Leftovers / Alligator Rock

Dive Guide

Dive Site:

Dive Type: Shore/Boat Dive (North Shore)

Dive Difficultly: Beginner 

Snorkel Difficultly: Beginner 

Average Depth: 15 feet on the tops of the reef, 25 - 35 Feet in the trenches

Ideal Wave Conditions: 1-2 ft or lower (not recommended when winter swell starts at North Shore)

Description: Leftovers / Alligator rock is an amazing dive that envies Sharks Cove and the Cathedral. Long trenches formed from lava flow run perpendicular to the shore line, with a significant number of rock formations and caves to explore. 

Check out the Dive Log to read about the exploration dive we did there!

Location:

GPS Address: 61315-61335 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712 (Google Maps)

Amenities: None

Parking: Very limited (especially later in the day)

Family-Friendly: The beach on the shore is small and family-friendly. The area close to shore is usually calm during the summer, and the shallow reefs are ideal for beginner snorkelers

Considerations:

  • This site is not suitable for diving between late September - early April due to the winter swell at the North Shore. 

  • The best areas for SCUBA and freediving requires a surface swim of 0.15 - 0.25 miles, and the current usually pulls away from shore. Ensure your dive plan factors this in.

  • There is frequent boat traffic about a mile from shore (boat transiting between Haleiwa Harbor and Waimea Bay). Be sure to use a dive flag!

Dive Site Maps:

(Base map courtesy of Google Maps) 

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Dive Guide:

Entry Type: There are a few options for SCUBA and freedivers to get to this site. If you want to shore dive, plan on at least a 0.15 mile surface swim to conserve air (about the distance from electric beach entry to the end of the pipe). If you want to paddle board or kayak dive, you can either launch from Leftover's Beach or from Waimea Bay (about a mile away). If you have a boat, you can launch from Haleiwa harbor for a short ride over and anchor in the sand over the main channel. 

 

Summary: Leftovers / Alligator rock is an amazing dive that envies Sharks Cove and the Cathedral. Long trenches formed from lava flow run perpendicular to the shore line, with a significant number of rock formations and caves to explore. Because this is a less-known dive spot, there is a lot wildlife and coral in the area. The most notable part of this dive is the rock formations. The lava flow created some incredible shapes, caves, and swim through passage ways that are a blast to explore. Navigation is also fairly easy since the trenches all fairly parallel to one another, and perpendicular to the shore line.

Scuba/Freediving: The easiest way to navigate this dive is using the long, curving channel that runs from shore out to the ocean. It is easy to identify from the surface, and you can follow it until you are ready to descend. We recommend going at least 0.15 miles from shore to conserve air. Once you descend, head north/northeast (right side of the channel if you are facing the ocean). You will have to swim up and over the reef (about 15 feet depth), until you find a trench. The trenches run roughly parallel to each other, so when you finish exploring one, you can swim up and over the reef wall to the next one. Within the trenches are large rock formations, caves, overhangs, and swim-through passages to explore. 

Snorkeling: If you are only snorkeling, we recommend following the main curving channel at least 50 - 75 meters out to the ocean (to get outside of the surf break). Once you're out there, we recommend swimming parallel to the shore. You

can head north/northeast towards Alligator Rock or southwest where there are many reefs and schools of fish. If you're a confident swimmer, head further out along the main channel to check out the trenches.

Not Yet Explored: We briefly swam on the southwest side of the channel (left side if you're facing the ocean) and saw a lot of shallower rock formations and reefs. We also haven't explored the deeper areas further from shore yet.

Be On the Lookout (BOLO): There are 4-5 resident sea turtles that hang out in the caves to the north. During our dives we saw a lot of nudibranches, spotted eagle rays, large puffer fish, large schools of fish, eels, and spiny lobsters (in the caves). We suspect that there are a few reef sharks in some of the caves in the area, but we haven't found any yet. Based on our experience at the North Shore, we suspect that this area is likely frequented by spinner dolphins, monk seals, and manta rays too. 

Oahu Dive Guide design by Steven. 

© Steven Apsley