For diving enthusiasts, planning a vacation takes on a whole new meaning. Typically, the vacation revolves around a dive site, or multiple dive sites that you can check out and experience while on holiday, while peppering in a little sight-seeing and relaxation of course. So, if you’ve been eyeing a trip to Hawaii and wondering just how good the diving is there, you’re in for a big treat as this is one of the most spectacular destinations you can visit.
Not only is Hawaii amazing from an underwater landscape point of view, but its marine life is varied, and you’ll find a variety of different degrees of diving exist. What this means is that everyone from the novice diver to the seasoned pro will find an intriguing spot to check out.
Here’s a look at the must-see dive sites for your trip to Hawaii.
Sea Tiger Wreck, Honolulu
Located just west of Waikiki this particular site features depths of 80-110 feet with a visibility of 15-30 feet. Because of its depth and conditions, this one is meant for advanced divers who have training and experience. Be prepared to encounter eagle rays, green sea turtles, eels, schools of fish, and even a shark once in a while.
The Sea Tiger was originally a trading vessel from China. Back in the early 1990s the vessel was caught carrying illegal immigrants from China to Hawaii, so it was confiscated. It was then bought by the company Voyager Submarines so it could be cleaned up and then sank in order to create a dive site. It takes about 20-25 minutes to reach the bottom where the wreck sits, and while there are some minor signs of decay at this point, for the most part it is in incredible shape.
The Forbidden Island, Niihau
If you are looking for something remote and untouched, then a visit to The Forbidden Island in Niihau is an absolute must. The island is owned by a family, and has been owned by them for over 150 years. It can be found just 17 miles from Kauai and feels completely remote. You won’t find stores, hotels, roads, or even cars here, instead it’s all about nature.
What makes this experience even more special is the fact you can only access it from late spring until early fall. During the winter months, the swells are far too big to fight, so the dive season is relatively short. Again, this one is for experienced divers only and depths range from 20 to 200 feet. Expect to see sharks, spinner dolphins, rare fish, and monk seals.
Golden Arches, the Big Island
This particular spot is a favourite with the locals, which means you can count on it being a great dive site. The difficulty level is graded at moderate, and the area is only accessible by boat. You’ll find the visibility to be quite good here and depths of up to 60 feet. The big draw for this site is the coral that draws in all kinds of unique and beautiful marine life. The water is a lovely shade of blue making for a picturesque experience.
This happens to be the most popular spot for diving in Lanai and features depths of 25 to 60 feet. This dive is perfect for everyone from the beginner to the intermediate diver. Visibility is 80 to 100 feet, so you’re going to be able to capture quite a bit in this dive.
This site is known for its two-storey tall cavern under the water. This is also called a lava tube. Within the cathedral are various ridges, tunnels, and passageways creating a spectacular scene. You’ll feel as though you’re on some archaeological mission looking for sunken treasures.
Back Wall of Molokini Crater, Maui
Not to be missed is the Molokini Back Wall, which is the backwall of the Molokini Crater. The wall juts out of the water by 200 feet, then drops down below the surface a whopping 300 feet. It’s both impressive and imposing from the surface of the water, and below the surface. This particular site is meant for advanced and experienced divers who have a good level of buoyancy control. While this one isn’t big on sea life, it is big on scenery and natural beauty.
A Trip to Remember
Whether you are only able to visit for a few days, or you’ve got more time to spend in Hawaii, one thing is for sure and that’s the fact that it offers diving experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime.
About the author: Elena is a diving enthusiast who has been taking part in the sport for years. She has travelled to various dive sites in Hawaii as well as around the world. Elena works with Atlantis Gozo in Malta providing exceptional services to those looking to experience the sport.