When most people think of Oahu, Hawaii they imagine an island paradise with stretches of stunning beaches, volcanoes and crystal clear water. In fact, speaking of that crystal clear water – one of the most common past times for tourists visiting Hawaii is scuba diving since it is easy to spot a wide range of marine life in the clear waters around the islands. However, there is another side of Oahu that only a smaller number of tourists ever get to experience – the many shipwrecks that lie off shore!
Oahu has more than its fair share of wrecks that are perfect for diving. Some of them have been purposely sunk with the intention of creating new dive sites while others are the result of accidents. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular dive sites that you can pay a visit to with dive tour providers like Living Ocean Scuba.
One of the largest wreck sites in Oahu is the YO-27 which lies just off the shore at Diamond head State Park. It was once a Navy refuelling vessel which served the United States in several conflicts including the Second World War, Vietnam and Korea. It was purposely sunk in 1998 in order to create a dive site and so it is free of most of the usual dangers that wreck dives can present such as fuel and loose lines. This makes it ideal for divers looking to complete their first dive, although the 120ft depth means that it is only advisable for advanced divers.
Corsair Plane Wreck
If you head to Maunalua Bay, you can take advantage of the opportunity to dive the wreck of a World War II Corsair plane wreck. The plane crashed during routine training in 1946 and it now sits more than 100 ft below the surface, but the water in the bay is so clear that it is actually possible to see the wreck from above the surface! Some of the highlights include the family of octopus that make their home in the wings and the eels in the abandoned cockpit!
The Sea Tiger
The Sea Tiger is the wreck dive that most tour companies offer as a introduction to wreck diving. It is the one that lies closest to Waikiki. The Chinese vessel was once confiscated by the Unites States Coast Guard after engaging in ‘illegal activity’. It was then purchased at auction for a dollar! However, after spending almost one million dollars preparing the vessel, the company went bust. Thankfully a competitor stepped in and sunk the vessel to create this popular dive site.
The Mahi Minelayer
Another of the popular wrecks in Oahu is The Mahi, a world war 2 Navy minelayer. It actually holds the distinction of being voted the fourth best wreck dive in the United States. There is a large population of sea turtles in the vessel who are so used to visitors that they will literally pose for photographs with divers! The Mahi sits on the calmer side of the island and is around 45 minutes from the shore, but it is well worth the trip.
These are just some of the many shipwrecks off of Oahu which can be explored if you have some experience in scuba diving. Even if you are a new diver, there are plenty of other sites around the island suitable for learning to scuba. Once you get beneath the waves you will get to experience a whole different side of Hawaii – it truly is like a different world down there!