Scuba Diving In Hawaii

Opportunities abound for scuba diving in Hawaii. Some claim the Hawaiian island chain is made up of 137 'islands', although this includes minor islands and islets. Most people are more familiar with the eight main islands of Hawaii ('The Big Island' ), Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Ni'ihau and Kahoolawe. Each boasts unique features and sites for diving. One fact about the uniqueness of Hawaiian sites is indisputable -- with about one quarter of its marine life only found in the islands, scuba adventures here are unrivaled by any other place on earth.

Even a casual Internet search reveals much information about scuba diving in Hawaii. Tours range from day trips to living on a dive boat for extended periods. Most groups offer instruction to beginners as well as advanced activities for more experienced divers. Safety is an important aspect of the experience, and pre-dive safety instruction is a regular part of the dive. Special interest tours are also available, such as eco-tours and instruction that focuses upon developing the skills of underwater photography. Night dives to observe the silent grace of giant manta rays are offered by some companies. Websites offer reading lists to help tourists prepare for their Hawaiian adventure, or furnish reviews of the various islands and specific dive locations. Suggested experience ratings (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) are available for many sites.

More advanced divers may be interested in tours based on exploring underwater wrecks. Sites include wrecks of bomber airplanes, landing craft, fighter planes and ships. Although the machinery lies abandoned on the ocean floor, a variety of fascinating sea creatures inhabit the shadowy wrecks, calling to mind the words of Psalm 104:24-26 -- O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. Experienced dive leaders can weave together captivating stories about both.

Speaking of leviathans, humpback whales are a welcome sight to scuba expeditions. Arriving from Alaska for mating and calving in warmer, predator-free waters, the first of the whales may sometimes be spotted as early as October or November. However, it is not until February or March that the season goes into full swing. Baby whales need to surface often to breathe, so mothers and their babies can usually be spotted. Males anxiously awaiting the arrival of mating season spend time engaging in display behaviors, hoping to attract female attention or ward off other competitors. Although the whales must wait until the mothers are satisfied that the calves' needs are met, divers engaged in scuba diving in Hawaii delight to witness the antics of these enormous creatures. From the end of March until sometime in June, activity gradually tapers off until next year.

The best dives take place on the leeward side of the islands, where water conditions allow visibility of more than 100 feet. Some physical features to explore include basalt boulders, coral reefs, lava tubes, and caves or caverns. Many companies' websites advertise diving tours to specific islands. Equipment is readily available through a multitude of dive shops located on most islands. Searching through various websites about scuba diving in Hawaii, it seemed that many of the people who ran the tours seemed genuinely interested and enthusiastic about the sport, and were willing to take extra time with beginners and persons who were fearful about participating in diving activities.

Sites near Kihei and Wailea (South Maui), including the Malokini Crater, are popular areas for scuba diving in Maui. Weather and sea conditions may have very different implications to tourists on land than to divers anxious to explore seas where underwater visibility can range from 50-100 feet inshore to 100-150 feet offshore. Storms can significantly reduce visibility. Trade winds which moderate the temperatures onshore can create wind chop and uncomfortable conditions for boat divers. Scuba diving in Maui owes some of its best diving sites to leeward coasts sheltered from the winds by Haleakala Crater and the West Maui Mountains. Departure times for boats may be early (about 7 am), which may provoke groans from vacationers but are necessary in order to allow for the greater part of the day's dive to be accomplished before winds pick up. Maui, like the other Hawaiian islands, really has only two recognizable seasons. Winter runs from October to May and summer from May to October, although only about a ten degree difference in temperature separates the seasons. In general, the summer has more rain and the winter has more wind. During October, southerly winds (Kona winds) can cause high surf and rains on the leeward side of the island, which, as was noted above, is normally calmer. However, some experienced persons who enjoy scuba diving in Maui actually prefer diving in the winter season. During the calm between storms, glassy, flat water occurs for weeks at a time and there are fewer restrictions on where diving boats may go. Expeditions can extend to sites which are inaccessible during the summer season. In winter, water temperatures can be in the low 70s, so a wetsuit is needed. Interestingly, water temperature at the surface is essentially the same as temperatures at 60-80 feet.

It is not surprising that scuba diving in Maui is so popular. Beautiful waters filled with tropical fish and an endless parade of unusual creatures is available for up-close observation. Skilled dive leaders offer instruction to novices and challenges to expand the horizons of experienced divers. Not to mention that the Hawaiian islands are filled with a nearly endless range of adventure and leisure activities to fill the time between dives. After experiencing scuba diving in Hawaii, the only question a visitor may have is to wonder how soon they can return to sample more of the Hawaiian islands' treasures.

Hawaii scuba diving and snorkeling are some of the most popular water sport activities of the azure crystal waters that cradle the Hawaiian Islands. Scuba diving is the best in the world in the Hawaiian Islands because these islands are actually a chain of volcanoes beneath and above sea level. These volcanoes peak out of the Pacific Ocean and are what we know as the Hawaiian Islands. World class water sports take place around and among the volcanoes' ever changing landscape that, over the years, has developed unique coral reefs, banks, and shallows, attracting exotic aquatic life.

The experienced or beginner will enjoy the water sports in and around these unique volcanic structures. All of the major islands in the chain offer Hawaii scuba diving expeditions with snorkeling boat tours, as well. The areas available to take a dive and view enchanted sea life are abundant. Divers can book a tour, snorkel enthusiasts can rent a boat, or vacationers can enjoy these water activities right off the beautiful beaches of Hawaii.

The Island of Kauai offers a great ocean adventure for everyone. This island is best known for hosting water adventures at all levels. Lydgate Park, on the east shore of Kauai, is a great place for beginner snorkels. Mystic cave and lava tube under sea sports are great adventures found around the island of Maui. These volcanic formations are for the experienced diver only. But, those who take part in Hawaii scuba diving around this island will view the great reefs off of the western shore. Maui also offers scuba tours for the beginner or the certified diver.

