Frank DeCarvalho's Dive Log
Makaha Beach Park (Caverns) on 9/4/2003
Sep 4, 2003, 12:00 AM
I found out about Makaha's South Reef's location from a local Surf Kahuna who told the story of riding 30 plus waves in front of his friends house adjacent to Upena Loop. The surf break about 200 yards off the beach along the south part of Makaha Beach Park indicated there was a significant drop off, something that interested me as a diver. Obviously, this drop off was the cause of these monstrous waves breaking well off shore during the winter season. As indicated in the shorediving.com aerial photo of Makaha, you can see the exact location of the South Reef. It was a moonless night in September when my buddies and I first dived the South Reef in hopes of finding some big bugs. Most of the bugs along the more popular North Reef had been plucked years before. We geared up in the parking lot, headed down to the waters edge and made our plunge into the warm water. We surface swam out about 50 yards and by looking down with our lanterns, we soon noticed a sharp transition from sand to rock. We were in 25 feet of water when we descended and shortly after making our way seaward, my dive buddy flickered his light off to our right (away from the reef). I thought he was trying to get my attention to see a lobster on the sand bed, but the angle of his light shooting upward indicated something totally different. At first I couldn't believe my eyes. It was the biggest Tiger Shark I've ever seen outside of television...and it was just feet away from our small group. It was about 12 feet long and its belly was as massive as three 55 gallon drums tied together. Its lazy movements and dark eyes affixed on us told us he was curious, possibly just investigating our strange presence. I really wondered how such a large shark could have effortlessly and silently sneaked up on us only yards from the beach...scary. It eventually moved on, slipping into the dark beyond the shadows of our lights. We held close to the reef and kept a keen eye out, but it never returned. After making our way to the seaward edge and catching a few good size bugs along the way, we turned around and headed back, always watching our sides and rear. Thank God we hadn't decided to spear any uhus that night. We would have had to abort the dive or, as they say in Hawaii, pay the grey suited tax man. After diving the South Reef for another four years, I never had the pleasure of seeing our friend again...maybe that's a good thing. What I like most about Makaha's South Reef are the number of caves along the reefs edge. Some are large enough to squeeze several divers comfortably in, and others hold some large examples of the beautiful Triton's Trumpet. A huge Yellow Margin Moray eel guards the entrance, so don't get any grand ideas about grabbing one for your shelf.
Montauk Jetties on 8/14/2003
Aug 14, 2003, 12:00 AM
There are two Montauk Jetties (East and West) that flank the Montauk harbor channel. They guard the entrance into Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound. You can easily access either of them at Gosman's Dock on West Lake Drive or at the end of East Lake Drive adjacent to Montauk County Park. I particularly like the jetty on East Lake Drive because it is better for exploration, has fewer people, and has better facilities at the beach Park. Both jetties are pretty much the same in the department of underwater topography. They are constructed of large boulders and both sit on a sandy bottom. Depth gradually increases to 25 feet around the seaward points and visibility on good days holds in around 30 feet. The most notable feature of these two jetties are the many hiding spots for crabs and lobsters. Be careful grabbing the big ones. The sandy area around the outward edges of the jetties offer plenty of hiding spots for flounders and some small flukes. This area is also good for finding shells, but mostly augers and cones. Last dive I had there I found someone's fishing pole. It must have fallen in or perhaps was pulled out of the fisherman's hands when a large blue took the bait. During late August, one can expect to see schools of snappers and baby blues. I also spotted a few striped bass, too bad I didn't have my spear gun handy. If you're in the area and are looking for a decent shallow dive with interesting topography, head on over to Montauk's jetties and enjoy. One word of caution, stay away from the area between the jetties (the channel entrance) as boat traffic tends to be high, and watch out for fisherman on both sides of the jetties as they may inadvertently hook you while casting and retrieving. Always displaying a dive flag to alert fisherman is a good way to avoid contact.
Ko' Olina Resort on 3/5/2002
Mar 5, 2002, 12:00 AM
This site is well worth exploring, mainly for scuba divers. Snorkelers will find the poor visibility close to shore frustrating. Divers must swim out 200 yards before finding clear water worth exploring. Max depth is around 25 feet. One good thing about this site is the health of the reef. There are many reef fish, eels, lobsters, and shells, especially the rare Tiger Cowry. I haven't found any over five inches, but plenty of 4.5s. Please Leave the live ones behind. There is also an airplane engine near the shoreline in about 15 feet of water. Its propellers are bent backward to suggest an impact with the water...1941 perhaps. See if you can find it. I like this site because its a good work out (swimming far offshore) and the sea life is great. I caught a 5 pound spiny here one day in the daytime. Watch out for waves as the rocky shoreline makes it difficult to enter and exit. Best time to dive is during periods of calmness, usually during the winter when swells are predominantly from the north. Check out the many depressions, trenches, and large coral heads, some are five feet tall and 10 feet wide.
Kea'au Beach on 1/23/2002
Keaau Beach Park is another excellent dive site located off the beaten path. Despite the difficult entry and exit, this site is unmatched for night diving. Giant parrotfish or "Uhu" are abundant. Their vibrant colors and uncommonly large size make this dive a must for the photographer. About 400 meters from shore there is a large drop-off known as "Keaau Corner." You can swim to the drop-off, but it is long and may prove tiring. Near the drop-off there is a large Canyon that leads back into the reef. At night you may suspect you are entering a cave, but it is actually a huge archway. Many large pelagic fish venture close to shore and divers may spot a school of amberjacks or the occasional and beautiful Rainbow Runner. Count off the road lights to mark your exit location before making your descent.
Makua Beach on 1/23/2002
Makua Beach, also known as Pray for Sex Beach by local divers, is off the beaten path. The drive out to the site is pretty long, but well worth your time. You can either enter by the sandy strip of beach or by performing a giant stride from a triangular shaped outcropping located to the left of the beach. The surrounding reef is punctuated with several large trenches, all leading into deeper water. The area is also marked with many small caves and overhangs, all great hiding spots for eels, turtles, lobsters, crabs, and small reef fishes. During the winter months and when surf conditions permit, you may hear the sound of Humpback Whales communicating in the distance. The sound at times becomes so clear you get the feeling that the whales are right next to you. The best time to dive is during high tide and preferably during the morning hours when wind is usually calmer. Water visibility is normally greater than 75 feet. Leave a shore watch to protect your valuables.