Scuba Diving

Scuba DivingScuba Diving in Kauai is excellent. It is common to see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, White Tip Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, Frog Fish, Moorish Idols, Eagle Rays and dozens of fish which are found only in Hawaiian waters. You will enjoy exploring the unusual ledges, pinnacles and caverns off the shore of Kauai. In the summer months, dive trips to the ‘Forbidden island’ of Ni‘ihau provides the best of Hawaiian diving.

Visit the ‘Hawaii Coral Reef Network‘ web site to see photos and descriptions of the incredible marine life.

An excellent book describing the fish of Hawaii is ‘Hawaiian Reef Fish’ by Casey Mahaney. Buy it now at Amazon.com.

There are many dive operators in Kauai. Please visit their web sites.

SeaSport Divers is located just one mile away toward Koloa town on Poipu Road.  Look for their ‘Yellow Submarine’ out in front.  They offer large dive boats, shore dives and a large retail store.  www.SeaSportDivers.com

KAUA‘I, HAWAII DIVE REPORT

We meet in the morning at the Seasport Divers store on the South shore to sign in for our two tank boat dive. The staff asked to see our certification cards, we sign the standard releases and identify what equipment we need. Tanks and weights are provided at no charge. When everyone had signed in, we load into the Seasport vans and ride 2 miles along the beautiful Kaua‘i coastline to Kukui‘ula Harbor, where their Pro 48 custom dive boat was waiting at the dock for us.

While the dive staff loaded our gear onto the boat, we were given a briefing about the procedures which would be used for our dive trip. Each diver was assigned a numbered tag to attach to their BC which would provide an easy and accurate way to account for each diver before the boat would move to the next dive site.

During the winter months, the water conditions at the North shore dive sites are too rough, so everyone dives the South shore. The normal South shore dive sites are only 10 to 15 minutes from the harbor, so everyone gets their gear set up and ready to go even before the boat leaves the harbor. During the summer months the West and North shores provide excellent dive sites, and when the weather allows in the summer, the 2 hour trip to the ‘Forbidden Island’ of Ni‘ihau provides some of the best diving in all the Hawaiian waters.

The boat captain chooses the first dive site based on the weather and water conditions he observes as well as the divers skill level. Pre-set mooring buoys eliminate the need to drop anchor so the reefs are protected from damage. Kauai is the northernmost populated Hawaiian island, so the water is just cool enough that coral growth is not thick, but there are lots of clumps of coral growing on the lava rock on the seafloor. Take your dive light so you can see the true colors of the coral, and to see in the nooks and crannies where the Moray Eels and other creatures are living.

Our first dive is at a site called ‘Fast Lanes’. Each dive is lead by an Instructor who is very familiar with the site and can find lots of interesting marine life to point out. Water current can occasionally be swift in Hawaiian waters, so the dive staff recommends divers use the downline and assemble together on the bottom. Several dozen fish in Hawaiian waters are found no where else in the world. The dive boat has fish identification books, and the staff is able to discuss fish which are unique to the area.

During the first dive we see lots of big Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles. People who have dived here before tell us that often dozens of turtles are seen on one dive! These turtles are federally protected, so we are instructed not to touch or get too close to them. The turtles seem to have been told that they are protected because they will often swim by us so close that we have to work to stay out of their way.

The water temperature at 60 feet is approximately 72 degrees and the water visibility is probably 60 feet. Full length 5mm wet suits are recommended – this is winter after all. During the summer months, 3mm wet suits work fine for most people. The dive leader guides us in a large circle around the sea floor, and amazingly, finds a Frogfish which is so well camouflaged that even when it is pointed out, the fish is almost impossible to see. He apparently knows the area quite well because he finds a Moray Eel almost immediately, then a small octopus. Another member of the dive staff is videotaping us and the marine life, so we will be able to relive the dive as soon as we get back to the store. Naturally, VHS or DVD copies are available for us to take home to show our friends.

During our briefing, the dive leader had told us to let him know when we get down to 1,500 psi, and that we need to have no less than 500 psi when we get back on the boat. He checks our air pressure occasionally during the dive and arranges for us to be getting into shallower water about 40 minutes into the dive so we can begin our safety stop. Our first dive is 84 feet for 43 minutes.

Before we climb the ladder back into the boat, the staff grabs our fins and puts them under the seat where we have a second tank waiting for us. The Pro 48 dive boat has two ladders, so getting everyone back aboard goes quickly. This boat has warm water shower hoses which are great for cleaning the salt water off our faces and spraying inside our wet suits. Hawaiian cookies, fruit drinks and water are provided and consumed in mass quantities during our short trip to the second dive site – Sheraton Caverns.

Sheraton Caverns is the ‘signature dive’ for Kauai. It is a real favorite for divers because of the fantastic lava tubes and swim-throughs. Our dive guide leads us through several arches and swim-throughs. Entering the second swim-through, he indicates we should stop, and wait for him to get in position to shine his dive light on an 8 foot White Tip Reef Shark which is sleeping on the bottom. After the third diver gets within 10 feet of the shark and has his look, the shark wakes up and moves slowly past everyone to find a quieter place to sleep. This site, like the others, has lots of the typical Moorish Idols, Parrotfish, Triggerfish, Puffer Fish, Box Fish, Angle Fish, Butterfly Fish, Surgeon Fish, Unicorn Fish and lots more Turtles for our viewing pleasure.

After our safety stop, we end this dive at 65 feet for 54 minutes, climb back into the boat and make the 15 minute trip back to the harbor. The staff quickly unloads the boat, and we load back into the van to return to the Seasport Divers store. Fresh water dunk tanks and hanging racks are available in the back parking lot so we can clean our gear.

The videographer asks us to meet in the classroom and he will be showing the video of our two dives. The store staff asks us to fill out a ‘Customer Comments’ card for the store owner to see how they are performing. Completing this form also provides a discount on merchandise purchased that day. All in all, it was a great day of diving. Seasport offers morning and afternoon dives everyday.

Dick Byce