north shore dive sites

best scuba diving oahu

The North Shore of Oahu is truly a divers paradise.

During the winter months, the North Shore of Oahu is the Mecca of surfing in the world, as huge waves surge through the Pacific Ocean and break high on the reef.  In the summer time, however, these waters become a beautiful diving paradise!  One place in particular is the Pupukea Marine Sanctuary, which extends for about a mile, and the diving is great!  Being a protected area, there are rules to dive here: no fishing, no hunting, no taking.  Many of the endemic species of fish and turtles are found here, and many species of nudibranch are regularly seen by our divers.  The rock formation is absolutely unique, as it is a massive concentration of underwater caves, caverns, walls, overhangs, lava tubes and underwater canyons.  Rare species of fish like the Titan Scorpion fish or the Hawaiian Turkey fish are often visible to see on one of our night dives.

Here are the best North Shore dive sites near Haleiwa:

Haleiwa Trench

Depth: 25 – 90 ft / 8 – 30 m.
Visibility: 20 – 80 ft. / 7 – 25 m.
Category: Shore Dive

The Haleiwa Trench is a unique dive located directly in Haleiwa town. The trench was created by the military in order to hide submarines. This makes the drop-off into the trench sudden and dramatic. The depth slowly gains to about 15 ft. / 3 m. before dropping suddenly to about 90 ft. / 30 m.

The blasts to make this trench created many overhands , caves, and caverns in the wall. This makes for an excellent home to turtles, octopus, eels, lobsters, and whitetip reef sharks. This dive site is recommended only for advanced level divers.

Watch the video of us diving the trench!

Waimea Bay

Depth: 20 – 60 ft / 7 – 20 m.
Visibility: 30 – 100 ft. / 10 – 35 m.
Category: Shore Dive

Waimea Bay is one of the most pristine beaches on the island and makes for one of the best dive sites on Oahu’s North Shore. The beach is closed in the winter except to surfers, as the bay creates massive waves. This beach is the home to local and national surf competitions in the winter months.

In the summer months, however, this location is an amazing dive site. There is a reef wall expanding outwards from shore, decorated with many swim throughs, caves, and lava tubes. The area is home to coral, reef fish, and many sea turtles, and is frequented by spinner dolphins in the summer months.

Three Tables

Depth: 15 – 60 ft / 5 – 20 m.
Visibility: 40 – 100 ft. / 13 – 35 m.
Category: Shore Dive

Three Tables is named appropriately after three big rock structures in the water, all visible from shore. The way these formations are creates a nice confined water area by the beach. Beyond the tables are many different dive opportunities.

Three Tables is part of the Pupukea Marine Sanctuary District, meaning that marine life is protected in the area. There is no fishing, poaching, or boating allowed in the area, which makes it very safe for both sea life and divers.

Past the tables and to the left is an expansive reef wall, boasting amazing topography and a turtle cleaning station. The area is often known for nursing whitetip reef sharks. The same wall expands to the right past the tables, leading to a natural wonder known as the Cathedrals. This is a huge swim-through that is so massive it could fit a school bus! Sunlight penetrates through the ceiling, lighting up the inside with majesty, hence the name.

Sharks Cove

Depth: 15 – 60 ft / 5 – 20 m.
Visibility: 40 – 100 ft. / 13 – 35 m.
Category: Shore Dive

Shark’s Cove is also part of the Pupukea Marine Sanctuary, making it pristine and flourishing with marine life. This area is one of the best dive sites Oahu has to offer due to the abundance of sea life. Since it is protected, the animals are very friendly and known for interacting with divers and snorkelers.

Scuba diving on the North Shore is incomplete without a trip to Shark’s Cove. So many of Hawaii’s native and endemic species can be found here. The area is home to reef fish, turtles, eels, octopi, sharks, Hawaiian monk seals, nudibranches, squid, rays, and more. Yes, that’s a lot of animals. Yes, it is amazing.

The topography is also astounding, with volcanic rock formations creating caves, walls, ledges, caverns, and swim throughs.

Watch the video of Hawaii  Eco Divers in Shark’s Cove!

Oahu's best dive sites in other areas:

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Oahu Scuba Diving: Boat and Shore Dive, Snorkel Adventures!