August 23, 2016

Dive Sites of Kauai

 

SHERATON CAVERNS

Sheraton Caverns

Sheraton Caverns has got the most popular boat diving site on Kauai. Located about 400 yards off the Sheraton Kauai ( go figure that one) this site offers something for everyone. Three partial lava tubes make of the majority of this spot with lots of nooks and crannies for the critters to hide in. Archways and partial overhangs give this site some of the most spectacular scenery found underwater. Everything from Frogfish to Black Coral lives on this site, with Sea Turtles being so prominent that we don’t call them Turtles but A.F.T.’s (Another Freaking Turtle). Because this site has been used for so many years the fish here just think of us as one of the school. Most of them don’t even blink an eye when we swim by (do fish have eyelids?) and a few wont move ( you have to ask nicely). So if you ever wanted to swim in an aquarium this is the spot!

 

ICE BOXIce Box

Icebox like general store is also named because of the good hunting in the old days. Now this series of small ledges is a favorite with our customers. With lots of small caves numerous animals spend the day hiding out. Whiskered Boar fish have been seen here on a regular basis along with white tip reef sharks and turtles. Because of the shape of the site currents are not as strong here as they are at other site and the reef is diverse and interesting. Overall a good site for a moderate diver.

 

 

THREE FINGERS

Three Fingers

Located about 100 feet outside of the harbor this site is a favorite with our crew. Three fingers of lava form the dive site thus the name (we tell customers that the site was named in memory of “Fred the eel petter” but that’s not the truth). A very gentle site this place has a little something for everyone. Schools of Surgeon fish and Blue striped grunts make this a very fishy spots with turtles and conch adding to the aura. Len swears he knows where Bi-colored Antheus are (but no one else has ever seen them)Shallow depths and very little current make three fingers a great site for beginners. The only down side is that the south swells can lower visibility quite a bit but most days 60′ to 100′ are the norm.

 

 

GENERAL STORE

General Store

Named for the plentiful fish selection (get it “General Store”). This site is also the resting place of the wreck of the “Pele” a freighter that sank here in the late 1800’s. Now before you start drooling and going “Wreck Dive Hee hee hee” there isn’t much of the old girl left. Just her boiler, some hull plates and a couple of anchors (that and the 500 pounds of gold they had hidden on her but never found.) (Just Kidding.) A horseshoe shaped inlet with small lava tubes on either side gives this site lots of places for the fish to hide and because of it location in deeper waters (90 foot plus on the outside) there always a good chance for the big stuff to move through (Dolphins are seen here lots). Currents here can get a little rough but with the inlet there always a place to “duck and hide” if they get out of hand. Sometimes done as a drift dive depending on the divers and the currents. All things considered a medium to advance diver location.

 

FAST LANES

Fast Lanes

This site is basically two lava fingers that run parallel to each other perpendicular to the shore. The name comes from a dive done with a couple of old timers who were fishing here. They were having a grand old time when a couple of grey reef sharks came down right through the lane between the fingers. As they seemed to be traveling rather fast the guys thought “hey this must be the fast lane”! (Hey! Come on! There is no way we could make that story up.) The name stuck and the site has been used ever since Depth ranges from about 45 feet on the upper reef to well over 90 on the outside of the lane. A very large black coral bush reside on the west finger and the rare long nose hawk fish lives in the bush. Reef sharks sleep here along with turtles and eels. The only thing we haven’t seen her is… well now that we think about it we’ve seen everything here!!! Good deep dive for beginners and a great dive for advance divers.

 

BEACH HOUSE

Beach House

A large arch dominates this site which sits directly out from the Beach House restaurant. Two fingers of lava run side by side with the arch connecting them together. A large school of Blue stripped grunts lives under the arch along with Turtles and Tang. Helmet conch cruise the sandy spots looking for the burrowing sea urchins that they love to eat. The top of the reef is around 65 feet so not a lot of shallow spots to hang on , but other then that a great site. Look on the west side of the fingers for a small cave filled with different bottom fish.

