With endemic marine species and arguably two of the most bucket-list worthy dive sites (See Nos. 1 and 2 below) around, the Big Island of Hawaii has earned scuba divers’ admiration for obvious reasons. When planning your next getaway to the Big Island make sure these dive sites are at the top of your list!
1 ) Pelagic Magic
About 3 miles offshore, divers will hang off 40- to 50-foot lines suspended above depths of 3,000-5,000 feet, surrounded by nothing but darkness and tiny microscopic pelagic critters. This is one dive you have to see to believe.
2 ) Manta Ray Night Dive
The holy grail of night dives, that is, if you fancy being swarmed by pelagic mantas.
3 ) Golden Arches
This site’s staple “arches” make for a great photo opportunity. Colorful reef fish, moray eels, whitetip reef sharks and sometimes even Commerson’s frogfish are known to frequent this reef site. Like most Hawaiian dive sites, there’s always the chance a pod of spinner dolphins might swim by.
4 ) Naia
Its name means dolphin in Hawaii, so one can only hope to catch a pod of Hawaiian spinner dolphins cruising by at this site. What you will more likely see are yellow tangs, butterflyfish and rare species like the stonefish and frogfish who also call this site home.
5 ) Old Airport
This dive site is accessible by shore, and even the snorkelers in your group can enjoy the beauty waiting for you below. You can expect to find hard corals and smaller critters like nudibranchs and octopuses.
6 ) Devil’s Doorway
This sloping reef is covered in hard corals, and you can expect to see schooling raccoon butterflyfish and Moorish idols.
7 ) Au Au Crater
This submerged volcano crater is a steep wall dive that showcases the unique underwater topography of the Hawaiian Islands. With depths ranging from 30 to 200 feet, it’s possible to spot some of the larger pelagics such as oceanic whitetip sharks and hammerhead sharks.
8 ) Turtle Pinnacle
This site is known for good viz and lots of turtles. It’s an actual turtle cleaning station, but schooling barracuda have been known to frequent this area as well.
Tons of underwater critters can be spotted at this site — such as pufferfish and reef sharks — but the main attraction is the lava tube exit. This underwater lava cavern features a much wider entrance than exit so after you’re done exploring you can time your exit with the surge to get “sucked” out of the cavern.
10 ) Pentagon
This shallow dive site features a cavern network and a variety of fish life. This site can also be enjoyed by snorkelers, but access is limited to boat divers only.