Few people can disagree that Hawaii boasts one of the top diving destinations in the world. It's amazingly diverse ecosystems contain much marine life that can be found nowhere else in the world. Add to that, warm waters, volcanoes and tropical rain forests, well, you have found a heaven on earth. One of my diving disappointments, not that I have many, is that so many dive sites seem to blend together with similar topography, coral life and access.
Now Hawaii, especially the Kohala Coast on the Big Island is a scuba divers dream and boasts an index of unique dive sites. From walls, drop offs, and drifts, to warm shallow macro enthusiast dives.
Here is a list of a few dive sites located on the Kohala coast off the Big Island provided by one of our Hawaii Dive Centers.
South Kohala - Big Island Hawaii Sites
Puako cleaning station - 25-75 feet - The almost always active turtle cleaning station. On calm days this can be visited from shore. Give the turtles some space and respect as though you are visiting them at the spa. Yellow tangs, damsels and wrasses can be seen here too, picking parasites from their flippered friends!
Garden Eels - One of the shallowest spots you can see rows of garden eels swaying like noodles in the current at about 65-75 feet. Beyond that the terrain is fascinating with swim threws, moray eels, turtles and more!
Puako Point - 10-100 feet - It really is out on a point: The mooring is set on a finger that almost comes to the surface and has swim threws below. A short swim out and the reef drops away to a steep ledge that will keep you looking at your gauges as you descend to the abyss. Great spot to see rays and octopus.
Turtle Mound - 15-60 feet - Here is another active turtle cleaning station with huge palani schools as well as lava tubes galore. Don’t be surprised if your gauge never goes beyond 40’: Most of the good stuff is shallow here!
North Kohala, Big Island Hawaii Dive Sites
Inside Crystal Cove - 20-40 feet - With a black sand bottom that hosts isolated coral heads this is a haven for critters, a great site for the beginner diver or for those who love macro life and coral gardens.
Outside Crystal Cove - 40-90 feet ~ The deeper end of Crystal cove holds tall pinnacles and islands of coral surrounded by sand. It is also an invertebrate wonderland, and there is a good chance at seeing our resident pod of spinner dolphins or the occasional eagle or manta ray.
The Lava Dome - 30-90 feet - The most unique coral head on the coast! Standing about 30’ high the lava dome is a volcanic rock covered in plate and knob coral. It is an amazing sight to see a coral head that is hundreds of years old. Beyond the dome, coral fingers stretch out to a ledge we call Pink Floyd. This is where schooling fish like to congregate, blue dragon nudibranchs are common, and the big guys often cruise by.
Frog Rock - 20-70 feet - Lava tubes are a big feature here with lots of local critters inside. There are also nice coral fingers and a ton of juvenile fish.
Big Sandies - 15-70 feet - This is an ocean swimming pool! White sand rivers at only twenty feet are surrounded by healthy coral and good fish variety: Great for newbies! The more advanced divers can cruise out to the finger that leads to a wall where fish schools peruse and octopus, shells and other invertebrates dwell.
Ulua Cave - 25-90 feet - Ulua features a large swim thru home to our very own sponge crab (Bob), Spanish dancer nudibanches and their egg sacs, and frog fish. Further from the boat the reef drops making a nice vantage to see bigger things cruise by (Dolphins, rays, whales and monk seals have all been seen here) great night dive too!
Horseshoe Reef - 20-60 feet - As the name implies, this site is formed by coral reef that is shaped into a horseshoe with ledges and lava tubes below. Resident white tip reef sharks like to snooze under the ledges in the day time. Check out our favorite swim through “the kitchen sink”: You will see how it got its name when you go down the drain.
Black Point Caves - 30-70 feet - A healthy ledge of coral that leads to lava tubes and ledges. There is a commonly seen resident white tip reef shark here and plentiful octopi abound!
Black Point - 40-90 feet - Prone to strong currents, the visibility is always astounding! An advanced site with deep drops and intense fish life, the schooling pyramid butterflies are a photographers dream come true!!
Also, be sure to check out our Divers Forum, Special Offers section and our Dive Centers and Resorts section on the website.