Scuba Diving in Oahu, Hawaii

The island of Oahu offers a spectrum of diving experiences for the beginner student to the advanced diver. The pristine waters of Hawaii come to life with colorful reef fish, coral beds, star fish, turtles, octopus, lobster, intricately designed shells, and other marine life during shore dives or boat dives, night or day. Oahu is also the only place in Hawaii for wreck diving.

With more than 650 species of reef fish, Hawaii has more than 200 species found nowhere else in the world, due to an area of isolated development nearly 2,000 miles from the nearest continent or island reef habitats. Divers off Oahu’s coast are apt to see some of the 38 varieties of moray eels, nine species of frogfish (anglerfish) and a dozen or so types of scorpion fish, as well as an abundance of marine flat worms, nudibranchs, shrimp, and giant sea turtles.

Diving on Oahu is easily accessible, as great dive sites surround the island and more than 25 dive shops service all levels of divers. On the south side, the Corsair wreck is a premier dive site for advanced divers. In 1946, the pilot of the Corsair ran out of fuel on a training mission in 1946 and ditched the plane off the shores of Hawaii Kai. The plane landed in 105 feet on a sandy bottom leaving the plane fully intact. Divers have spotted rare crocodile and garden eels, horned helmet (conch) shells, large pelagic fish such as barracuda, jacks, and stingrays that frequent this site for feeding.

On the west side, the Mahi shipwreck is another dive site featuring a 186-foot United States Navy vessel sunk in 1982, which now serves as an artificial reef on a sandy bottom at 90 feet, located one mile from the Wai’anae Boat Harbor. Voted by Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine as the fourth best wreck dive in the U.S., the Mahi features three decks ranging from 58 to 78 feet deep. A group of spotted eagle rays are sometimes spotted swimming around the wreck.

On Oahu’s windward (east) side, Moku Manu lies about 500 yards off Mōkapu Point and features rich marine life including eels, turtles, reef fish, and lobster hiding in the caves. Diving depths range from 30 to 90 feet.

On the North Shore, Shark’s Cove, near Waimea Bay, offers great summer shore dives featuring reef with caves, lava tubes, and ledges. Reef fish are plentiful. Depths run to 60 feet and when the surf is low, Shark’s Cove is an ideal spot for scuba training.

In addition to the diversity of dive locations, there are many certified dive shops available to serve all levels of divers’ needs and interests as well as rates commissionable for travel agents. Many of the charters offer personalized care accommodating eight divers or less.

(Content provided by O'ahu Tourism Bureau)

Published: 9 Jun 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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