Overview of Three Tables

Three Tables

Hawaiian Islands


Three Tables beach offers good scenery for the diver: outcropping of lava, a wall, and lava tubes.

Directions: Off Kamehameha Highway on the North Shore in the Waimea area, just South of Shark's Cove.


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Three Tables Patrons:   Please consider becoming a Patron for Three Tables
*  Lan Becton (Great White) -- Our favorite island for diving. Thanks so much for keeping this going.
*  Neal Maurice (Blenny) -- One of my favorite dives.
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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

06/28/2014 David Kirk (Avg: 3.31 Review) - Three Tables is a great north shore dive site in the summer, but we had trouble finding directions, so I am listing them here. It is easy to find as it is immediately off the large beach area just south of the Shark's Cove Fire station. On Google Maps, it is labeled 'Three Tables Beach'. There is a small parking lot right at the beach and more parking just up the road in the lot south of the Fire station - an easy walk, even all geared up. There is a bathhouse at this lot, although no shower. Entry is super easy, right off the beach. Some have complained about the soft sand, but we found it no problem. Best entry is from the far south end of the beach, surface swimming out between the rock 'jetty' at the south end of the cove and the first 'Table'. It is 10-15 feet deep through this cut, and then drops off to 20 outside the cove. If you go due west from there, it quickly drops to 30 feet and then you go over a wall and it drops to 50+. You have to watch the current, but there are lots of turtles, morays, and large reef fish. Didn't see the White-tips that some have seen . . . maybe next time.

07/08/2011 Beachgirl (Avg: 2.79 Review) - Invasive brown algae covers much of the reef but there are plenty of fish to look at, an occasional honu, nudibranch, and lots of eels. Snorkeling is almost better than scuba because the most colorful fish and the highest density of fish are right in the lagoon around the 'three tables'. It's very busy with tourists splashing around, most completely oblivious to the marine life below the water surface.

11/06/2010 Nicholas Dibella (Avg: 3.00 Review) - There was a swim-through tube at 30 ft. I held my breath and dropped in this room and saw daylight through the water and swam. I thought I was going to die. I entered shark's cove with great walls of life and a surface of oxygen. Free swim -Nick

07/07/2010 Jay from Winchester (Avg: 2.92 Review) - This is my second favorite shore dive site next to Sharks Cove. As others have said, it's a small bit of a pain to get in and out of the surf due to the super soft sand, but that's only a minor issue. My favorite dive here is to go 310 off the far right rock. You'll go along a rock path for a bit, then enter a canyon at about 40'. The canyon curves to the right. At the entrance to the next canyon, go left and up and over the reef to your right. That is the formation known as 'The Cathedral'. Big enclosed area with an open end and an arc at the entrance. On really sunny days in the morning the sun beams in through a hole in the 'roof'. Pretty cool. Eels, squid and turtles were the main sightings that day.

09/04/2009 Anonymous (Avg: 3.65 Review) - Conditions were great; flat water, no current, minimal surge. Visibility was good as a result. We entered left of the leftmost table, in between it and the rocks. We surface swam behind the leftmost table, dropped down, and followed some of the 'gulleys' back and forth.

08/13/2009 Anonymous (Avg: 3.80 Review) - Always a good place to go. Dump in here and swim around the outside of the 3 tables to the point past snaggles then into Shark's Cove. Lots of fish and the occasional turtle. Good reef to view most of the snorkel/swim.

07/09/2009 Anonymous (Avg: 3.58 Review) - No comment.

10/11/2008 Mike Little (Avg: 4.20 Review) - Loved this site! The sand can get super soft walking from the car, but it's more funny than anything. Plenty of lava tubes, swim-throughs and some short caves.

