Sharks Cove Dive Guide

Dive Site:

Dive Type: Shore Dive/Reef  (North Shore)

Diving Difficultly: Beginner/Intermediate (Depending on conditions and route)

Snorkeling Difficultly: Beginner

Average Depth: 20 - 40 feet

Ideal Wave Conditions: 1-2 ft or lower (entry conditions get very rough in higher waves)

Location:

GPS Address: Shark's Cove, Haleiwa, HI 96712 (Google Maps) 

Amenities: Small rinse showers, bathrooms/port-a-johns, food trucks across the street

Parking: Parking and traffic gets crowded and crazy quickly. Get there early in the morning.

Family-Friendly: There are a lot of family-friendly beach and snorkeling spots adjacent to the cove. Three Tables Beach is right next to the cove. There are also a lot of delicious food trucks across the street that the family can hang out at. 

Considerations:

  • This spot is only safe to dive during the summer months. High/dangerous surf conditions are present during the winter months.

  • When in doubt, don't go out. Entry conditions can be extremely hazardous in waves as small as 3-5 feet. If you don't see anyone down in the cove, that's an indication that you shouldn't go out. 

  • The entry involves walking down a rocky trail, and entering where a lot of underwater boulders are present.

  • This dive site can be challenging in strong currents, especially for beginners.  

  • There are a lot of caves and swim-through caverns at this site. Do not exceed your limits or training as a diver. Be aware that ocean surge in these areas can toss around divers and get them wedged in tight spots.

  • The elevator is an EXTREMELY hazardous entry. It is only suitable for advanced divers, in calm conditions. 

Dive Site Maps:

(Base map courtesy of Google Maps) 

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Dive Guide

Entry Type: The entry for this dive can be tricky. There is a small trail leading from the parking lot down into the cove (see map). The walk down the trail is short, but it is definitely rocky and somewhat steep with dive gear. It is recommended that you use carabiner to carry your mask and fins, leaving your hands free. Once you get down to the cove, walk all the way around to the south side of the cove to enter the water (this is usually the easiest entry point). The water entry is rocky, and there are large rocks under the water that can hit your tank and legs. Be mindful of where you put your hands; this is a tide pool, so there are plenty of sea urchins in the crevices. Once you get past the larger rocks the cove opens up. We recommend surface swimming out to the center (about 75m) before descending. 

Elevator Entry: (DO NOT attempt without proper training and calm conditions) The elevator is a vertical lava tube that descends directly down (25-30 ft) to a cavern. Perform a giant stride entry into the tube when the water is calm. From there, you can swim directly out into the reef.

 

Summary: This is one of the most popular dive sites on the island for local divers. Only dive-able during the summer months, this area has an abundance of wildlife, caves, caverns, and swim throughs. If you take the northern route, you'll have several lava tubes that you can swim through (usually with some turtles or octopus lurking). If you follow the coast south, you'll see some impressive rock formations, including one known as the cathedral.  

East Route: Once you dive down, follow the northern wall of the cove out to the open water. Near the northern entrance to the cove, there is a large underwater cavern known as the blue room (be cautious of the strong surge, especially toward the back of the cavern). Keep following the coastline north, until you reach the lava tubes. Within this area are several swim-through caverns, reefs, and rock formations to explore. 

West Route (Toward Three Tables): There are still a lot of cool rock formations and sea life south of Sharks Cove, heading toward three tables. Be careful not to stray too close to the shore, where conditions can be rough due to the ocean surge. Somewhere in this area is also the cathedral rock formation, which is an impressive overhang. (This section/route will be updated more as our admins dive more this summer!)

Be On the Lookout (BOLO): Turtles, reef fish, nudibranches, slipper lobster, octopus, puffer fish, eels, flat worms, monk seal (very rare).