Diving Kauai, Hawaii

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Kauai, Hawaii, USA

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Country: USA  Area: USA

Water Temp: 21 - 27°C (70 - 81°F)

Visibility: 3 - 30m (10 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 14 - 49m (46 - 161 ft)

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The island of Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the wettest, also known as the Garden Island because of all its lush green vegetation. It’s famous for beautiful weather, which averages between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year long.

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It also is the home of what many experts believe to be the wettest place on the globe, Wai’ale’ale Mountain, which averages annual rainfall of 485 inches each year. The islands Waimea Canyon and coastline is famous for hikers and boat tours as well, and was used in the movies Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park.

This island is popular for both vacationers as well as weddings because of its beauty and numerous first class resorts. Most of the resorts offer scuba packages or direct access to dive companies on the island.

Kalalau trail, Kauai, Credit

The diving on Kauai is spectacular, and can usually be done in just a bathing suit, except when diving the deeper spots.

Marine Conservation

There are conservation efforts on-going all the time by state and federal agencies, as well as private.

From the Kauai Monk Seal Conservation group, Kauai Reef Conservation group to the Kauai Ecotourism Sea Turtle protection group and more, this island is serious about its marine conservation.

Climate

Pretty much the weather on the island of Kauai is whatever it looks like out your window at any given time. It usually never stays the same, and locals believe checking any weather forecast is useless. It can be sunny one minute and showers the next. Plan on that kind of weather, because it probably will.

The water temperatures depending on what time of year range from 70’s to 80’s. Winter months tend to have more wind and storms, and you can get chilly, (yes believe it) if your climbing any of the mountain trails.  

 
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The Diving

Shore Dives

Tunnels Reef is a very popular dive site located on the North Shore of the island, and accessible by boat. This is a great dive site for the beginner to the expert diver, with visibility from 3m (10 ft.) all the way up to 19m (65 ft.) or more. You will have an inner and an outer reef to dive in, each with an excellent amount of wildlife, including sea turtles, rabbit fish, moray eels, triggerfish, trumpet fish and more. The inner reef is fairly calm and excellent for new divers as well as snorkelling. The outer reef can get a little rough, and be deeper diving, offering tunnels and caverns along with lava tubes and formations. This diving is more appropriate to intermediate and advanced divers, especially diving the Space Ship Tunnel.

Turtle and friends at Tunnels beach, Credit

Note: The outer reef is accessible from boat or shore, which is a good shore dive, especially for beginners, with 30-70 ft visibility.

Koloa Landing is also a very popular dive site, with dive depths ranging from 9m to 20m (30 and 65 ft.). It’s a good dive for all levels of divers,

And is located on the south side of the island of Kauai. Underwater you can find whales, seals and usually sea turtles, purple dragon nudibranches ( a purple sea slug on steroids) and morays.

Ahukini Landing can be a challenging dive, and is probably not a good one for inexperienced divers. Although it’s a great dive for viewing spotted eagle rays outside the channel, this area is heavily fished, and it’s easy to get caught up in line. There is also some danger associated with the dive, as after WWII, live naval rounds were dumped in the waters here. You can still find them on the bottom, and yes, they are still “live”. Highly suggested to dive with a local here. Some of the wildlife you’ll encounter is lobsters, frogfish, stingrays and occasional dolphins.

Boat Dives

Diving Kauai, Credit

General Store dive site is a favourite for wreck divers, with the “Pele” on the bottom to explore. This old ship from the latter 1800’s is now not much more than some anchors, her boiler and some steel plating, but still fun to dive. There are a few lava tubes and other formations to escape the occasional currents. The dive can get you from 60 ft. to 100 ft. and some boats will set you up as a drift dive if things are right. This dive is probably more appropriate for intermediate to advanced divers.

The Sheraton Caverns has something for all level of divers and is a favourite for anyone loving lava tube diving, as it has three of them. In reality this site should be called the “fishbowl” because if there’s wildlife to be seen, you’ll see it here. The one creature you are guaranteed to see is sea turtles, and lots of them. The diving is between 9m and 21m (30 ft. and 70 ft.), and very popular.

Brennekes Ledge is the dive for the experienced divers looking for a challenging drift dive in some heavy currents. You can be dropped in the waters on a ledge that will drop off and as you are moved along you can spot an array of wildlife, which makes this dive worth the challenge. The dive is between 18m to 30m (60 ft. and around 100 ft.) down and offers sightings of grey reef sharks, giant tuna, occasionally whales, knife jaws and more.

Turtle Bluffs is a dive more suited to intermediate and advanced divers. This 9m and 21m (30 ft. to 70 ft.) dive puts you into the land of lava with two runs of lava along the bottom are joined by a large arch overhead, perfect for a “selfie”. There plenty of wildlife, with Boarfish, turtles, sharks and watch for conch and blue stripped Grunts.

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How to Get there

There’s two ways to get to Kauai, by boat and by air. Most people come by air, arriving at the Lihue Airport, where they are either picked up by their resort, or rent a vehicle for their stay on the island.

Fish hiding, Kauai underwater, Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

When visiting the island of Kauai, you shouldn’t leave without dining at the famous Duke’s Canoe Club. This restaurant is not only a tribute to the legendary surfer and Olympic athlete, but also one of the top restaurants on the water. Enjoy the Hawaiian music and indoor waterfall as you dine on fresh seafood or Asian cuisine. A local favourite is the “Local Boy Paella”, a dish “to die for”.

There is nothing more relaxing and romantic than dining at the Beach House Restaurant on Poipu Beach overlooking the surf, especially at night. And the menu is spectacular, starting with things like Crispy Crab Stuffed Ahi and Beach House Ceviche. Main courses feature fresh fish to fish tacos and more. Sitting at your open-air tables with Tiki Torches flickering and a warm breeze, sipping on a glass of their excellent choices of wine, what more could you want?

Kauai underwater, Credit

Whether just looking for a light snack and happy hour after a day diving, or a cocktail before dinner, Dukes Barefoot Bar is a local and visitor favourite. This is a great place to sip a cocktail or two, complete with that paper umbrella, and snack of fresh sushi. And good to know, Dukes offers many of the same cocktail drinks, booze free, but we don’t know why.

If beer is your desire and possibly catching the game, then The Kaua’i Island Brewing Company is in order for you. With an excellent assortment of on-tap micro-brews and bottle beers, you’ll find one for sure. Pub menu, fresh fish, full bar, and multiple large flat screen’s for you game.

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Other Activities

Take a catamaran trip along the Na Pali Coast and see where Johnny Depp filmed the cave scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, and more.

Spend a day on Poipu Beach, one of the most beautiful in the world. Bring snorkel and fins.

Take one of the many beautiful and challenging hikes up in the mountains to find secret waterfalls, and prepare to jump into pristine private pools.

Take a helicopter “waterfall tour” and visit up close and personal the magnificent waterfalls filmed for Jurassic Park.

Play a round or two on some of the best golf courses on the face of the earth, but expect to pay green fees to the moon.

Snorkeling at Lydgate Park, Kauai, Hawaii, Credit

Family Friendly

Children 10 and above can take a beginning Discover Scuba Diving Course and be diving within a couple days. Also surfing and or paddleboard lessons are offered at most resorts and dive shops.

Of course, snorkelling is an excellent way to get youngsters ready for a future in scuba, as is snuba now being offered.

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Tips

If diving during the winter months, be especially careful of the heavy surf conditions and waters. 

The best time of year to see whales while diving is January.

Barred Dove, Credit

 

 

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