Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Shark's Cove is an awesome local spot with a lot to offer depending on the mood you are in. You can make it a relaxing day and wade in the tidepools or work on your tan on the beach. For those feeling more adventurous, you can jump off some of the rocks, snorkel the reef or even scuba dive through caves formed by lava. After you get your fill of the cove, simply walk across the street and get a meal at one of the delicious food trucks. It's a great way to spend a day on Oahu.
At 9pm on Friday, my friend Colin asks me if I wanted to go shore diving the next morning at Shark's Cove. Thanks for the short notice Colin! It had been a bit since I'd been diving and I had never actually done a shore dive on my own before. Typically I do boat charters with some of the local shops (you can read about these here). But I was ready for a new, more autonomous diving adventure. On to the North Shore!
After an inefficient morning, Colin, and our friend Matt, and I finally made it to Shark's Cove by 11am (just 2 hours after our intended arrival time). This is the scene we were greeted with, totally packed. Nowadays, it's almost impossible to come here without crowds. Unfortunately, that means parking is a bit of a pain. Really the only way to deal with it is to be patient or get here early.
Our plan was to make this a two tank shore dive. The best point of entry is this red boxed in cove (located to the right of the above picture). This is also the area where most people snorkel. This area isn't perfect, there are a lot of rocks and sometimes some small waves. But overall, it isn't too difficult of an entry. I recommend entering around the yellow circle. Our plan was to head left out of the cove for our first dive and right on our second dive. Left is a little deeper (Up to 40 feet) and is known for more marine life. Right is shallower with less marine life, but is home to spectacular swim throughs created by old lava flows.
Obligatory selfie before we set off. Think we will survive our first shore dive?
So far so good.
I'm sorry you will have to come back, we have a very important underwater business meeting.
All hail Poseidon!
Goofy pictures aside, you do have the potential to see some great sea critters on this dive. Here we have a monk seal. I've seen a few of these guys on land, but never underwater. It was cool to see them so peacefully sleeping. This guy actually looked like he was smiling while he was asleep. I'm with you buddy, sleeping is the best part of my day too!
And it wouldn't be an Oahu dive without seeing at least one honu (turtle). Even though seeing these creatures is commonplace, the way they move through the water, so slowly but with such grace, is so pleasant to watch.
After a long surface interval that included some food truck tacos, we hopped back in the water for dive number 2. This time we would head right out of the cove to explore the "caves." These aren't really caves in your traditional sense, but more swim throughs. They were formed from lava flow back in the days when Oahu was an active volcano.
And they are beautiful. Despite not being "cave diver certified"(that's a thing right?), we had no trouble navigating through these caves. They are plenty big, so most won't feel claustrophobic. The bottom is also mainly rock, so there's little risk of messing up your visibility. Our crew had a great time as we looped through all the different tubes.
There's something so magical about the way the light shines into the caves 30 feet below the ocean surface.
My favorite picture of the day, however, was not of the caves or the monk seal, but this. I have no idea what it was, but the design coupled with the lighting was so mesmerizing.
One last shot of the caves before we surface and continue on with our day. An awesome first shore dive, and an awesome way to spend a Saturday!
Check out my video of this beautiful dive!
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Also Check Out:
- Shorediving.com reviews of this dive spot
- Living Ocean Scuba's information about this spot