Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
12/25/2006 4.05 Ulua Beach Maui, Hawaiian Islands
I dove two tanks at this beach. Unfortunately, the surf was up a little due to some southerly winds so visibility was less than average (which is still way better than the quarries and lakes where I'm used to diving). There was a little surge but nothing unmanageable. Even with the less-than-optimal weather, I still really enjoyed diving this site. Even though we had to enter through some surf, entry/exit was relatively easy on the beach. There are two reefs off of this beach, an inner and outer reef, separated by about 100-200ft. Of sandy bottom. Visibility was limited at the first reef so my buddy and I continued to the second reef where we saw a variety of fish and eels. We even saw a difficult-to-spot leaf fish swaying in the surge. Midway through our dive we saw three HUGE green sea turtles, two of which were mating! There were also fish cleaning their shells. As we headed back to the beach, the water was somewhat silty. Just as we were passing the inner reef, I saw the silhouette of a 6-8 ft Manta Ray glide past us about 25 feet away. Though the conditions weren't great the day I dove, I could definitely be convinced to come back to this site for further exploration.
12/24/2006 3.43 Koloa Landing Kauai, Hawaiian Islands
My 10-year-old daughter and I did two dives at this site in late November 2006. We really enjoyed this location. The entry was very easy. We saw a few turtles, some eels, and plenty of fish. We were a bit concerned about visibility since it had rained a lot the night before our dive. Once we made it away from the entry point, visibility was pretty good in the morning. The surf kicked up some in the afternoon and reduced the visibility some. Nonetheless, we enjoyed both dives and would definitely return to this location if we returned to Kauai in the winter. We rented our weights and tanks from SeaSport Divers, which is the closest dive shop to Koloa Landing. I might rent from them again because the shop is open later than the others, although be sure to check your o-rings before you leave the dive shop, as we had a blown o-ring in one of our tanks. Luckily, one of the instructors from Fathom Five Dive Shop (who were also diving at this site) had a spare o-ring and she let us use it. VERY COOL! The folks at Fathom Five were very friendly and knowledgeable about the dive site. I would recommend Fathom Five, which is just a few miles from Koloa Landing, to anyone needing a dive guide.
12/24/2006 4.43 Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
My 10-year-old daughter and I did a dive at this site when we were island-hopping to Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island and Maui in late November/early December 2006. This was by far the best shore dive we did on any of the islands. The water was crystal clear with a visibility of at least 100 ft. The coral was very colorful and we saw a wide variety of fish including various types of butterfly fish, Blue Cravalle, Moorish Idols, tangs, triggerfish, puffers, wrasse, Trumpetfish, needlefish, Unicornfish, Parrotfish, blue boxfish, Yellowtail Coris (even the juveniles which resemble a Clownfish i.e. Nemo), Bluestripped Snapper, Surgeonfish, and eels. My daughter had to be especially careful not to get knocked over by the surf as we entered and exited the water. With my wife on shore to assist my daughter, entry and exit was reasonably easy. The conditions under the water were spectacular with absolutely no surge or currents. If I had to choose a single shore dive to do again on any of the Hawaiian Islands, it would undoubtedly be Two Step (Place of Refuge).
10/18/2006 3.81 Vortex Springs Florida, USA East
I have dove Vortex numerous times over a period of two different weeks. The first week in Mar '06 I was doing my AOW training. The second week in Sep '06 when my daughter was doing her OW training. This is an excellent place to do training because it is clear and calm with very easy entry at docks and stairs and a gradually sloping bottom. They have a platform about 20 ft. down for practicing skills. The mouth of the cave is about 45-60 ft. down so it is perfect for beginners. In the mouth of the cave it is common to see freshwater eels and fish. Intermediate divers may enjoy the swim-thru's in the spring outside the cave. Experienced divers can also enjoy going into the large cave. Though diving in any overhead environment should not be taken lightly, this cave has a rock bottom with little silt and lighted strips to follow in and out. It goes back in a few hundred feet in the ground before you reach a locked steel grate. (My depth gauge said 111 ft. at the grate.) You must be fully cave certified to go beyond the grate as it becomes more narrow and difficult. Usually the water at Vortex is very clear (50-100ft vis). Although the last time I was there it was rainy and the staff was pulling weeds, so visibility went down to about 10 feet in the main basin. I decided to dive Morrison Springs toward the end of the week and it was like diving in an aquarium (although no other divers were in the water when I went). My family and I tent-camped at Vortex which was nice since we had easy access to the water anytime throughout the day. However, you definitely pay for this convenience. They tend to nickel-dime you at this privately-owned spring. Camping for 2 people isn't too bad at $17.50/night, but it costs an additional $12 for my two children per night. Plus and additional charge each for electricity and water of $3.50/tent. When you total it up, we were paying $33/night to tent camp! It doesn't cost much more to stay at a local hotel. Diving costs $32/day/diver in addition to the camping fees which include a single air fill. The main reason I like Vortex is that it has things for non-divers to do. They have swings, diving boards, and slides to play on. My son was still too young to get scuba certified, but he was able to play and enjoy the water while my daughter completed her certification. Once my son is old enough to get certified, we'll probably opt for other locations due to the cost. The water at nearby Morrison Springs can be just as clear and free! Nonetheless, Vortex is a very nice dive if you are traveling with other non-divers and need the facilities.
10/18/2006 3.61 Morrison Springs Florida, USA East
This is a great dive site as long as there are not many people in water. When I went earlier this year, no one was in the water and it was like swimming in a fresh water aquarium. Visibility was 100+ feet. My 10-year old daughter did two of her OW certification dives here and she really enjoyed it. We sat on the big log that is above the opening of the cavern and we could feel the force the water coming out of the cavern (not really strong, but definitely noticeable). The bottom of the spring is somewhat silty. I can see how visibility could go downhill fast if there were many people in the water or scuba divers with poor buoyancy control that cannot stay off the bottom. Since the water is about 68-70 degrees year-round, most divers will want a 5 mm wetsuit with hood, gloves and boots, especially when doing multiple dives. I use a 3 mil full wetsuit with a 5mm hooded torso warmer. My daughter uses a 6mm full wetsuit. The are no facilities at this spring. If you are traveling with children or non-divers, you may also want to consider Vortex Spring. Nonetheless, we had a great time diving at this spring.