Oahu is Hawaii's famous melting pot. World-renowned Waikiki Beach needs no introduction; likewise Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline on its famous North Shore, Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona, Dole pineapples, pure cane sugar and Diamond Head. All are part of our national consciousness. It is also the place bubble-blowers come for a wide variety of interesting wreck dives, all rife with thick concentrations of marine life. The most famous of the wrecks, the Mahi, sets a standard rarely matched elsewhere, but it typifies the kind of experience you can expect off Oahu. Here, squadrons of eagle rays fly in formation around the mast and over the sand. A moray eel, sitting in what was the cable layer's pulpit, greets every diver who comes to visit, as does one of the world's largest pufferfish. Masses of bluestripe snapper often obscure the wreck. Like most wrecks sitting on the sand, it has become a magnet for marine life.
But Oahu doesn't stop with its wide variety of manmade objects. If you want to see nearly every creature, rare and common, endemic (about 40 percent of all fish in Hawaii) and nonendemic, you need visit only one place, Hanauma Bay. This lovely caldera provides a safe haven from the surf and swell, and the fish literally eat out of your hand. The main dive sites stretch from the southeast point west off Waikiki and along the Waianae coast. Besides wrecks, you'll find spectacular volcanic caverns and formations that harbor stonefish, bigeyes, sharks and turtles, as well as a fun sharky site called the Electric Plant. Another great bet for sharks is a new cage snorkel off the North Shore that brings the toothy fellas in by the dozen.
Top Dive Sites: Oahu
Wreck of the Mahi
Wreck of the YO-257
Wreck of the Corsair
Outside Reef, Hanauma Bay
The Land of Oz
North Shore Shark Cage (snorkel)