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Thread: Kauai Trip Report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    SE Wisconsin

    Kauai Trip Report

    15th Anniversary trip to Kauai with my non-diving wife. Dove with Seasport and Fathom Five, had six days planned but had to cancel one – needed to return early due to my Father in Law’s passing away the day after we arrived.

    These were my first Pacific Ocean dives, planned many months ago after much research. Thanks to Anthony from Seasport for being so honest and interested in me getting what I was looking for and having a great time that he even suggested using someone other than Seasport. Thanks, too, to Scubaboard/Scubatoys for all the guidance. I don’t normally like to travel in summer; WI may have crap weather most of the year, but the summers make it all worthwhile! But everyone said I HAD to dive Ni’ihau…so August it was (close enough to our Sept. anniversary!)

    Totally different reef from the Caribbean, lots of new to me fish, some endemic and rare. More turtles than I’ve ever seen – the south shore is like a turtle hostel, dozens and dozens and dozens of them tucked into the reef having a snooze! More than once I looked around to find the group or a buddy only to see a turtle 3’ away.

    Water temp consistently 76-77F, vis 40-50 on south shore, worse at Tunnels and FOREVER at Ni’ihau. Amazed at the thickness of wet suites people wore, varied from board shorts & rash guard (me & one other guy) to 7mm with a hooded vest and gloves – I know I run hot but people thought I was nuts, was never cold once. Speaking of gloves, I’ve never seen more gloves and more groping of the reef and its life. Many of the culprits were California divers but surprised to see the Fathom Dive Master (DM) grabbing critters as well. However EVERYONE with gloves was groping the reef like a teenager at prom. I thought that was pretty obnoxious and now understand why gloves are outlawed many places.

    HAVE TO DIVE Ni’ihau. Lots of hype but it lived up to it, best three dives of my life (~200 to date). Pristine conditions, unreal vis, tons of stuff I’d never seen before – Monk seals, sand bar & Galapagos sharks, nudi’s, corals, tons and tons of fish. 100% worth getting up at 5AM, getting back to hotel at 7PM and the 5 hours of rough round trip – really glad I chose Seasport for this, can’t imagine that crossing in a six pack. And we had a reportedly very calm day!!

    Koloa landing was great – do it guided or you’ll miss a ton of stuff, best south shore dives I did, closely followed by Sheraton. Lots of rare stuff, dragon moray, Hawaiian lion fish, imperial nudi’s (caught them mating) , saddleback butterfly, busy site but great.

    Seasport was fantastic from the shop staff to the DMs to the captains – no question to me they’re the shop to dive with. Fathom Five was ok – didn’t boat dive with them so can’t comment. Crap directions to Tunnels had me all over the beach looking for them – granted the locals don’t make it easy to find the public access areas other than the main park. Also thought the DM bringing us back up with ~900 PSI on both of the shore dives and then following that up with the DMs playing the “tip reminder game” was pretty bush league.

    DM1: Hey do you have the tip I gave you to hold I got from my divers?
    DM2: Oh, ya, it’s right here in my wet suit under my bikini top.

    Especially since the DMs were dating and we had just gotten out of the water with DM2.

    Back to SeaSport, special note of thanks to Capt Andrew who made both days his boat a blast! And to Anthony, fantastic DM and even a better guy, with his passion for Hawaii, diving and ocean life you can’t help but have a great time, his attitude is contagious! Unfortunately this was his last week at Seasport, he’s headed off to the Kona Aggressor crew. Have a wonderful adventure and hope to see you there some time!

    Can provide more detail on any of the dives if desired. It won’t take 15 years for us to be back!!

    Dive list:
    South Shore: Fast Lane, Sheraton Caverns, Ice Box, Sheraton Caverns
    Ni’ihau: Pinnacle, Keyhole, Neon Cavern
    Shore: Tunnels, Tunnels outer reef, Koloa Landing west, Koloa Landing east.

    Pictures will follow eventually...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Rochester, NY
    Awesome - Going there in January [shoot me some pics in that other post of mine you commented on]... We have two weeks there so there will be ample diving time - looks like you discovered all the great places to go. I hope it's still decent diving in Jan though!

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