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Dive Review of See in Sea Scuba in
Hawaii/Waikiki

See in Sea Scuba, May, 2004,

by Brian Russell, NJ, USA . Report 1223.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Hawaii, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I did three days of diving in Oahu with See in Sea Scuba, which was a wonderful operation. The diva master for all three days was Bill Keen, who may well be the best DM I have encountered. His enthusiasm about diving and just meeting people who were diving was infectious and his attitude toward diving made eveyrone feel comfortable regardless of level of experience. He told me that diving is different in Waikiki, and he was right. Every dive operation I've ever used always had their own boat. Not so in Waikiki. Some dive operators have their own boats, other (presumably newer) operators have some sort of contractual agreement with boat owners. See in Sea Scuba was one of the latter. They rent space on a forty foot catamaran along with other dive operators, which is ironic, given that they charge different prices.

The choice of dive sites is left to the boat captain rather than the dive operators, so I ended up going back to the same site three times on a Monday, a Wednesday and a Friday. This was not a disappointment, since Oahu has the only wrecks I've seen in Hawaii. The most frequently visited wreck was the YO-257, a WWII-era oil tanker. It was purchased by the Atlantis Submarine company after it was decomissioned, cleaned up to meet environmental standards and sunk in just over a hundred feet of water about a mile from the Waikiki shore. I was delighted to dive on a wreck, although the first dive on a wreck this large (over 160 feet long) left me with only scattered impressions. I took my camera with me when we returned to the same site on subsequent dives.

I took the giant stride off the front of the catamaran into fairly calm seas. The mooring line was nearby and easy to find. I made my way to be permanent mooring, a hollow steel ball five feet across floating about twenty feet below the surface. I noticed the Atlantis submarine about fifty or sixty feet under me. I started down, hoping to catch up with the sub.

From my vantage point on the wreck, I was able to watch the sub cruise slowly by at a depth slightly above mine. The other divers still had not descended, so I waited and watched the sub. I waved to the passengers, visible to me through the large portholes on the side. None responded. I beckoned with one hand and waved with the other. The passengers waved back, some took pictures. I figure I'm in some photo album in Tokyo right now.

I considered approaching the sub, but was wary of the thrusters. I started closer, but saw a sign on the sub, warning divers to stay away. I rejected the idea of going directly to a viewport, which would have thrilled the passengers, as well as the idea of maybe causing some mischief by banging on some metal part of the sub, which would have terrified them. I would not in good conscience have touched the hatches on the top of the sub.

The wreck was one of the best I've seen. Upright and intact, it was structurally sound and safe to penetrate. A number of square holes had been cut into the sides of the hull to make entry easy and to provide light to the inside. A large sea turtle had taken up residence in one of the inner decks. The combination of diver activity, camera flashes and bubble noise must have annoyed it, because it swam off after a while. I took a few pictures, including a frogfish on part of the superstructure trying really hard not to look like a fish at all.

When we returned to the site for a third time, Bill took us to a nearby wreck, the San Pedro. We descended on the mooring chain attached to the YO-257, but abandoned it to cross fifty yards of largely empty space to the San Pedro, which was also upright and parallel to the YO in eighty-odd feet of water. This wreck was sunk more recently than the YO, but we had been warned that it was not as safe to penetrate. The Atlantis sub was there, cruising about some small distance above us and we saw it from both wrecks. The sub never got close enough to the divers to interfere with our travels between the wrecks, but we could always see or hear it through most of the dive. From the San Pedro, I got a look at the entirety of the YO-257. Square holes had been cut into the sides of the YO from stem to stern, more than sixteen just on the port side. The visibility was wonderful, probably more than a hundred feet.

My only disappointment was that I did not get to see the Corsair. In 1946, a pilot ran out of fuel and ditched his Corsair off the coast. The pilot survived and is living somewhere in Hawaii today, but his airplane sunk to the bottom and sits upright in something over a hundred feet of water. It's been there for almost sixty years, but it's in very good condition. The cockpit is open, but divers have to be warned not to try to actually sit in the airplane as a couple of rather territorial moray eels have taken up residence there. I would have really enjoyed seeing it.

In addition to repeated trips to the YO-257, I did three other dives. One was to Turtle Canyons, which had a number of sea turtles among, on top of and sometimes under the coral ridges. Another was to the Rainbow reef, directly opposite the rainbow painted Hilton on Waikiki. The third was to the Kewalo Pipe.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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