Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
07/16/2002 4.15 Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
So my companions and I arrived just hours before on a flight from Honolulu and knew that we would be diving a popular site, but we could never have guessed how good it would be... We made sure to park in the lot adjacent to the entry point and were making our giant stride entries off of an easily manageable rock ledge into a flat calm bay in no time at all. The plan of the day was to see as much as we could and dive dive dive! The profile was exactly what the doctor prescribed. From the ledge, we surface swam about 30 yards out and to the right, making sure to avoid boating traffic to the left. Our cue to descend was when the "Aloha Sand Patch", as the locals call it--for a good reason, was directly beneath welcoming us to this place of refuge. Trust me, you can't miss it and you'll know that it is it when you see the patch because there is a huge cinder block "Aloha" written in the sand with a masterly crafted honu (turtle) above it. There was even a cool yellow margin moray that lives in the cinder blocks, who asked my dive buddy out on a date (of course she had to decline because we still had 2 more dives to do that day). We then swam right at a 60 degree angle until we hit the wall, which gradually slopes to 500ft, and drifted at about 50-80ft. The visibility was unlike any other site I had seen before in Hawaii, with some parts of the dive being well over 130ft. of vis. Coral formations on this dive reminded me a lot of Hanauma Bay's 2`nd stage (on Oahu), and was mostly loose finger corals and comprised of many long nose butterfly fish, parrot fish, assorted damsels, and an occasional pod of spinner dolphins to name a few. After we had drifted for 30 minutes or so, our cue to turn back was an acute bend left in the underwater topography of the wall. We then ascended to the top of the wall, about 25-35ft., and drifted back in the direction we had come in since the current changes direction on the top. The top of the wall is a completely different type of reef than the side. It is mostly lobe corals, tight finger corals, and some lava formations. This was where we saw most of the fish life made of huge schools of white goat fish, squirrel fish, soldier fish, parrot fish, black long nose butterfly fish, peacock grouper etc. Our cue to turn into shore was once again the "Aloha Sand Patch" which was now bidding us a fond goodbye. We took turns getting out of the water, which requires you to take off your fins first, and possibly your gear too if your not sure footed, and said goodbye to a prolific dive at Honaunau.
06/03/2002 3.17 Magic Island Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Ahhhh, yet another great site masked by a cloak of bad vis., a seemingly lack of fish, and an unlikely location. The key to this dive is to remember, "you're diving in Hawaii-- if you look for it, you will find it!" And such is the case with this site. Located just minutes from Waikiki and directly in front of the world famous Ala Moana Shopping Center, one can enjoy a convenient dive while under time constraints or as your non-diving spouse runs up the credit cards. There is, however, a small (or should I say long) drawback in that the walk from the parking lot to the entrance is like doing a marathon. Best is to done your gear in the lot and walk to the entrance with it all on (minus the fins, of course!). Now here is the secret to making this dive either a hit or a miss. Make sure to surface swim out to the green channel marker, staying to the right to avoid boating traffic, then descend about 20ft. Visibility is likely to be pretty bad here so stay close to the wall so you don't get lost. Next, quickly follow the underwater ledge until you come upon an outcropping from the wall. It is more like a chunk of rubble that broke off of the ledge, but this is your cue to swim right, up over the ledge. It will be about 15-20ft. deep and will reveal a spectacular topography that resembles an underwater labyrinth. There is a sand path to follow with all sorts of caves with green sea turtles, large saddle back goat fish, huge schools of tangs and butterfly fish, dragon morays, and white tipped reef sharks that hide in and around them. If you follow the sand path long enough and stay to the right you will find yourself in a popular boat diving site known as Rainbow Reef. This section is about 30-45ft. deep and has an abundance of cauliflower, antler, and finger corals. There are also many fish to be seen here and the visibility is usually a lot nicer in this area because of its outside location from the boat channel. One last thing: make sure to wear at least a full body skin suit because with the high level of microscopic hydroids in the area you may find yourself re-enacting a scene from the movie "Killer Ants!"
03/07/2002 3.38 Kea'au Beach Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
I knew that the name of the ledge we would be swimming out to was called Kea'au Corner, but man did it feel like the Kea'au Rip! This spot, which I have done once during the day by beach and once at night by boat is one amazing dive that with proper dive planning can be one of the top multiple archway/cave dive on Oahu. The shore entry is a little tricky, about 50 yards left of and straight out from the shower area you will giant stride from an urchin laden rock ledge. Make sure the surf is small if you plan on getting back in. Surface swim directly straight out about 200 yards or until you find a lava tube that goes straight down and is surrounded by tons of reef fish (about 35-40 feet deep) It will turn into a very heart stimulating deep overhang/cavern that regularly houses Jacks, Bigeye soldierfish, and peacock grouper amongst other creatures. The cavern will reopen at a depth of about 50-65ft. where you can find several more small caves with tons of shells and sleeping turtles inside. Make sure to swim left, against the current, along the bottom of the wall. There will be lots to see and I have even seen a school of about 20 Heller's Barracuda the last time I dove here (3/4/02). After you have reached the second big archway (which reminds me of a miniature version of Palau's famous Blue Hole), swim up and let the current push you back over the top of the wall (30-40ft.)until you reach the original lava tube from the beginning, and then swim straight in to shore, which should line you up directly with the entry point. Depending on your air consumption rate, a surface swim in may be necessary. Make sure to start the dive during the peak low tide for optimal drift conditions coming back in.
