Hawaii is a real paradise on earth. This exotic corner of the planet, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, attracts tourists from all over the world. Some of them come here for scuba diving, which in Hawaii is just amazing because of the huge number of scenic atolls, beautiful volcanic landscape, frozen lava flows, basalt boulders, mysterious caves and famous volcanic pipes. Traveling to these distant shores can be the most exciting adventure in life.
Top Diving Sites in Hawaii
Scuba diving around the islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago is always superb. However, a number of sites are seasonal. What can be a very quiet place in summer, becomes a surf spot for world competitions during the winter months. Winds also have a significant impact on dive site conditions, as they are protected by the island on one side but not on the other.
1. Kailua Kona – Hawaii
Source: Hawaii’s Best Diving – Scuba Diving Kona | Premium 2 Tank Long Range
Sometimes referred to as only Kailua or Kona, is located on the island called Hawaii, also called the Big Island. The temperature is mostly dry and sunny. There are a dozen diving sites nearby, and each one would easily deserve a place on a list of the best scuba diving sites in Hawaii. That said, it is the Blackwater site that offers the ultimate and unique experience! This is a shallow dive, about 60 feet, but it should be done at night. You will discover that the ocean is not black at all at night…. thanks to all the little bio-luminescent creatures that will reveal themselves to you quietly.
2. Golden Arches – Hawaii
Source: Kona diving: skull rock, suck em up, golden arches
This is another dive site on the Big Island, and this one allows you to observe arches made of volcanic lava. These are several passages to be used and around which there are several schools of fish, and often even dolphins. In addition to this site, you will find many others along the Kona coast.
3. The Cathedrals – Lanai
Source: Diving The Cathedrals – Lanai, Hawaii
There are two diving sites, Cathedral 1 and 2. The depth of these sites varies between 15 and 65 feet. Apart from the ridges and lava tubes that form the sites, you will find an impressive drop-off to explore. The main attraction of the sites remains the lava tubes. The roofs have collapsed, leaving an open passage on the top, through which light enters and thus makes play of light on the walls. This is where the names of the sites come from, which resembles a cathedral ceiling, and the light that passes through a stained glass windows.
4. Molokini Wall – Maui
Source: Molokini Crater back wall dives, Maui
It is actually a crater, in a protected area, located about 40 minutes by boat from Maui. Several sites are located around this crater, including the Molokini Wall, which is a world famous drop-off site and a drift dive site for certified divers only. The wall descends to a depth of about 280 feet. As for the marine current, it is generally mild, allowing a pleasant drift dive. Sharks are common, especially grey reef sharks, as well as black and white tip sharks. You can also meet Manta rays, turtles, dolphins and many schools of fish.
5. Black Rock
Source: Black Rock – Best Shore Dives Maui, Hawaii
This site is very close to Maui, and is very popular with tourists. The colour and vertical surface are breathtaking. The site is considered to be in the top 5 most beautiful shore dives in the United States, as well as one of the best snorkeling sites.
Source: Kauai Southshore Scuba – Sheraton Caverns (HD)
The greenest island, which is also called the “Garden Island”. The most interesting and popular dive sites are located here. Be sure to visit Cannons, Tunnels and Ke’e Lagoon. Of particular interest to divers is the Tunnels Reef dive site, consisting of intricate labyrinths of volcanic tunnels. Dives are possible around the clock.
Source: SCUBA Adventure with Lahaina Divers- Maui, Hawaii
In order to appreciate the beauty of the local nature, it is recommended to go to the western part of the island of Maui, which was chosen by the huge sea turtles, the true long-livers of these hospitable shores.
Molokini Crater, which you get to by boat, will delight divers with the main attraction – black coral. In the local waters you can also meet hammerhead sharks. The depth of the Molokini crater reaches approximately 130 feet.
Source: The best dive sites of Oahu, Hawaii
Scuba diving here will be memorable for many reasons. Divers can dive directly from the shore; in the winter, the western and southern coasts are more suitable for this, and in the north – dive during the summer. Of significant interest for divers who have visited this unique island are sunken ships, of which there are many.
Aeroplane is a sunken passenger plane that has found eternal peace in the western part of the island of Oahu. The aeroplane crashed in the 80s and has since rested next to a picturesque coral reef at a depth of 10 feet.
Also there is a Corsair plane wreck which is an American warplane that crashed in 1946 and rests at a depth of 90 feet. At present, it has a colony of eels on board.
9. MV Mahi
Source: Scuba Diving the Mahi shipwreck and Mākaha Caverns, Oahu, Hawaii
MV Mahi is a man-made reef, formed from the remains of a 197 feet tanker. Not far from the MV Mahi is a 164 feet dry cargo ship. Divers can get inside the tanker and get acquainted with its fearful inhabitants.
10. Paliea – Oahu
Source: Scuba Diving in Oahu
In addition to sunken ships and airplanes, you should visit the Sea Cave, an underwater cave near Paliea, located in the eastern part of the island of Oahu at a depth of 66 feet. No less interesting for divers is the underwater cliff Paliea Point, inhabited by amazing inhabitants and often visited by a giant whale shark.
When is it better to go
The climate in this latitude is marine, tropical. A small amount of precipitation in Hawaii is possible between early May and October, when the islands are affected by tropical cyclones. The rains at this time are not long, and sunny days still prevail. The water temperature in the ocean does not fall below 72° Fahrenheit in winter and stays around 82° Fahrenheit in summer. This means that diving in the Hawaiian Islands is possible at any time of the year.
Hawaii Diving Season
The main attractions that primarily attract divers are sheer walls, coral reefs, under sea lava flows. The local fauna is also of great interest: stingrays, white-footed sharks , turtles, eagles, crabs, octopus, eels, as well as many species of coral fish that are found here in large numbers.
Hawaii Diving Conditions
The best diving season in Hawaii is in the summer, although diving can be done year. In addition to scuba diving, tourists can enjoy many other water activities , as well as the magnificent local beaches and various entertainment facilities. On the islands, you can easily rent the necessary equipment for scuba diving, there are over 50 diving operations, and in almost every hotel there is a diving operation.
Although Hawaii is a tropical destination, the depth of the sea does not allow surface water to heat up as much as you might think. All the same, the average water temperature varies around 74°F-80°F during the year.
That said, deep water has its good side as it also provides excellent visibility. The visibility is rarely under 30 feet, and at several sites, it exceeds 100 feet.