Scuba Diving Oahu when you have limited time can be daunting. The tropical paradise is home to some of the best scuba diving in Hawaii. There are almost too many great sites to choose from, so which are the best dive sites? Whether you are planning on scuba diving Oahu or just scuba diving Honolulu, read on to find out which five dive sites you should not miss out on!
The Wreck of the YO-257
The wreck of the YO-257 is a regular on the list of top U.S. wrecks to scuba dive. Although the wreck is relatively recent, having been sunk in 1989 by Atlantis Submarines Hawaii, to provide a sightseeing point for its passengers. Now more than 30 years later, the 175ft/53mvessel is a colossal artificial reef teeming with life.
The wreck lies in 100ft/30m of water, although a typical dive is conducted around 85ft/25m. while the options of penetrating the wreck are limited, there is some excellent swim-throughs courtesy of large cut-outs on both sides of the ship. Gliding through one of the most beautiful swim-throughs, you will find the inside of the wreck packed with blue octocoral suspended from the ceiling and growing on the walls. The wreck is also covered with other corals and sponges.
Two things to look out for when scuba diving the YO-257 are green sea turtles that seem to have taken a liking to the wreck and are regular visitors. Secondly, if you hear an engine underwater, keep an eye out for one of the local visiting submarines. Encountering a submarine while diving is a rare enough event in itself.
The Sea Tiger Wreck
Another wreck sunk by a submarine company to give its passengers something to look at, the Sea Tiger is another famous wreck that lies outside Honolulu and is not to be missed when scuba diving Honolulu.
The Sea Tiger lies upright on the bottom at a depth of 120ft/36m. Although a typical scuba dive is conducted at a depth of 80-100ft/24-30m, since its sinking, the ship has been colonized by a wide range of marine life, including nudibranchs which can be found in numbers, and Eagle rays which regularly spend their time circling the wreck.
Marine life is not everything the Sea Tiger has to offer. The wreck is large, with some excellent opportunities for penetration and swim-throughs. Divers can glide through the bridge, cargo hold, and midship. Although there are some options for deeper penetration, it is not recommended that you try them without the appropriate training.
Turtle Canyon is one of the more famous dive sites when scuba diving Oahu. If you are scuba diving in Honolulu, the site is a short boat ride away and is home to a busy turtle cleaning station. The site is an ideal dive for every level of diver with a depth between 5-15m/15-50ft. Being home to a turtle cleaning station, encounters are a regular occurrence. The turtles at the turtle canyon are used to divers and are not shy. This makes it a perfect site for photographers to take photos of turtles.
There is more to turtle canyon than just turtles, though. With lots of nooks and crannies dotted about, there are plenty of options to encounter a wide range of critters, as well as octopuses, eels, and sleeping whitetip reef sharks. It is well worth your while to bring along a dive light to explore all these crevasses.
If you mention the U.S.S. Nashua, when scuba diving Oahu, don’t be surprised if you get a blank quizzical look. The wreck is far better known locally as the Navy Tug. Sunk in 2012, the wreck lies just outside Hickam Harbour. The wreck is 109ft/33m long and lies at a convenient depth of 65ft/19m. Due to its shallow depth and now resident population of eels and octopuses, the wreck has become a popular dive site
The wreck lies upright on cement blocks, allowing divers to have a good look around and explore. While the wreck is the centerpiece of the show, you should always keep an eye out in the distance when diving the U.S.S. Nashua. You can regularly catch glimpses of sandbar sharks in the distance and grey reef sharks that dart in rapidly to strike at their prey. Those more fortunate may also encounter the occasional manta ray passing by on its travels.
Scuba Diving Oahu for Advanced Divers: The Vought F4U Corsair
Arguably the most famous wreck, the Vought F4U Corsair, has been underwater since 1946 when the pilot had to ditch in the ocean due to engine issues during an exercise. The wreck lies in deeper water, resting on the sandy seabed at around 35m/115ft, making it only available to advanced divers with deep diving experience.
For a wreck that is nearly over 70 years old, it is in remarkably good condition. The propeller is upright, standing to attention (albeit slightly bent), making for an excellent photo opportunity. The rest of the wreck is relatively intact, and you can clearly see into the cockpit, where you will find the pilot’s seat, control stick, rudder pedals, all relatively intact, and even some of the gauges still have glass in them. The cockpit is so accessible that divers can squeeze themselves into it and sit in the pilot seas, although you may find it already occupied by a large moray that seems to like it there.
Although the depth of the site restricts the bottom time, there is more to the site than the wreck. The sand around the wreck is teaming with garden eels, and quite often, you can see Galapagos sharks hanging around the wreck. If you have the qualifications and will be scuba diving in Oahu, ensure you take the time to dive the Corsair wreck; you won’t regret it.
Brought To You By
Our Top Dive Sites of the World guide is brought to you by Suunto. We recommend that you use a Suunto Dive Computer when scuba diving or freediving at one of these dive sites. Suunto is the world’s leading dive computer designer and manufacturer providing diving instruments for recreational, technical, and freediving. You can find out more at Suunto.com.