Kauai is one of the Hawaiian Islands and is sometimes called The Garden Island due to its lush scenery. The warm tropical climate and exotic wild life has made Hawaii one of the most popular vacation sites in the world. Hawaii is also known for the hospitability and friendly atmosphere. Kauai is the oldest and least populated of the main Hawaiian Islands. It’s the most northerly of them and smaller than Hawaii, Maui and Oahu. Most buildings are one or two storeys high, and there are no free ways of mega shopping malls on Kauai. Kauai is divided into 4 sections: West Side, North Shore, Coconut coast and South Shore. The topography is an intriguing mix of pinnacles, archways, lava ridges, caves and caverns formed by lava meeting the sea some 6 million years ago. Waves and erosion has since then created long, sandy beaches. There are excellent dive sites along the shoreline as well as in the offshore waters.
The tropical water surrounding the island is ideal for the growth of coral reefs, filled with all kinds of marine life. Scientists have found 680 different species of fish in the Hawaiian waters, and about 420 of those is reef and inshore fishes. Astonishingly, almost 25% of the species only lives in this area and can be found nowhere else in the world. While diving in Kauai, you will see lots and lots of species you’ve never seen before.
Weather, ocean conditions and time of year is important factors to take into account when deciding which diving sites to visit while staying at Kauai. On the East side you can dive at Mana Crack, a great dive site located not far from the Polihale Beach. The area consists of an impressing submarine ridge, stretching over 10 miles. Chances are high you will encounter bigger fish here, like sharks and jacks. The East side of the island is not frequently visited by divers, because of the tradewinds. If you still wish to go, Black Coral Arch and Dragons Head are recommended diving sites.
Ni'ihau, The Forbidden Island, is a much smaller island located not far from Kaunai. Ni'ihau and Lehua Rock are suitable dive sites only if you are an advanced and experienced diver. It sounds like a cliché, but Niihau really is an unspoiled paradise of pristine beauty. The diving experience is top notch and rarely leaves anyone unimpressed. The trip from Kaunai to Niihau can take from anywhere from 1.5 hours to more than 3 hours depending on weather conditions. Sharks, turtles, rays, whales, monk seals and enormously big schools of Hawaiian Reef fish can often be seen here, provided of course that the season is right.
One of the most impressive creatures commonly encountered while diving at Kaunai is Honu – the Green Sea Turtle. These creatures where on the brink of extinction, but have made a strong comeback during the last years. They are now protected by Federal law and touching or in any other way disturbing them can cost you up to 10,000 USD. The turtles can usually be spotted when they are resting on the bottom or swimming up to the surface to breath, some of them weighing more than 300lb!