09/19/2008 Jeff Dowdy (Avg: 3.76 Review) - This is my favorite site. Entry is easy with a sandy beach that drops to a comfortable depth to finish gearing up. You can go in virtually any direction and see something cool. Swim-throughs, turtles, white-tip reef sharks, large fish, eels, octopus, and several rays that was on one dive! My favorite heading is 250deg off of the jetty to the right of the site. Some dive operations also use this spot as a boat dive, as it is a bit of a surface swim (about 200ft). Head out to the edge of a fairly flat reef which has a mooring site toward the edge, and there is a drop off from 25ft to about 40ft which is an optimal place to drop if you don't get tired of the surface swim and jump the gun. Follow the same heading after that and you will run into another sizable wall which curves slightly to the right. When you come to an intersection of some rock formations follow that just to the right, there is a family of white-tip reef sharks who hang out under the ledge (2-3ft long). Backtracking to the intersection, if you go to the other side of the rock formation, there are a few others which hang out on the back side. As you cross the intersection, there is a swim through to the left, and you can choose to follow that into another canyon and more swim throughs. From Sept to May there is a current and likely to be high surf so I would not recommend diving this in the winter. The max depth is about 50ft and vis is usually 40+ft. If you aren't into long surface swims, you can also head to 50 deg off the third formation on the right and end up around the cave off of the adjacent Firehouse dive site. There are also many things in between. Snorkeling around the tables is fun with the depth upwards of 15ft. The beach is a nice spot for non-diving people. Dive flags should be used here as the police can fine you and there are fishing boats and dive boats which visit fairly close to shore.

05/16/2008 Scuba6018 (Avg: 3.61 Review) - Great site. At least 10 turtles at the cleaning station, and some large Eels. Dive this site with someone familiar with this site, as there can be very dangerous surf.

08/12/2007 Steve Porter (Avg: 3.75 Review) - This is a really great site to dive. The wife and I got married here underwater on July 15th 2004. When looking at the ocean try to head to the left of the reef, as it's deeper and safer. Use your compass since it's easy to get turned around near the "TABLES" on the far side of the turtle cleaning station. Maybe 100 ft away you can find the white tip cave

07/24/2007 Aaron Budhisetiawan (Avg: 3.58 Review) - We really enjoyed this dive. A great variety of fish, larger versions of the types we saw snorkeling and diving at other sites. Turtles too! There were interesting rock formations and dive throughs. There is something for every skill level at this site. The facilities at Sharks Cove are close enough to be very helpful. Many different sections to dive. Plan to swim against a strong current on your return to the beach.

09/03/2006 ScubaFella43 (Avg: 3.77 Review) - Have done this dive a couple of times now. Last time (September 1st, 2006) was the best so far. Headed out 260 magnetic from the beach and ended up at a very active turtle cleaning station (three turtles stopped in for a wash while I was there). The station was right on top of a very nice swim-through. I also noticed a very large yellow margin moray and a zebra moray plus the usual reef suspects.

09/22/2005 Terry in Hawaii (Avg: 2.77 Review) - Surface swam 50 yards beyond the table rocks. Dropped and went west. Very nice structure for finding shrimp, crags, eels, etc. Little current. Visibility was good. Experienced snorkelers could follow from above.

10/13/2004 Becky (Avg: 3.79 Review) - I see all kinds of different critters on every dive, and, since I dive for critters, this is a great site for me. Very shallow for most of the dive, then to about 50' max if shore diving.

09/29/2004 Chad Gordon (Avg: 3.85 Review) - This site is great for student training all the way up to advanced. Between Shark's Cove, Firehouse, and Three Tables, I have done these dives about 150 times. I never tire of them, always new stuff to see. I have done three tables and shark's cove with doubles for 2 1/2 hr dives and have hit 70 ft where it all turns to sand. There are some real nice swim throughs and lots of life. Heading towards shore is 90 or "east", make sure to always swim against the current. Sometimes can be very tricky.

09/06/2004 Hoju (Avg: 3.58 Review) - Just to the right of Three Table is the Firehouse, with swim-throughs. It is a better dive than the tables. Shallow dive throughout, with no more than 40 feet depths. Several turtles and plenty of fish, along with the some very interesting topography make this an enjoyable, easy dive. You can enter from the rocky lagoon on the right of the Firehouse, and go 250 from the point to find the Cathedrals formation. Good summer dive with good facilities.

