View Full Version : Looking for advice for planning a trip to Hawai'i
July 19th, 2012, 04:27 PM
I am an intermediate diver (certified for about 4 years, ~120 dives) and I am planning on heading to hawai'i for 7-10 days this September for diving and a bit of hiking if possible. I am mainly interested in photographing crustaceans and cephalopods, so things like the seven eleven crab, tufted spiny lobster, harlequin shrimp and Hawaiian bobtail squid are the sorts of animals I am looking to find. We are just starting to plan the trip so I figured I would ask the forum for the best place to see lots of these critters and if there are any particularly good spots to stay or charters for them. Also, I am looking for places with maximum depths within 60 feet as my girlfriend does not have an advanced certification. I realize many inverts prefer to come out at night, so I will likely do some night diving with another buddy in the evening. So any tips would be immensely helpful.
July 20th, 2012, 12:58 PM
I think you can't go wrong night shore diving on either Maui or the Big Island. Lots of accessible reef on the leeward sides of the island....... this should allow you to maximize your bottom time critter hunting. After 7000 dives in Hawaii I'm still looking for my Bobtail Squid : (
July 20th, 2012, 04:08 PM
They see Seven Elevens and Harlequin Shrimp off Kona. Big Island Divers (http://www.bigislanddivers.com/bigstuff.html) has a Harlequin on their website so might be a good starting point.
This doesn't really help but I think there's Bobtail Squid at the Waikiki Aquarium. :D
July 21st, 2012, 02:53 AM
Speaking only as an Oahuan:
During the day, 7-11 crabs hunker deep into reef holes and are very hard to spot. (In the past week, the eastern beaches have been blanketed by thousands and thousands of what's believed to be larval swimming-stage 7-11 crabs; little purplish pea-sized crabs with tiny tails)
Spiny lobsters (including the small Hawaiian red lobster) and slipper lobsters have pretty much been wiped out; at least from accessible shores. You might get a break by night diving at the farthest beaches of the Waianae Coast (Kea'au and Makua) but it's a dicey neighborhood and you really should have experience night diving through rocky shores and surf. It's possible that there may be a straggler in the deeper reaches of the cavern at the far northern point outside of Shark's Cove.
Harlequins are even tougher to find. Look for their primary food, Linkia stars, and you might get lucky. I used to find them at Shark's Cove along the northern edges but it's been years since the last one. Come to think of it, it's been awhile since seeing a Linkia.
For bobtails, you might try wading along in the shallows from Kahala to Hawaii Kai at night with a lamp or flashlight. I'm pretty sure these are what we used to see there while torching, especially in the occasional sandy patches at Wailupe Park, across from the fire station. Cute little things about 3cm long....
I've seen cuttlefish in the lagoon at Magic Island. Just last week, I swam through a half-dozen little ink blobs; didn't see the owners tho'. Although probably not taxonomically correct, what I call "arrow squids" I've seen in the shallower areas of Shark's Cove; more toward the side opposite from where the unwashed masses ;) do their entry and exit. Super cool to see.
Octos are fairly common. Just look for fresh piles of shells or overturned rocks in front of a hole. The main trick is to be still and wait for them to reveal themselves by moving.
In case you're into sharks, there's a modest chance of spying some reef whitetips taking their daytime siesta inside the reef at Hanauma Bay. Adjacent and to the right of the main cable channel, just before the warning buoys, is a 10ft deep area called "Sandman's Patch". On the seaward side is a large formation separated from the rest of the reef. It's hollow underneath and I've seen up to 3 whitetips (about a meter+ long each) crowded in there; 2 is more usual. There's another smaller 1-shark hollow in the side of the reef there but its location is a bit hard to describe. I'm sure the volunteer docents at the beach kiosk know this stuff.
July 21st, 2012, 09:14 AM
Honestly, I think it's impossible to pick where to go based on wanting to see specific creatures...except in the case of Mantas, where the Big Island is pretty much a guarantee. Creatures seen at dive sites constantly changes so what someone sees today could be completely absent tomorrow.
You're better off picking which island based on the kind of diving you want to do and what you're interested in doing topside. For instance, if you're interested in diving wrecks and an active night life, go to Oahu. If you want to dive multiple islands, maybe see Hammerheads and love gorgeous beaches with a more laid back vibe, go to Maui. If you can't wait to dive with Mantas or do a blackwater dive and want to experience a live volcano, go to the Big Island.
August 8th, 2012, 02:37 AM
Just dove Oahu for 16 days. Day Octopus (rusty red in colour) can be found off Shark's cove (swim out past dive flag and edge of rocks and swim left for more boulder type terrain OR swim past to right and past boulder terrain in to a rocky reef setting).
Electric Beach is really good for nudibranchs, found 5 varieties in 3 dives. This is where I found green linckia star and spotted linckia star, also a 6" Rusty Guard Crab folded into a white coral head, not to forget the 5" Humpback Cowry .... also variety of hermit crabs and of course LOTS of fish varieties. :)
Not far is "Firehouse" - follow sandy path behind the firehouse and down to the lava landing (follow the narrow sand path) this requires patience and a little perseverance for entry (ask folks who are hanging out where the divers enter from and they are glad to send you in the right direction.... not immediately obvious but not as awkward as it looks... just slow and gently .... its fine). Lots of fish in the immediate rock/boulder reef and then head right into a canyon.