 

TURTLE BLUFFS

Turtle Bluffs

Located just west of General Store Turtle bluffs consists of a small hill surrounded by 15 to 20 ledges on three sides. Known for the turtle cleaning station located at the top of the hill this site is loaded with fish. Most often currents are not a problem but being so far off shore it does have a tendency to catch the same stuff that General Store does. Good chance on seeing larger stuff here too. White tip reef sharks and an Hawaiian Morwong are just two of the many species that inhabit.

 

BRENNEKES LEDGE

Brennekes Ledge

Brennekes Ledge is located at the east end of the south side dive sites. With its location so close to the point the currents here can rip. Mostly done as a drift, this site is one of the best there is on Kauai. Starting at around 60 feet the ledge drops off and turns into a overhang about 15 feet farther down. The overhang offers a large place for a lot of critters to hide and hunt. The only down side to this site is (once again) the currents. Because of the proximity to a point of land that compresses the current this site can be flat clam one minute and a ripping torrent the next. That’s why we mostly do it as a drift. Not for the squeamish or faint of heart this site should be requested only after you feel comfortable in the water.

 

NIIHAU DIVE SITES

Niihau Dive Sites

A supreme adventure, but not for the faint of heart! These are some of Kauai’s most advanced dives but the payoff is stupendous. Drift diving and deep diving with some of Kauai’s most wonderful creatures. Niihau and Lehua offer incredible diving with over 11 sites total to choose from. This advanced dive will give you the opportunity to see Kauai diving as it is intended, without crowds and with knowledgeable, safe Dive Instructors!

 

AHUKINI LANDING (EAST SHORE)

Ahukini Landing (East Shore)

Good for first timers and a great advance dive. But this site needs a guide that knows the spot. At night the reef is hard to navigate Located by Lihue airport, Ahukini is one of those sites that offers a wide diversity of environments. Popular as a shore fishing location, this site is only safe during times of light trades or south winds. Maximum depth can exceed 90 feet (if you don’t mind holding your breath on the way back) but the average is 25 to 50 feet. On the inside is a dredged out harbor that has a thick mud bottom where the brown sting ray is a common (and beautiful) sight. On the outside of the channel, large schools of spotted eagle rays (we’ve counted 25 at one time) fly in formation over the sand. Another aspect to this site is the ammunition that can be seen here. It seems that at the end of world war 2 there was a lot of unused ammo dumped of the ships that were anchored here. over the years some of it has been washed into shallow water where divers can see it rolling on the bottom. One word of caution though. This stuff is still live so look but don’t touch. Low visibility and lots of fishing wire. Make sure you have a knife as this is a very popular fishing spot at night. If there are guys fishing say hi and stay away from their lines or you might end up on a kitchen table.

 

KOLOA LANDING (SOUTH SHORE)

Koloa Landing (South Shore)Located on the south side of Kauai, this is probably the most popular shore diving site on Kauai. During most of the year, this site offers just about everything you could want from a shore dive. Navigation is easy with outbound headings pointing due South (guess what the inbound is). Sea turtles sleep here during the day and we’ve seen everything from monk seals to whales (no… not the bikini kind) at this site. Once the premium harbor here on Kauai, there are still anchor chains located close to shore. The only caution is during periods of high south surf (anything over 4 feet).

 

TUNNELS (NORTH SHORE)

Tunnels (North Shore)

This is our favorite site of all but we strongly recommend you dive it with a guide. It is a difficult site to navigate and having a trained guide familiar with the site will improve your dive experience 150%. Named for the large tubes that form in the winter surf, this site lives up to it’s name. So far, we have documented over 26 caverns and tubes with some being over 75 ft. long. White tip reef sharks use the caverns to get clean while they sleep during the day and the reef is home to turtles, black coral and multiple nudibranchs (what the heck is that you ask? You’ll have to take the tour.) The current here can rip so the best time to dive is low tide and flat surf. Another drawback is parking so be sure to carpool with your guide or ask around for a group of Sherpa’s to hire to carry your gear the three miles to the beach. Now of course if you do a guided dive with us we will be more then happy to deliver your gear down to the beach for you (we have a cart and everything).