08/08/2004 Seth Bareiss (Avg: 3.32 Review) - Bring 1 tank for Shark's Cove (east from & adjacent to 3 tables), & 1 tank for this site. Shark's Cove is a superior dive. The entry here is far easier, with far fewer rocks & a shorter, sandier walk. Wear booties-- sand is HOT. If you're good on air, dive along the right wall (not in any of these photos) which arcs around to enter Shark's Cove. It's 30'/10m deep, and chock full of interesting holes, cowries, nudebranchs, and unicorn fish. The center of 3 tables only roused a little interest. It was rather average for Hawaii. Haven't tried the left wall-- I'll try it next time I'm there. These dive sites are a 1-minute's drive from a youth hostel, gas station, and grocery store, but a loooong way from the nearest dive shop. This site, like almost all spots on Oahu's North Shore, will probably be undivable from October to May.

08/01/2004 Bottom Feeder (Avg: 2.78 Review) - Arrived at 8:00 am on a Friday morning. Nobody but us at the site. Gear up at the car and take a careful walk down to the water. No beach here so entry is tricky at low tide due to numerous exposed rocks. Plant life is just about gone but rock formations and fish are plenty. Vis was about 25 ft. First shore dive since moving here. Beats the heck out of the Gulf of Mexico.

07/06/2004 Phil (Avg: 3.00 Review) - Great diving . Be prepared for deep current. Lots of fish.

07/28/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.19 Review) - Three tables is heavily dove in the summertime. There is an extensive reef and rock system that fronts the 'tables' or wash rocks. If you head out and left (towards Waimea Bay), you may find and underwater ridge that is a turtle cleaning station. Great dive when it's calm in the summertime, but get there early to get parking!

05/31/2002 Divin Dave (Avg: 3.17 Review) - Flat in the spring and summer, don't go during late fall or winter. Snorkel out beyond the tables before you submerge then let the light current assist you along. Visibility is very dependant on the weather, don't expect a great view until at least a week after a heavy rain. This is a two tank dive if you go out far enough, otherwise you can do it all in one tank with air to spare. Bring your lobster bag (when in season)! This is also a great night dive spot as well. Don't leave your vehicle unattended after dark though… With facilities farther down the street it keeps the crowds down during the week. On the weekends get there early morning or late afternoon if you want to park. Overall I give this site a thumbs up.

12/10/2001 Neil Lake (Avg: 4.17 Review) - My first Hawaiian dive which was amazing for a Canadian cold water diver. I did two dives here and was utterly thrilled with the u/w topography, and sea life. I highly recommend this dive to visitors.

07/26/2001 Luke VanValkenburg (Avg: 3.11 Review) - Diving inside the table is very shallow. You must dive beyond the tables. Very easy sandy shore dive. Always go through the table on the far left. No facilities. The nearest is sharks cove. easy night dive.

07/05/2001 Robert Lower (Avg: 3.60 Review) - Good night diving during the summer. Lots of lobster and interesting caves to peer into. Nice sandy beach makes entering and exiting easy. Best to dive after 9:30p.m. and on the left hand side.

05/08/2001 Brian Wolf (Avg: 3.18 Review) - Use caution due to large waves during winter months. Fun dive, small lava tube system in the center of the cove and straight out to the dropoff to 35 ft. Max depth here is about 50 ft. Fun dive especially at night. Always enter and exit to left of tables.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: OA0301


Parking at Three Tables 

Pull off the main road and park by the stone wall.


 Map     Sat
GPS: OA0302


Overview at Three Tables 

An overview from the right shows the table outcroppings.




Aerial at Three Tables 
(click photo for details)

The wall and lava tubes are clearly visible. Make your way out from the left side of the beach.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Three Tables  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.19
Bottom Conditions:  3.69
Reef Conditions:  3.54
Animal Life:  3.77
Plant Life:  2.54
Facilities:  2.31
Solitude 2.96
Roads:  3.88
*Site Average:  3.43

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.81
Beginner Scuba:  3.96
Intermediate Scuba:  3.92
Advanced Scuba:  3.81
Night diving Scuba:  3.73

Number of reviews for this site: 26


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