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Kauai - Diving Advice


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#1 sfsalsero

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:07 PM

Hello:

Heading to Kauai in a couple of weeks. I've read some wetpixel recommendations from previous years but not much in terms of detailed advice on locations to dive and dive operators that offer the best experience for a UW photographer.

  • Which dive operator(s) do you recommend? Specifically no cattle boat operators, wanting to maximize bottom time without depending on lesser skilled divers, and very knowledgeable crew that can point out unique photo opportunities?
  • I plan on diving Niihau for a 3-tank dive. Anyone with reviews on dive operators and favorite experiences to share on this dive adventure?
  • Any other site recommendations for great wide-angle shooting (I don't plan on doing much macro for this trip)? I'm looking for the main posers the island has to offer - sharks, turtles, monk seals, and other unique local sea creatures.
Thanks in advance for your feedback,

Sam

#2 uwxplorer

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:44 PM

I was there for a week last October. At that time of the year, only the South Coast was diveable. It may be different this time of the year.
Niihau was only offered by Bubbles Below so that's the operator we used. Compared to the boats I am used to here, theirs was a rather rudimentary 6 pack, but it did the job (with a really rough ride back though, due to sea conditions :-). Very friendly crew. They won't take beginner divers there, I think. We did a Napali trip with them a few days later. Great for the sights, good diving.
We did another day at Koloa landing on our own, renting tanks from the local Fathom 5, and that was a real treat with plenty of turtles and fish. Easy site, well protected from surf but little parking, so the recommendation is to get there early or be ready to walk. We came early. There is no facility though.

There is not that much macro to be shot anyway, as far as I can tell, being hard corals everywhere. Viz was stupendous and in this very short trip, we saw Monk Seal (Niihau), White Tip Sharks, Reef sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, etc.,, and turtles.
HTH.
Have a fun trip.

#3 Steve Douglas

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 04:41 PM

Definitely take a boat to Niihau, it is well worth the long trip. The monk seals posed perfectly each time and there was a great drop off as well. My wife saw her first white tip there; she also dropped her weights on my head. It's always something.
Steve
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#4 sfsalsero

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:15 PM

Definitely take a boat to Niihau, it is well worth the long trip. The monk seals posed perfectly each time and there was a great drop off as well. My wife saw her first white tip there; she also dropped her weights on my head. It's always something.
Steve


Good thing it wasn't on the camera! :-) Thank you, yes, I am booked for that trip for certain! I've since learned you really dive the island reefs once and the other two dives are to Lehua rock normally. Not that I'm complaining and nor do I know the geography of the reef system with respect to the distance Lehua rock is to Niihau but I can imagine a rarely explored reef system like that would be a gem of a place to photograph.

Sam

#5 sfsalsero

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:21 PM

I was there for a week last October. At that time of the year, only the South Coast was diveable. It may be different this time of the year.
Niihau was only offered by Bubbles Below so that's the operator we used. Compared to the boats I am used to here, theirs was a rather rudimentary 6 pack, but it did the job (with a really rough ride back though, due to sea conditions :-). Very friendly crew. They won't take beginner divers there, I think. We did a Napali trip with them a few days later. Great for the sights, good diving.
We did another day at Koloa landing on our own, renting tanks from the local Fathom 5, and that was a real treat with plenty of turtles and fish. Easy site, well protected from surf but little parking, so the recommendation is to get there early or be ready to walk. We came early. There is no facility though.

There is not that much macro to be shot anyway, as far as I can tell, being hard corals everywhere. Viz was stupendous and in this very short trip, we saw Monk Seal (Niihau), White Tip Sharks, Reef sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, etc.,, and turtles.
HTH.
Have a fun trip.


Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am definitely taking a trip out to Niihau. I will check out Koloa Landing also, as I plan on taking advantage of the shore diving. Several recommendations have been given to me to check out Tunnels and to go with a guide who can optimize my experience in finding the best the site has to offer.

Thanks again,

Sam