Barry W. Stieglitz's Dive Log
Magic Island on 10/17/2008
Barry W. Stieglitz
Oct 17, 2008, 12:00 AM
Is it a long gear hump from the parking lot? Yes! Is the site in the middle of downtown Honolulu? Yes! Is it one of the only places to dive when there's a surf advisory on the North Shore? Yes! Good advice from previous contributors includes bringing a wagon to carry gear (bring a guard, or chain it to a nearby tree or bench) and surface swim out to the first green marker buoy. However, this is a good site for Honu: spotted eagle rays, various surgeonfish, and the occasional stonefish. Bring along a mesh bag for trash and be part of the solution. Mahalo to the site owners for a great resource!
Shark's Cove on 9/2/2009
Ah, Sharks Cove: still the classic shoredive on O'ahu. Sharks Cove never fails to deliver at least one honu, a moray or two or three, and a nudibranch. After several years, we've finally seen an actual shark in Sharks Cove (reportedly named for its shape, not its usual occupants). A four-foot white tip reef shark has been seen on a couple occasions under a lava formation to the north outside the cove proper. Earlier last month we were blessed with a small (20+) pod of spinner dolphins moving through the area while the snorkelers above reported this was only 1/10 of the pod they saw at the surface. Take note: earlier this summer the left side of the road that passes the showers was closed to parking for most its length, and tickets are being issued.
Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach on 9/2/2009
August 15, 2009. Looks like the jury is still out on Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach AKA Turtle Street site. Is the best shore dive on O'ahu? Not by my vote, but it is a great place to see honu, and lots of them! We were a little bummed that we *only* saw 9 on our second dive here. We didn't see many below 35', and so if you're only interested in those skip the bottom of the trench with its silt and muck. And while in the trench spend as much time looking up for honu overhead as you do looking down and at the wall, or you'll miss a lot. The honu cleaning stations were amazing. Also saw several bristleworms and nudibranchs. We expected poor viz and got it. I was surprised by the diversity of fish on the swim out to the trench, and I'd come back just to snorkel the first couple hundred feet. Haven't tried a night dive here...yet! ScubaFella43 has the best entry/exit identified in his reviews.
Koke'e Park on 9/2/2009
August 29, 2009. One can either turn onto Lunalilo Home Road (crosses the Kalaniana'ole Highway at the Hawaii Kai Foodland) OR Nawiliwili Street: both roads intersect Poipu Drive and the posted directions work from there. Entry was easy, and humping gear down from the street wasn't much worse, in my opinion, than, say, Sharks Cove, although it is steeper. We had 1-2' swells and a trade wind that had the bottom all stirred up. Viz may have been 15-20'. Straight out from shore the bottom averaged 12' with little topography. Neither we nor our snorkeler escort saw any marine life of note, although viz improved to maybe 30' once we were out a couple hundred yards. Saw a single moray and lots of tobys, but that's about it. We amused ourselves by collecting (not kidding here) an entire small mesh bag of golf balls! This may not have been a typical viz day, and next time we will head left along the wall (and maybe find the guy using his back lanai as a golfing range?).
Koko Kai Park on 9/2/2009
August 29, 2009. Whew! What a hairy dive exit! Rope must still be gone, as we couldn't find it. Definitely wear at least a rash guard, but a wet suit with gloves mo' betta, for the exit. I don't think most folks would want to do this on a flat sea, as one really needs a little swell (2-3') to get enough lift to flop back onto the ledge to exit like flotsam. :) On the negative side, the bottom was covered in lead sinkers and - yuck! - spark plugs?!?! We removed what we could.... On the positive side, the area resembled some areas of topography in the Mainland west: flat rock with the occasional 'butte' sticking up. The bottom itself was highly reticulated, like the pattern on the side of a scrawled filefish: beautiful. I think snorkelers (at least the hardy ones) would enjoy this site for the hardscape at least. We didn't see many big fish, but lots of people in the form of youngsters backflipping off the ledge and spearfishermen. At least one monk seal was filmed around the corner near Spitting Cave.
Kahe Point Beach Park on 11/24/2009
Barry W. Stieglitz
Nov 24, 2009, 12:00 AM
November 21, 2009. The parking lot at Kahe Point Beach Park was full by 8 AM. Surf was 2-3' faces - the best option anywhere on O'ahu that day - but by timing the wave sets, entry was easy. First dive to the end of the discharge pipes yielded 2 whitemouth morays, many blue dragon nudibranchs, 2 Hawaiian humpback cowries, schools of goatfish, several cushion stars, a peacock (?) flounder, a freckled (?) snake eel, and the resident population of spinner dolphins which circled us several times. The dolphins also put on a show topside during the surface interval. On a second dive we saw a half-dozen honu in the shark cave area and another flounder, in addition to the usual suspects. Viz was about 40' on both dives, except when we hit the training class of newbies on the sand bottom (underwater sand storm!). :)
Lana'i Lookout (Scenic Lookout) on 12/1/2010
November 20, 2010. Two dives at this amazing site, both using the giant stride entry from the peninsula. Visibility was 70'. Although the seafloor and walls appear barren at first glance, look closely for invertebrates like banded shrimp, harlequin shrimp, blue dragon nudibranches, ashy sea cucumbers, Linkia starfish, and crown-of-thorns starfish. Saw a school of pennant fish near the exit, a single spotted eagle ray, octopus, etc. My big score was my first brotula, resting in a crack in the back of a small cave near the entry. Prior reviewers are right - this is not a dive for newbies, and not to be conducted in heavy surf.
Halona Blow Hole on 12/1/2010
October 2, 2010. A difficult swim through 2' surf got us over the low visibility entry area and into decent viz (60'). Circling out and to the right brought us to an amazing underwater canyon between the actual shoreline and a standing wall at just over 50' depth. Looking upward, a huge school of hundreds of goatfish filled the canyon, wall to wall. Unfortunately, the bottom of the canyon seems to be the lawn chair graveyard, where lawn chairs go to die...have to start working on bringing that trash out. Other notable wildlife included zebra moray and honu.