If you are looking to really maximize your adventure fun in Hawai’i, consider Scuba Diving while you are here. If you are not a certified Scuba Diver, consider getting your Scuba Certification here in Hawai’i on your vacation. You can get it very quickly and cost effectively, and it can bring a lifetime full of rewards during your trip, and after.
Scuba Diving is differentiated from snorkeling because you bring your air supply with you in a steel Scuba tank. The air in the Scuba tank is compressed, and can allow breathing for up to an hour under water - depending on the capacity of the scuba tank. Taking your air with you, allows you to stay near the bottom for extended periods of time, and this in itself increases your ability to study the sea life and fishes that will come to visit you as you Scuba dive.
There several reputable Scuba diving shops on each of the Hawaiian Islands that would be helpful in providing a method for your to obtain your certification in Scuba Diving, and they can also rent or sell you the Scuba equipment you will require for a successful and safe Scuba dive in Hawai’i.
Scuba Certification in Hawai’i
If you are already a certified Scuba diver, the Scuba dive shops in Hawai’i will recognize your certification, and will rent you Scuba equipment (and refill your Scuba tanks) here without question. If you need your certification, Scuba classes are held in short durations, that get you qualified and even provide you equipment and an open water Scuba dive or two in the class.
Scuba classes are held in 3 day increments, or in full week configurations. You will be attended by a certified Scuba instructor, and will spend some time in the swimming pool practicing, and then will get in the ocean for some orientation. You will have time to still enjoy your “vacation” even with expedited classes, but the full week classes are enjoyable too and allow a slower pace with more free time to practice your Snorkeling in between sessions.
Many resorts in Hawai’i also have Scuba classes that base from the swimming pool in the resort too. Ask your Hawaiian Concierge about the options available at your Hotel. There is always a class starting, and most instruction venues will go out of their way to get you involved in a certification class.
Couples may consider Scuba diving certification an ideal way to express their desire to increase communication and trust in their relationship building. Scuba is an ideal sport for couples in that you should always Scuba dive with another person (or a “Buddy”) when you go underwater. Trust is an implicit component in Scuba diving, and many couples have benefitted from the rich experience of sharing and adventure under the waves. It certainly provides a lot of new information to talk about over breakfast!
Prices for Scuba certification classes vary depending on how many open water dives are included in the class, and how long the certification courses last, but budget between $175 and $500 per person, and you will be in the range. Compared to other vacation options in Hawai’i, Scuba diving can be a really inexpensive choice comparatively. You may also find a Scuba certification discount available through your resort, so don’t forget to ask specifically.
Okay, so now you have your Hawai’i Scuba certification card, and you are ready to Scuba dive in Hawai’i. Let’s look at what Scuba gear you will need, and what you might want to consider for a Scuba location and/or your Scuba Tour and Boat Charter options.
Scuba gear suggested for Hawai’i:
There is a variety of approaches to Scuba equipment utilized in Hawai’i. Some people are minimalists, and Scuba dive with only the basics required, and others bring every option regardless of the requirement of the Scuba dive. We are just going to talk about the Scuba gear here, and let you decide what you need, as you prepare for your own dive:
What is Scuba Gear?
Scuba diving equipment helps you adapt to being underwater, and allows you to participate and safely return from the Scuba dive. You do the Scuba diving, but your scuba gear makes it possible for the human body to participate. For example, the mask doesn’t see for you, but allows you to see underwater. A dive regulator doesn’t breathe for you, but brings air to your mouth underwater. A wetsuit or drysuit does not make heat for your body, but allows a body to more effectively retain its own heat.
Properly chosen Scuba gear should always:
• be comfortable while you use them
• fit you well, and be a synergistic component of your Scuba dive
The Gear You Need Depends on Where You Scuba Dive in Hawai’i
You can dive almost anywhere there’s water. The gear you use will vary somewhat depending upon your diving environment, as well as your preferences. There are a few categories of dive equipment in Hawai'i, but some gear fits in all the categories – for example the fins you use for Hawai’i Scuba diving may be the same fins you would use on a colder water dive.
