Hawaii Dive Sites
A liveaboard to Hawaii will let divers enjoy the unique manta and blackwater night dives. It is not possible to experience these anywhere else in the world.
Hawaii is a very remote chain of islands which has some of the most pristine scenery and cleanest air. Underwater, her waters have a vast amount of marine life including many endemic species only found in this area, giving Hawaii dive sites some truly unique and magical experiences for guests to enjoy during the liveaboard cruises.
Kona scuba diving on the Big Island has one of the most amazing night dives with manta rays. Permanent submerged lights set into the seabed attract the plankton feeders, giving a close-up experience. A second fantastic night dive is available on your cruise, a blackwater dive. The blackwater dive is a bioluminescence experience not to be missed and not conducted anywhere else worldwide.
Diving in Hawaii offers varied topography and dive types. Cave dives off of Lana’i, shipwrecks off Oahu, reefs in Maui, drift dives from Moloka’i and so much more.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Hawaii Dive Sites - 1 LIVEABOARDS
Golden Arches is a dive site on Big Island that features lava arches with swim-throughs. In the open water the site can have gentle currents and has the best lava flow structures on the Kona coast. The ‘golden arch’ is a swim-through of a wide lave tube, a light is needed to explore all the crevices. There is a second arch, a reef and a drop off which are home to Whitleys boxfish, frogfish, rock mover wrasse, leafy scorpionfish and even pods of dolphins.
Two Steps can be completed either in the shallow water, or there is a drop off to the deep. The area is filled with colourful anthias, turtles, different eel species, angelfish and more. There are dolphins here occasionally underwater and white tip reef sharks.
Maui and Lanai Dive Sites
Maui Black Rock
Maui Black Rock is one of the most popular scuba diving sites in the Hawaiian island of Maui. Eagle rays and turtles appear here along with the state's fish “humanhumanuka’apua’a,", known as the lagoon triggerfish.
Molokini Crater has many species of fish, eels, and the occasional manta ray in the crater’s protected interior. The backside has deeper water and stronger currents so mantas, dolphins, whales and sharks are often here.
Cathedrals I and II
These are popular sites in Lana’i to see many fish and invertebrates. During the winter, humpback whales can be spotted from the surface.
The Cathedrals are cavern dives with lava tubes, the top of the pinnacles have collapsed to allow light to penetrate through many holes creating a stained glass appearance.
Oahu Dive Sites
YO-257 and San Pedro Wrecks
The YO-257 wreck is dived together with another called the San Pedro. They lie approximately 50 metres apart from each other and are home to many eagle rays, green turtles, white-tip reef sharks and moray eels.
The YO-257 is a 55m navy oil tanker sank in 1989 to form an artificial reef. There is a large gun on the stern, a swim through and she is covered in corals with a resident turtle. A submarine company often takes guests here and can be seen by divers.
The San Pedro is a fishing vessel that caught fire in 1975 and sank 20 years later. While it is not anywhere as intact or photogenic as the YO-257, the fact that you can dive two wrecks on one dive makes it worth swimming over to!
Sea Tiger Wreck
The Sea Tiger is a scuttled former Chinese trading vessel confiscated for smuggling immigrants into Hawaii in the 1990’s and is 45m in length. Reef sharks, green turtles, eagle rays and morays make this wreck their home along with schooling fish. Penetration is possible in the cargo hold and bridge as the vessel is mainly intact.
Corsair Plane Wreck
The Corsair is a plane from 1948 that sank after running out of fuel on the way to Pearl Harbour. Sharks including tigers and manta rays pass through the area which is home to yellow margin morays. Whales and even monk seals have been seen here.
The Mahi is a former minesweeper or cable laying ship at 30m of depth, sank in 1986. Some collapsing of the structure occurred due to a hurricane meaning no penetration is possible. Eagle rays, puffers and many nudibranchs along with schooling fish make it an exciting dive.
The LCU West is at 28m with a small reef close by. The landing craft unit is upside down and often has white tip reef sharks inside or underneath. An artificial reef of concrete blocks surrounds the structure and has black coral growth along with whip corals and gobies.
The New Barge is home to many turtles and vast schools of fish with a large swim-through along the length of the vessel. The dive can be combined with the Baby Barge if conditions are right for a drift dive.
Baby Barge is at 20m and has a beautiful reef close by. Penetration of the barge is no longer possible as the structure is deteriorating. White tips can still be seen here and there are usually many turtles on each dive. A shark cave at 26m is close by with a ledge or overhang sheltering the white tips and also turtles.
Turtle Canyon, is as the name suggests, is one of the best places to see green turtles. The centre of the dive site is a cleaning station, where green turtles wait patiently while yellow tangs nibble at the parasites on their shells. Sometimes you can see and photograph up to ten turtles all hanging out on the sand together!
A cave and wall dive, the mouth of the cave is at 17m and travels inward around 45m. Inside are white tip reef sharks and turtles along with molluscs and reef fish. After exploring the cave, a drift dive along the wall is possible.
This drift dive is where it is possible to see the Hawaiian monk seal. White tip reef sharks, eagle rays, morays and turtles are all common here. In the winter months, it is also possible to see or hear whale songs.
Koko Crater is an excellent dive for all certification levels, there is a series of craters formed when the Koko volcano erupted. There is a cleaning station for the large green turtles and schooling fish at 12m of depth. It is even possible to see the monk seals, whales and dolphins here.
Manta and Blackwater Night Dives
Manta Night Dive
The manta night dive is one of Hawaii’s top dive experiences that is an experience like nothing else in the world. There are large lights built into the ocean floor which attract a massive amount of plankton to the area. This, in turn, brings in the manta rays incredibly close to the divers providing an unforgettable experience.
Blackwater Night Dive
The Blackwater dive is a once in a lifetime experience. Conducted in pitch black water with a bottom depth of over 100m divers are tethered to the boat so they don't get lost. Each diver is attached to a weighted line. No lights are used so divers can see the bioluminescence from the ocean.
Marine life is pretty small but amazing to watch with strange juveniles coming up from the deep to feed and luminescing red, white, green, yellow and blue.
There is a free afternoon to explore Kailua-Kona Bay and guests will have the evening meal on the last night on the island.
Marine Park and Conservation in Hawaii
The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was established in 2006 by President George W. Bush. It initially covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the northwestern islands of Hawaii.
President Barack Obama more than quadrupled Papahānaumokuākea’s size, to 582,578 in 2016.