The very best of underwater sites are said to be the breathtaking Cathedrals of the island of Lanai. There is also the Marine Life Conservation off the coasts of Lanai, guaranteeing spectacular aquatic creatures in full view! This Marine Life Conservation claims to be home to the Hawaiian spinner dolphins. The island of Oahu offers world class snorkeling. Hanauma Bay is a volcanic crater off the shore of Oahu, and is a federally protected wildlife preserve. Hundreds of tropical fish inhabit this crater and some of these fish are unique to the Hawaiian Islands. Hanauma Bay is just twenty minutes by car from the famous Waikiki beach. Enjoying the wonders of God's creation is part of worshiping our great Creator. "And God said, Let the waters ring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly..." (Genesis 1:20-21)

Vacationers who want to experience Hawaii scuba diving and snorkeling should check out the many different vacation tours available online. Most scuba and snorkel groups offer information on the Internet, and tours can be booked online. Log on today and discover all of the options available for water sports of every magnitude in the Hawaiian Islands.

Swim With Dolphins In Hawaii

What would it be like to swim with dolphins in Hawaii? A dolphin is fascinating to observe and it is interesting to learn some of the many amazing facts about dolphins. There are different views about how to best interact with and conserve these intelligent creatures. There is also interest in determining whether interaction with a dolphin can benefit disabled persons, or those suffering from depression, autism or other cognitive disabilities.

If one looks at these creatures closely, amazing facts about dolphins emerge. As mammals, the animals give birth to live young and nurse them with milk. Each lives in families which help youngsters and injured members. The animals have a complex language for communication and navigation which includes a variety of clicks, whistles, trills and squeaks. After staying underwater for 15 minutes or more, each eventually surfaces to breathe through the blowhole on the top of its head. While sleeping, they do not go completely unconscious, or they would stop breathing and drown. Instead, they keep one eye open for predators and float near the surface, alternating eyes occasionally to allow rest to other parts of the brain. A dolphin has no fur, but a layer of fat (blubber) helps insulate it from colder temperatures. Not all are saltwater creatures. Several species of these river dolphins are endangered. The bottlenose dolphin so familiar to many is not endangered, although pollution, habitat destruction and accidental entanglement in fishing nets take a toll.

A dolphin uses echolocation to navigate and find food. Clicking noises are sent out, which bounce off objects and return, enabling them to distinguish size, direction, speed, and distance of underwater objects. One of the most amazing facts about dolphins is that they can even discern some internal structures. A female dolphin can even tell when a swimming human is pregnant and will often react protectively.

If a dolphin is not in the water, it may suffer from heat and weight problems which can be fatal. Blubber becomes a liability when the creatures are removed from water, for they have difficulty cooling themselves. Weight normally supported by water can crush internal organs if they remain beached for too long. These areas raise concern from animal lovers, who maintain that the animals are sometimes contained in tanks of insufficient depth to provide protection from the sun and are forced to perform acts (like beaching themselves upon a platform) which are unnatural and can lead to injury. Also, the lack of real exercise and stimuli for creatures who normally swim forty miles daily and occupy themselves in the wild with riding waves and playful exploration is seen as a cruel restriction. In the relatively tiny habitat of captivity, echolocation skills are undeveloped, and social life restricted to a few other captives, rather than the schools of dolphins found in wild settings.

The desire to observe these animals at close hand is understandable and is not negative in itself. Scripture portrays mankind as stewards of all of God's creatures. God tells mankind to ...have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28) Desiring to get closer to these fascinating creatures by taking a swim with dolphins in Hawaii or Florida seems enjoyable, yet knowing these amazing facts about dolphins seems to render the experience at best limited and artificial, and at worst, an enabling of continued (though unintentional) abuse against these magnificent creatures. Even at places which stress their role as an educational or rehabilitation facility, the deck is stacked against true knowledge of these creatures, or even much rehabilitation, for visitors are seeing the animals engaged in unnatural lifestyles and few facilities are able to demonstrate significant results in terms of actual numbers of dolphins successfully released. Fewer still follow up on a dolphin to discover if it has been fully reintegrated into the wild. Most of the money collected through facility tours and dolphin shows is not actually used in research or rehabilitation. This is not meant to cast aspersion upon those who spend much time, effort and finances in sincere attempts to aid dolphins. However, despite good intentions, some of the work done with dolphins does not actually accomplish the desired results.

One alternative which deals with a corporation's desire to educate people about true dolphin behavior while remaining financially solvent is the possibility of tours conducted in the wild. There are several outfits which offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins in Hawaii and in other locations. Although these are not immune from temptations to maximize profit, at least an attempt is being made to display dolphins in their natural environment. These tours seem much more humane for the dolphin, who is not confined or forced to do tricks for food. In addition, a search of websites offering such tours seemed to indicate a genuine effort to educate the public about respect for the fact that these are large, wild creatures, not 'smiling' friends who want to be patted or take people for a ride. In fact, participants are urged to observe rather than touch, to blend in (as much as possible) rather than chase or agitate the animals. Respect for the size and unpredictable nature of wild animals and the freedom that the creatures have to investigate or ignore their human 'visitors' is certainly more natural and truly educational. Patience is learned, since a dolphin who is not looking for handouts may not spend more than a few minutes investigating these visitors, no matter how much has been paid for the privilege. This, too, is a lesson in reality -- money does not guarantee that one will get everything one desires. It is difficult to see who benefits more from the chance to swim with dolphins in Hawaii, the dolphins who cavort freely or the humans who learn to restrain themselves and in this way, begin to function as true stewards of these magnificent creatures.

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