back in. I then put on my scuba gear. There was a dive boat parked maybe 500 yards off shore, so I kicked out about 100 yards then navigated the rest of the way under water. I found the divers from that boat and they picked a wonderful spot. This part of the reef had great visibility and huge schools of fish. I even saw a few of my favorite fish, the black tang. I got down to 41 feet. If you are willing to go that far out, this is an awesome site!
10/08/2005 3.07 Olowalu Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I have snorkeled here 3 or 4 times and scuba dove here yesterday. If you do not follow one of the sandy channels out, this place is dangerous. The coral is inches under the water sometimes and swimming over it (especially with scuba gear) could cause injury to you and the corals. The visibility was not that great. Even 200 yards off shore it was still pretty bad. To be fair, if there is good visibility and calm seas, I can see this as being one of the best snorkeling sites in Maui.
10/08/2005 4.47 Black Rock (Sheraton) Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Black Rock was awesome! I dove this around 3:00 in the afternoon and there were tons of people snorkeling. While it is crowded, there is not much "traffic" under if you are diving. The visibility was great! Lots of sea turtles, trumpet fish, unicorn tangs, and even a few black tangs. Very fun place to dive and easy to navigate. The hike to beach with Scuba gear is long, but the pathway is paved and the dive makes it worthwhile.
09/12/2005 4.00 Cannery Park California North, USA West
We entered the water where the old pilings stick out of the beach and set our compasses straight out to sea. After we passed a wonderful kelp bed we swam maybe 100 yards more to enter the Metridium fields. These are very neat to see. On the way back we saw a purple stripe jellyfish and found one of the old cannery underwater pipes. We followed that the rest of the way in and popped up near the breakwater. Fun dive and a great place to practice your navigation skills.
09/12/2005 4.23 Coral Street Beach California North, USA West
This was a great dive despite a fairly rough swell. Lots of fish to see and harbor seals. The huge rock formations underwater are awesome, but just be careful since you could be thrashed into one by a swell. On a very calm day this one of the best sites in Monterey. Just park on the road and use the staircase on the right side of beach to enter. Also, if you head down the road towards Lovers Point you will usually find a porta-potty or two to use. Wonderful dive when conditions are right.
08/26/2005 3.92 Stillwater Cove California North, USA West
This place is beautiful. This is a wonderful beach with great views of the golf course (I even found 7 golf balls). I saw lots of harbor seals, which were very friendly underwater. They would slowly approach and eventually be right next to your mask underwater. While swimming back in on the surface, one even popped its head up between my fins! You will have to pay at the entry gate ($8.50 when we went) but it is worth it. They allow you to drop your gear off next to the pier and the staircase down to the beach is a great place to gear up. Visibility was okay but I am sure it gets crystal clear here sometimes. I found an underwater channel that I followed out and it was nice. This is where I saw the most fish and also the harbor seals.
08/26/2005 4.59 Breakwater Cove California North, USA West
Breakwater is an awesome place to dive. I went expecting to solo dive both times, but was lucky enough to join groups each time. We had a great experience. You have an almost 100% chance of seeing sea lions (if you go out far enough). Warning: there is a man that hangs out here (older and scruffy, I know his name but to protect his privacy probably should not mention it). Local divers have warned me about him. If you are going in solo, he will probably approach you (as he did me). You want to avoid diving with this guy. I told him I was meeting other people out there and he left me alone. Unfortunately, I believe he may suffer from mental illness. Other then that, this is a must dive spot if you are in Monterey.
08/26/2005 4.16 Jade Cove California Mid, USA West
This is a not a location for everyone. The hike is brutal with gear, but possible if you are in good shape. We carried all our gear and an extra tank each down in one trip. Then, after our first dive, we carried our empty tank back to the cars. Finally, after our second dive we carried all our remaining gear out (it was killer and my body aches as I write this). The diving, however, was awesome! Visibility was 30+ feet. You will see a 'bird rock' out there and that is where the jade wall cave is. It is very fun looking for jade. We each found some small pieces (nickel sized). We dove 51 and 50 minutes down to 28 feet. On the way back in my buddy speared a 32 inch lingcod. There are bathrooms just around the corner of highway 1 (to the north at the campground or picnic area). Bring drinking water down with you. If you are bringing non-diving friends down to this small rock beach, be advised there is no shade from the summer afternoon sun.
08/01/2005 3.94 Montana de Oro Beach California Mid, USA West
Also known as Spooner's Cove, this is a great site for all scuba levels. We went out on the left side towards the middle of the bay. Visibility was about 12 feet but I have heard reports of visibility being up to 30 feet (also down to 1 or 2 feet). We followed a rock formation out a few hundred yards until it ended and opened to a huge sandy bottom. We saw millions of tiny shrimp and small jellyfish eating them. Some of the best plant life I have seen; healthy, lush bull kelp and others nice plants. This location is often foggy, but you might have luck with the fog lifting in the afternoon. Crowded in the summer and deserted the rest of the year. Overall a great site with lots to see!
07/03/2005 3.60 The Cliff California Mid, USA West
There are many great spots very close to each other in Shell Beach to dive. We dove yesterday in visibility around 10 feet. We saw 4 seven gill sharks (largest was 8 feet long) in only 17 minutes of diving. They would swim about 4 feet away from us to check us out and then slowly swim away. They are found near the edges of the kelp forest. These sharks are common here and are found in water 8 to 15 feet deep. Surge, current, and sharks make it not the best dive for beginners, but for the seasoned divers out there, this is an awesome site! Sting rays too! Wait for good conditions and visibility and bring some extra weight to keep you down (much of the reef is quite shallow at only 8 to 10 feet deep). Neat bluish-green sponges and seals too. Watch your head when you surface, as kayaking is very popular in this area.
05/25/2005 4.01 Refugio State Beach California Mid, USA West
This is a great dive for all levels. On the north side of the beach are a few nice kelp beds. Unfortunately, some of these kelps beds have been destroyed or reduced by sea urchins (they eat the bottom of the kelp and clear the forest; all the kelp forest animals leave, too). There is still plenty to see though! A surfer also told me the south side has a nice crevasse to dive in, but I have not yet confirmed this. A fun dive. Even saw a Thornback Ray. Also, saw a few dozen dolphins, right off shore, as I was gearing up!
05/08/2005 4.72 Monastery Beach South California North, USA West
Great site! We swam out to the start of the kelp beds and dropped down to about 20 feet. Visibility was nice at around 20 to 25 feet. Lots of cool reefs and tons of marine life. Set your compass for the shore and make sure to end the dive close to the shore, otherwise you'll have a long surface swim over the kelp (not very fun). Great site!
04/24/2005 4.24 Monastery Beach North California North, USA West
Great Dive! We dropped down about 50 yards off shore and followed a path to the rocks on the left. We went from 20 to 104 feet then looped around to where we started. There was tons to see. I have not dove much but this was the best dive I have been on! Where we stopped at 104 is called 'the wall', there is a nice ledge there to stand on and look down. Drops to 1000+ feet after that. Great dive!
04/12/2005 4.13 Morro Rock South California Mid, USA West
Great beginner dive! Even when the visibility is only is only 5 feet there is still plenty to see. Large boulders hide perch and tons of starfish. Dive at high tide (after that the current can get pretty rough). Plus, as a bonus, there are almost always sea otters at the surface. The beach earlier in the rode is Coleman beach another neat site with lots of eel grass. Great drift diving (drift on high tide from Coleman to Target Rock).