Sharks Cove Oahu – Dive Sites
Located on the North Shore, Sharks Cove Oahu is one of the most popular dive site on the island. Sharks Cove is a marine preserve filled with life, but the underwater topography is probably why most scuba divers love this dive site. Various swim through and caverns make sharks cove a playground for the adventurous scuba diver. If you are scuba diving here for the first time consider going on a guided tour so that you can learn the reef while under the direction of an experienced local dive master.
Typical Sharks Cove Dive Site Briefing
Before each guided dive the dive master gives the group a dive site briefing which covers:
- The most important rule in scuba diving is never hold your breath. No matter what happens the best thing to do keep breathing, think things through and rely on your training.
- Stay close to your dive buddy, together with the group and follow the dive master. If you cannot see the dive master ahead of you most likely the rest of the group is following you! The dive master cannot see everything so if you see something get the group’s attention so that we can all stay together and check out whatever caught your eye.
- If for some reason you get separated from the group search around underwater for about 1 minute. If you cannot find the group safely surface and reunite on top.
- We want to be back on the surface with at least 500psi (~30 bar) left in the tank. Let the dive master know when you are at a half tank so that they can get the group back to a safe area to surface at the end of the dive. This also keeps everyone from having to do a long surface swim back in.
When you enter the water at sharks cove you will see schools of reef fishing swimming over the lava rocks. Large parrot fish will be cruising around the reef as well as surgeon fish and goatfish. As you get into deeper water the large schools of fish will disperse. While swimming through the lava formation and swim through look out for Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, Frog fish, large cornett fish and possibly even a white tip reef shark. Although sharks cove Oahu is actually named for the shape of the cove not shark sightings, if you are lucky you might come across a reef shark during your dive.
When you enter the water at sharks cove you will have to swim out (either surface swim or underwater) to the mouth of the small cove. As with most shore dives you then have the option of going right (to the East) or left (to the West.) Both directions offer great diving but they are slightly different. To the right there are more swim through and large lava formations. This can be an exciting dive while navigating through amazing underwater formations.
If you decide to turn left and follow the coast to the West of sharks cove you will likely see more marine life. The larger schools of reef fish, large parrot fish and other Hawaiian marine life tend to live more on this side of the cove.
The best thing to do is go for two dives. I never regret spending more time scuba diving.
With all dive sites it is recommended that you always dive with someone who is familiar with the area.
Hiring a guide to show you around will keep you safer and make your dives more enjoyable
The first thing to do when you get to a dive site is walk down and check out the conditions. All dive sites should be evaluated for current conditions before entering the water. It is always best to do this before you get all of your equipment together.
Most scuba divers have a hard time making a good judgement call on whether or not do dive a site once they are wearing their gear.
It seems like once the gear in on divers tend to go for it no matter what.
From mid-fall until mid-spring sharks cove Oahu as well as the entire north shore of Oahu have consistently high surf. For most of the winter sharks cove will not have conditions friendly to scuba diving.
Once you have established that the conditions are favorable to diving get all of your gear set up in the parking lot. There is a nice wall that can help with getting your scuba diving equipment on (and off after the dive.) Do all of your equipment and buddy checks while sitting on the wall; it makes it much easier than standing up holding all of the weights. It is only a short walk down the trail once your gear is on but be careful not to trip on any rocks.
At the water’s edge find a calm spot with room to walk out between the rocks. After you are about waist deep float on your back to get your fins on. It is a good idea to wear thick dive booties at this location to help with the walk down and water entry.
A good tip of you do not have dive booties and heel-strap fins is to wear an old pair of sandals (called slippers in Hawaii.) You can wear these right into the water and just thread them through your waist strap on the BDC for your dive.
Exit at the same location you entered.
For both the entry and exit at sharks cove take extra care not to step on any coral or other marine life. Inflate your BCD before you enter the water and try to get your fins on as soon as possible and swim on the surface through the shallow water.
As with all dive sites we want to leave everything in as good or better condition than we found it.
Take only pictures and leave only bubbles!