There's a hidden and diverse blue world just off the busy streets and below the busy waves of Waikiki. There, divers will discover an A-list of wrecks within sight of Waikiki: the YO-257, the Sea Tiger and a World War II Corsair.
The YO-257 is a fuel oil barge covered with hydroids and sponges, serving as a magnet for both marine life and tourists. Because of this, the wreck is part of the Atlantis submarine tour. When diving the YO-257, don't be surprised if you become part of the undersea attraction.
The nearby Sea Tiger once plied the sea as a Korean fishing vessel; it now serves a higher purpose as an artificial reef. It has loads of sea turtles and colorful tropicals and is a favorite site for visiting dolphins.
A World War II-era Corsair, which ran out of fuel in 1946 and now sits on the sand at 107 feet. It is the only wreck visited by divers in Hawaii that was not intentionally sunk.
Travel up the west side to Waianae Boat Harbor and hook up with PADI 5-Star CDC Ocean Concepts Scuba to dive Oahu's big dog, the Mahi. This 165-foot research ship has been gathering a plethora of marine life since 1982. It sits upright on the sand in about 95 feet of water; because it's an exposed site, you can expect a little current on most dives. Keep an eye out for a squadron of spotted eagles, some with tails 10 feet long they're known to hover over the deck and around the mast at 50 feet. A group of younger and smaller rays often circles over the sandy bottom. The center of the ship has collapsed, but that doesn't matter all the life gathers around the outside, anyway.
For a gathering of a different sort, head to the as-yet-undiscovered wet and windward east side to ATV with local kids or hike, swim or pig hunt (for real) at Kahana Valley State Park. Nearby, the cone-shaped outcropping of lava off Kualoa Point, known as Chinaman's Hat, makes a great photo opportunity. The best perspective is from the island itself. Walk over during low tide or paddle over in a kayak. Pack a picnic and seek out the usually deserted beach in a secluded cove, where you'll find relaxation and plenty of rays.
The USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor spans the midsection of the sunken battleship, itself the tomb of more than half the 2,390 casualties of the December 7, 1941, surprise attack by the Japanese on the Pacific Fleet.
1 The YO-257
2 The Sea Tiger
3 The Corsair wreck
4 The Mahi
5 The San Pedro