03/05/2002 3.68 Makua Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
It seems that each time I visit Makua (which has been 3 times in the last month: all night dives), it just gets better and better. This is one of those dives that must be explored like a one would do when moving into a new neighborhood. The first time you come here you will find that the entrance is a very easy, sandy, beach entry. Make sure to enter on the left hand side of the beach so that you can reach the interesting ledges that are about 50-100 yards off shore easily. A surface swim is advised to conserve air. Once reached, you will descend about 35-50ft. and work your way along a ledge abundant in fish and invertebrates. I have seen dolphins in this area, which should be snorkeled if you want to see them, barracuda schools, lots of white goat fish, moorish idol schools, giant parrot fish, large yellow tang schools, and did I mention the famous and highly sought after Hawaiian checker cowries?! Yup, saw two on my last dive there. One more fact worthy of noting; the water temperature here is usually 2-3 degrees warmer than everywhere else on the island, with the exception of electric beach. Enjoy!
01/17/2002 3.75 Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
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!
12/31/2001 2.79 La'ie Point Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Entry is best from a strip of beach accessed at the end of a driveway just after a small mom and pop shop located right after sunset beach. Make sure that this dive is done during the summer or early fall months to avoid high surf. Visibility is usually poor because of waves bringing sand off shore, however those who endeavor on this intermediate to advanced dive will find that it has lots to offer. A 65-100 yard swim over a relatively shallow reef (5-15ft.) will reveal a nice ledge that drops to between 40-50 feet. Many white saddle goat fish, regal parrot fish, sleek unicorn fish, hog fish, spotted peacock grouper can be seen on a consistent basis. The bottom is primarily sand and sparse rock so stingrays are usually seen sleeping on the bottom. At night this is one of the best spots to find spiny lobster that I have ever found (Eh! No take all my bugs, brah!) The majority of this dive reminds one of a cross between the Haleiwa Trench (see Haleiwa Beach Park) and Sharks Cove, because of the many rock overhangs and holes. Stay close to the wall and swim to the right for the best action and to keep from getting lost. The wall slopes to about 95ft. when going left. [not seen, but white tipped reef sharks suspected to sleep in the caves during the day]
12/31/2001 3.73 Koko Kai Park Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Entrance it through a short path that leads down a small rocky cliff. Best is to jump off at a small cut in the wall slightly upwards from the main entry point. This is because strong diamond head bound currents are present year round making this dive good for an easy drift. Upon entering the water swim against the current (towards Molokai) along the wall to a small cave where white tipped reef sharks can usually be found sleeping. Then drift back down. Commonly seen here are manta rays, spotted eagle rays, green sea turtles, octopi, chevron and great barracuda, dragon morays, zebra morays, harlequin shrimp, tons of indigenous tropical marine life, and occasionally a whale shark (last reported spotted 12/19/01). The unique geography of this dive and dense marine population make this an enjoyable and easily navigated dive. At night turtles can be seen sleeping in the many caves along the wall, and spiny/slipper lobster are abundant. From January-May, large amounts of whales can be easily mistaken for speeding boats from shore.
12/30/2001 2.60 Ko' Olina Resort Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
This site is definitely not the number one choice on Oahu, however, there does exist some enjoyment for those seeking to practice their spear fishing skills. An abundance of regal & star-eyed parrotfish, manybar goatfish, sleek unicorn fish, blue fin trevally, and octopus make it a good spot for capturing a quick meal. In agreement with other evaluations, most of the good diving is done by boat 2-3 miles off shore from here near a barge docking station. Average depth is 15ft. Enter and exit through the man made cove adjacent to the Paradise Cove Luau.
07/05/2001 3.60 Three Tables Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
Good night diving during the summer. Lots of lobster and interesting caves to peer into. Nice sandy beach makes entering and exiting easy. Best to dive after 9:30p.m. and on the left hand side.
07/05/2001 3.97 Hale'iwa Beach Park Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
An amazing dive for intermediate through advanced divers. The best time to dive this site is during the summer months when surf is low and current is almost none. Diving the Haleiwa "trench", as it is called, is best done at night and is requires a small swim to get to the primo spot, but once found the site contains all sorts of special treats such as dragon morays, harlequin shrimp, white tip reef sharks, lobsters, and more!!!! If you are into spearing, this site has an abundance of 1-2lbs. Kumu (goat fish).
07/05/2001 3.63 Kahe Point Beach Park Oahu, Hawaiian Islands
An abundance of fish and other organisms. Usually a white tipped reef shark can be found in a cave about 700-1000psi to the right of the pipe that releases all of the warm water. The cave, though hard to find, is the best part of the dive and is home to a giant school of menpachi (squirrel fish), several large Roy (spotted grouper), 2 turtles, a 4 1/2 foot long white tipped reef shark, and when the shark is not home large ulua (amber jack) swim into the cave to hunt the menpachi. If you are a underwater hunter, or enjoy a large diverse population of fish, this is the place to go. Occasionally dragon morays have been spotted out here, too. Night dives are only enjoyable if a diver possesses thorough knowledge of the site and monitors the tides. My best advice is do it during the day when there is more to see.