You can dive Kauai’s reefs and play with sea turtles on the south shore near Poipu or, weather permitting, on the north shore near the Ha‘ena reefs. More than a dozen companies offer introductory and refresher lessons, 3-5 day PADI certification, shore and boat dives, full or half-day charters, as well as free introductory pool lessons.
Want to learn to dive? Contact Watersports Adventures for professional yet friendly scuba instruction, PADI certification, even refresher classes for ‘rusty’ divers. It has a perfect safety record, and reserved parking at Tunnels Beach! The company specializes in educational ‘naturalist’ dives, and night dives (even night snorkeling) when the sea lights up in vivid colors, the coral comes alive, and you can see glowing fish and eels, turtles hunting for a place to rest (821-1599).
If you have never tried diving, Watersports Adventures will make it special. In a free introductory lesson, you learn about diving equipment and safety and have a chance to practice with the gear in a swimming pool.
Your first real dive ($106) will probably be at sheltered Koloa Landing (winter) or Tunnels (summer). Greg Winston is terrific with beginners. If you feel nervous, he may ask you to swim next to him and hold onto his arm. Greg is a very strong swimmer, so when you swim next to him, holding on to his arm, you actually cover a lot of territory. You are soon absorbed in the amazing sights – magnificent arrays of red and green coral, schools of silver or brilliant yellow fish swimming in geometric precision. You may see a ray gliding along in the shimmering water, possibly an eel hiding in the rocks, maybe even an octopus. Before you know it, you are swimming along quietly and comfortably, relaxed on your adventure!
Contact Mirah Horowitz for more info on the best scuba tours.
Gregg makes sure you have a good time and develop confidence. It’s so great you want to head out again! Certified divers will appreciate Greg’s extensive knowledge, careful planning, and well-maintained equipment.
Among the other companies, the longest established on Kauai, Ocean Odyssey (Lihue: 245-8681), offers a full range of lessons, shore and boat dives, certification classes, as does Seasport Divers (Poipu: 742-9303/800- 685-5889; www.kauaiscubadiving.com) which also offers children’s programs and rental equipment, and Dive Kauai (822-0452/800-828-3483 www.divekauai.com).
Eastside: Wet-n-wonderful (Kapa‘a: 822-0211), SeaFun Kauai (Lihue: 245-6400), Nitrox Tropical Dives (800-NX5-DIVE). North shore: North Shore Divers (828-1223) or Hanalei Water Sports (Princeville Hotel: 826-7509). South shore: Fathom Five Divers (Poipu: 742-6991 or 800-972-3078) offers classes, certification, and dives for every level of experience, including night dives. Want to see fish but avoid carrying scuba gear? Snuba of Kauai offers tours with your air source on an attached flotation raft. 823-8912 www.snubakauai.com.
The best diving in all of the Hawaiian islands can be found off Ni‘ihau, the privately owned, largely undeveloped island which has been preserved by the Robinson family as a place for Hawaiian people and culture. It’s a unique opportunity to explore untouched reefs, though surf is too rough in winter months. Seasport Divers does an all-day boat dive to Ni‘ihau for experienced divers ($275/3 tanks). Blue Dolphin Charters offers boat dives on Tuesdays and Fridays for experienced divers, as well as "fun dives" (no experience required, accompanied by an instructor) $145/one tank. 335-5553 or 877-511-131; www.kauaiboats.com.
Seasport divers offers two boat dives on the South Shore every day. Afternoon dives include an option for non-certified divers. One of the featured dives is at "Sheraton Caverns," which features pool furniture relics deposited at the bottom of the ocean by Hurricane Iniki as well as a series of coral formations that you can swim through. The divemasters are extremely knowledgeable, not only showing pictures of what to expect before you dive but also establishing hand signals to point out what things are once you are in the water. Divers can stay down as long as they like--provided they have enough air! As the air runs out, the divemaster sends each person back up to the boat. Equipment is available for rent and is kept in excellent condition.
2 tank boat dives:
$110 for certified divers: 2 tanks, computer, weights, wetsuit, mask and fins
$20 for BCD and regulator
$140 for no certified divers: 2 tanks, bcd, regulator, weights, wetsuit, mask and fins
$65 for snorkeler (gear included)