Sunday, December 30, 2007

Diving ideas for Hawaii

A student asked about diving in Hawaii this next march, so I thought I'd offer my response here since I often get requests on dive locations and shops.

Hawaii in March is a fun time to be there. The weather is getting a little nicer on the north sides of the island but you may still run into a pelagic like the occasional whale shark or Humpback whale. As far as islands are concerned I think the best diving for newer divers is on either Maui, Kona and Oahu in that order. Maui is nice because you can go dive Molokini Crater and the small island of Lanai.

The crescent shape of Molokini provides protection from waves and ocean currents making this area one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Inside the crescent shape is a reef area with clear views to 150 feet. These waters are home to about 250 species of fish. Lanai is about an hour boat ride from the dive shop on Maui, but it offers some of the best diving in Maui. If the weather permits it’s worth the trip. There are over 20 dive sites on the island, although most dive trips will try to visit either of the two underwater cathedrals. They are actually large air bubbles that burst underwater creating these large rooms which look like a cathedral once inside. Use Lahaina Divers if you go there. Both places are perfect for your level of experience, and Maui is also very developed with nice restaurants and shopping.

For a more rustic stay I like Kona. The dives are great you can dive with the Manta Rays on at least one of the dives. The Manta Ray dive is a dusk dive, but only in 25 feet of water. The Manta’s come to feed on the plankton attracted to underwater lights and get close enough to touch, very cool dive!

Check out Jack’s Dive Locker for Kona, they have a large shop, great rental gear and big boats.

You can usually stay a little cheaper on Kona, and other things to do include a trip to the Observatory on the volcano and Place of Refuge; or go see where Captain Cook was killed for screwing with the natives.

And, if you’re feeling a little cozmo and want to mingle with the Harajuku Girls from Japan go to Oahu. If you dive here a great outfit is Ocean Concepts. A large PADI shop with newer boats and excellent staff. The dives on Oahu can be a little more advanced. Many times the first dive of the day is to a deeper wreck or reef around 85’, with a second dive to the shallow reefs around 45’. But since the wrecks have multilevels you can usually dive any of them with a Divemaster and they can take you on most dives; just ask ahead of time.

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