Hawai’i Scuba Gear Inventory
The heart of your equipment, scuba (the acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) allows you to breathe underwater and to rise, descend, hover or float at will. It consists of a regulator, tank, buoyancy control device –harness and instruments.
Allows your eyes to see clearly underwater.
Let’s you breathe at the surface with your face in the water without wasting air from your scuba unit.
Allow you to swim using only your leg muscles for propulsion.
Exposure Suit or Wetsuit
Protects from cuts and scrapes and retains heat so you stay comfortable. Although the water temperature at the surface is warm in Hawai’i, the water temperature gets cooler the deeper you dive. An exposure or wetsuit makes this difference quite comfortable while Scuba diving.
Offsets your tendency to float (generated by the exposure or wetsuit) so you can descend gently underwater when you desire.
Monitors your depth and time underwater to keep you within established limits.
Used to measure the dive time. Maybe a component of your Dive Computer
Used to look into cracks and crevices, and for diving at night.
A handy tool as well as an important safety device.
Keeps boaters away from where you’re diving. The dive boat (if used) may have this onboard.
Digital underwater photography system
Used to take pictures of your adventures to share with your family and friends. Underwater photography is really fun and colorful in Hawai’i, but it is optional.
Miscellaneous Scuba Diving Accessories
Underwater slates, lanyards and other items make diving more fun. Also optional.
Whistle, signal tube get attention of other divers or the dive boat from a distance.
Scuba gear bag
Used to carry your dive equipment to the dive site.
Types of Scuba Dives Trips Available in Hawai’i
While not only being one of the best places in the Unites States for Scuba Diving, Hawai'i also offers several differnt types of Scuba diving experience for your pleasure. We often prefer Scuba diving in the morning hours, although some Hawaiian locations actually improve as the day progresses:
This is the most common type of dive on the Hawaiian Islands, and can be accomplished by driving to a great beach, and strapping on your gear. Many Shore dives in Hawai'i are accessible by short swims out to deeper water. Many of the better shore dives in Hawai'i are in shallow water (under 50'), and the available light and water clarity are excellent. Use caution when diving near river and stream areas in that water clarity may be diminished, and sharks are more common looking for fish to eat.
Charter Boat Dives
If your pleasure is to see a wider array of bottom types, and are looking to maximize the sea life you may see, consider signing on to a Dive Charter or Tour Boat. Most Charter Boat Diving operations are two tank dives, and often come with very knowledgable local divers, to point out the highlights from the Scuba dive location.
Night Dives – Manta Ray Dives
Night Scuba diving in Hawaii adds a whole new level of visuals to the diving senses. Color! Since sunlight progressively gets absorbed by seawater in daylight, this opens new viewable color possibilities:
Ocean depths at which color(s) are absorbed-
• Red Hues - 15ft
• Orange Hues - 25ft
• Yellow Hues - 35-45ft
• Green Hues - 70-75ft
The Night diver must provide their own light source or Dive Flashlight for any visuals to register in the eyes behind the scuba mask. This light has the potential to reveal the actual colors of the sea life and coral surrounding the diver at night, and it can create a wonderful and colorful feast for the eyes. Deep reds, flourescent oranges and yellows, and a whole variety of contrasts that may have been missed during the day dive, will come alive at night. The night dive flashlight reveals surprise after surprise, and the native fish will be most curious too.
The theory is that fish in Hawaii are attracted to light regardless of its source, and with a deep black sea canvas as it's backdrop, the divers light will be easy for the fish to see. This phenomena actually created the circumstances where it was discovered the normally shy Manta Rays would come inquistively close to the Divers light, seeking out the nature of the light, and the food source (tiny brine shrimps - plankton) that were attracted to the lights. The giant Manta Rays do not have stingers (or teeth), and will move very closely to you if you remain still. The fish are amazing to watch as they glide through the waters, and you can see their grace and beauty easily. Anyone seeing a Manta Ray up close and personal will agree the adventure is well worth the effort, and will want to repaeat the event if possible.
Scuba diving in Hawai'i is a lot of fun, and we hope you make time to give it a try on your stay here.
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