There are probably at least 10 great spots for shore diving within an hour of Honolulu, Sharks Cove, From Here to Eternity Beach, Electric Beach and Magic Island all being part of the list. One of the most world famous dive sites would be scuba diving at Hanauma bay. As well as being a great shore dive in Hawaii it is a very popular snorkeling site as well with Hawaii visitors that stay in the nearby Waikiki hotels. The site is accessible by the Honolulu city bus route #22 that runs from Ala Moana Mall in Waikiki a cheap day for budget travelers.
Hanauma bay has been described by many as swimming in giant fish bowl. Hanauma bay is a sunken volcano that has collapsed on the ocean side creating a perfect bay that is protected for almost 300 degrees, so it is very rare that you cannot get it to dive there.
Hanauma Bay is a protected area so they close the park down on Wednesdays to relieve the strain on the eco system. They have e a great display at the top that has a lot of good information on the geology, ecology and the fish life in the bay, well worth spending some extra time to check it out, as it is very well done. Before you can enter the park you are required to view a 15 minute video explaining about the things that you will see like turtles, as well as informing folks of the do and don’ts.
One rule that they have and enforce is no smoking in Hanauma Bay. They put this rule in as they were getting way to many cigarette butts and cigarette wrappers in the bay which like the sun tanning lotion that was degrading the water quality. I have to say though having this rule is refreshing for those that don’t smoke, and for those that do if they decide to have a cigarette, the walk up the very steep road will remind them in a not so subtle way the damage that they are doing to their bodies.
As a diver the site is a little tricky for getting in and getting out; one of the most ferocious keyholes that you are likely to encounter in the only way in and out at low tide. There are two communications cables that run through the keyhole that if you plan your dive right you can use to drag yourself hand over hand through the gap. You also need to move your gear long ways to get to the water. A great plus is that there are lots of showers and you can rent lock boxes to store the stuff like keys and ID that you will not want to take into the water with you.
The site doesn’t get very deep by Hawaii dive standards you are lucky to get to 60 feet, 20 meters, but the abundance of different fish species and often times the amazing clarity of the water make this a special dive. . If you love butterfly fish you will love diving in Hawaii. Hawaii is a favorite vacation destination for scuba diving as 25 % of the fish here are endemic to Hawaii only.