Kauai is known for its spectacular sights on land that include brilliant gardens and cascading falls, but there is no shortage when it comes to magnificent underwater sights that can be explored by beginning and experienced scuba divers alike.
Just a few of the wonders found in the warm waters of the Garden Isle include reef creatures, arches, pinnacles, caverns and an abundance of tropical fish, with more than 25% of the species occurring nowhere else on the entire planet. You’ll also likely encounter Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, prolific here as their main food source, algae, is plentiful in the area with Kauai being one of the wettest places in the world.
Most dive operators offer introductory dives for beginners who are not certified. The maximum depth that non-certified divers are allowed to dive is 40 feet, with no more than four non-certified divers for each instructor.
You can get certified while you’re on vacation in Kauai, but you may want to do all of the pool work in addition to learning basic skills, reading the PADI, taking quizzes and tests, etc. at home first so that when you arrive, all you need is your open water dives to complete the certification. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of your precious vacation time studying.
If you’re working through the PADI Open Water Diver course online, once you’ve completed all of the segments you can just print the eLearning record and bring it in to Seasport Divers in Koloa, starting your underwater adventure there.
Diving with Seasport Divers
Seasport Divers offers two boat trips off Kauai’s South Shore every day of the year. Boat dives are led by highly trained, experienced guides who take small groups of a maximum of seven certified divers per guide on guided tours. High quality equipment rentals and dive computers are used for all certified divers who are diving from the boat with a video of each dive shot during the excursion.
Morning trips, catered to more experienced divers, meet at 7:30 a.m. in the Poipu shop. These are meant for divers who are totally comfortable in the water and with diving. The afternoon trips meet at 12:45 p.m., also at the Poipu shop, and are for new divers, those who aren’t certified, or divers who are a bit rusty. The pace is slower and the dive sites are more shallow.
One of the popular dive sites here includes Sheraton Caverns which is considered a must for Kauai divers with its ancient lava tubes made up of beautiful archways and overhangs as the home of many Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles as well as large whitemouth moray eels, conger eels and a wide variety of Hawaiian reef fish. Divers also are treated to Brennecke’s Ledge, a lava shelf that extends for several miles parallel to the South Shore with large branches of black coral where you’ll find all types of marine life, including turtles, cowry, octopus as well as an abundance of tropical fish and even a resident white tip reef shark.
Shore diving tours are also available from Koloa Landing which was voted one of the best shore dives throughout the Pacific by Scuba Diving magazine. The site features lots of interesting coral formations and nearly every fish that can be found on a Hawaii fish cart. Hire an experienced dive guide for a tour of Koloa Landing, or get a briefing on the site as well as equipment rentals at the Seasport Divers Poipu shop.