Dive Sites In Hawaii
Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, over 2400 miles from the nearest continent, and consists of 132 islands. The remoteness of these islands has created a unique marine life, and 25% of the marine species living here can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Hawaii has a relatively long history as a popular dive site because of its year round warm waters and extraordinary marine life. Every Hawaiian island has its on characteristics and it’s possible to return year after year and still find new and interesting dive sites. Water temperatures are 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 C) from May to October, dropping to 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 C) during November – April.
The four most visited islands are Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu. Four other comparatively large islands are Ni'ihau, Molokai, Kahoolawe and Lanai. These last four islands do not get as many tourists and are thus able to offer more private dive sites without any crowding. These dive sites are however usually only suitable for intermediate to advanced divers.
Most of the diving around the island of Hawaii – commonly referred to as The Big Island – is done off the leeward coast since it is sheltered from the trade winds by large mountains. Visibility is usually around 100ft or more. One of the most easily accessible dive sites is Place of Refuge at Honauna Bay. While being highly suitable for beginners, it still offers enough beauty, diversity and challenges to satisfy the advanced and experienced divers as well. Please note that the whole area surrounding Honauna Bay is an ancient Hawaiian religious ceremonial area and show the appropriate respect while being here.
Ni'ihau is located 17 miles southwest of Kauai and is famous for the gigantic sea arches living here. While diving at Ni'ihau you will also be able to encounter the very rare monk seal as well as large pelargic fish. Pyramid Point, the Lehua Gardens, the Niihau Arches, Keyhole and Stairway to Heaven are all enchanting dive sites, but not suitable for beginners.
The longest barrier reef in Hawaii can be found alongside the island of Molokai, but despite this the island is rarely visited by divers and you can be sure of an undisturbed dive in this natural sanctuary. The dive sites called Fish Rain and The Cove are only suitable if you are an advanced diver, while Fish Bowl and Hole in the Wall is recommended for intermediate divers as well.
The dive sites surrounding the island of Lanai are famous for the intriguing lava formations, which creates startling light effects. You will be able to dive in and around tunnels, caverns, archways, ridges and pinnacles. Most people diving around Lanai choose to stay at Maui and go to the Lanai sites by boat. Turtle Haven, Houlopo'e Bay, Fish Rock, Shark Fin, Sergeant Minor and Sergeant Major are all suitable dive sites for beginners. Sergant Major is named after the schooling sergeant major damselfish thriving here. During the winter months humpback whales can be encountered, and turtles are present all year around. Since this dive site is facing open water it is also possible to see larger game fish and dolphins if you are lucky.