Jeff Dowdy's Dive Log
Fire House on 9/19/2008
One of my favorites on the island. From the entry, which is similar to the neighboring Shark's Cove with some shallow rocks to navigate within a small cove to protect you from small surf, head out to the edge of the lava formation on the right then head to 265 degs about 200ft over smaller rocks and sand until you come across a wall, follow it to a large lava tube which is actually part of Three Tables. You can use Three Tables as an alternate entry and exit to reach the other way, but it takes longer to get to the cave. You can then follow the point around to another swim through which sometimes houses some turtles. I have seen small schools of various fish, sometimes eagle rays, and some eels, but the caves are the most interesting thing on this site also named Cathedrals by local divers. Visibility is good in the summer and there is little or no current from May to September. Winter diving here is not recommended aside from freakish calm days, some waves approach 20+ feet in the winter. Visibility is generally 30ft or better. The max depth is about 45 feet, you could go deeper but it's pretty much nothing much to see there. Also this site is generally less used by dive operations and tourists because of a longer walk from Shark's Cove parking and three tables. Facilities are generally located 300 feet away in neighboring Shark's Cove or there is a bathroom only a shorter distance on the other side of the firehouse-- follow the traditional drum music in the community center on the weekends.
Three Tables Beach on 9/19/2008
This is my favorite site. Entry is easy with a sandy beach that drops to a comfortable depth to finish gearing up. You can go in virtually any direction and see something cool. Swim-throughs, turtles, white-tip reef sharks, large fish, eels, octopus, and several rays that was on one dive! My favorite heading is 250deg off of the jetty to the right of the site. Some dive operations also use this spot as a boat dive, as it is a bit of a surface swim (about 200ft). Head out to the edge of a fairly flat reef which has a mooring site toward the edge, and there is a drop off from 25ft to about 40ft which is an optimal place to drop if you don't get tired of the surface swim and jump the gun. Follow the same heading after that and you will run into another sizable wall which curves slightly to the right. When you come to an intersection of some rock formations follow that just to the right, there is a family of white-tip reef sharks who hang out under the ledge (2-3ft long). Backtracking to the intersection, if you go to the other side of the rock formation, there are a few others which hang out on the back side. As you cross the intersection, there is a swim through to the left, and you can choose to follow that into another canyon and more swim throughs. From Sept to May there is a current and likely to be high surf so I would not recommend diving this in the winter. The max depth is about 50ft and vis is usually 40+ft. If you aren't into long surface swims, you can also head to 50 deg off the third formation on the right and end up around the cave off of the adjacent Firehouse dive site. There are also many things in between. Snorkeling around the tables is fun with the depth upwards of 15ft. The beach is a nice spot for non-diving people. Dive flags should be used here as the police can fine you and there are fishing boats and dive boats which visit fairly close to shore.
Keawalo Pipe on 9/19/2008
The site has good facilities and easy entry (beware of boat traffic since Kewalo Marina is co-located) into the boat channel. High surf can make entry and the long surface swim difficult and several dive operations use this as a boat dive especially at night which adds obvious hazards. Night diving is a hit and miss sometimes there are things to see others nothing special shows up. Average depth is about 30-40ft. The long pipe which ends a few hundred feet offshore provides occasional cover for many fish and a few octopus. There are several interesting reefs East of the pipe with some turtles (Horseshoe Reef) and another one a short distance to the West. Parking is fairly close as long as you get there early. Visibility gets better as you move away from the harbor unless heavy surf and rain stirs up the bottom.