I have never had a dive experience quite like the one I had in Hawaii this past January.
I've logged over 30 dives around the world. This has included incredible sights at the Great Barrier Reef, lightning storm dives in Florida, and a near-fatal fight against currents in Bali. After so much diving, I am still having new and unique experiences under the ocean's surface.
This dive tops them all! From shipwreck-dwelling sea turtles to a sunken airplane, I was already incredibly fulfilled on my dives with Ocean Legends in Honolulu. But then a most unexpected arrival came sweeping through: A submarine! Read on—and watch the videos—to re-experience it all with me!
Pirates of the Hawaiian Wrecks
I love diving shipwrecks. There's always great stuff to see. On this occasion in Oahu, I was able to dive two ships at the same time because they are very close to each other.
I dove the YO 257—an oil ship for the US Navy. It was used during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The ship was intentionally sunk in 1996 and sits at about 90 feet.
Only about 80 meters away is the San Pedro—another intentionally sunk ship in 1996. The San Pedro was a Japanese-built, Korean-used fishing vessel.
I was lucky with excellent visibility on the day I dove. There were huge schools of opelu fish at this site. And tons of moorish idol, damselfish, and butterflyfish would surround me in a whirl as I made my ascent and descent.
One of my favorite parts of the dive was meeting the pirates who run things down there: The sea turtles!
They are the sunken vessels' current commanders. And they had no problem swimming right in front of me!
Planewreck Diving is Trippy
This is probably the strangest encounter I will ever have with an airplane in my travels. And it happened at 115 feet at the bottom of the ocean floor.
The YS-11 airplane wreck is not commonly seen by SCUBA divers because of its off-the-beaten path location. It's way out in the middle of a stretch of clean white sand with heavy currents surrounding it. The conditions were right the day I dove the shipwreck site. So we made the extra effort to get there.
This was the best detour I ever took on a dive! Check out this video including my view out the window from *inside* the plane. Such a trippy view!
And Then...A Submarine?!
While checking out all these wrecks, I kept hearing a strange whirring sound. It sounded like a boat at the surface, only much closer and more electronic-sounding.
And then it appeared. Like a mechanical whale, a huge, white submarine called the Atlantis X came buzzing through.
Here's a video with sound so you can hear what I heard underwater:
It was carrying passengers. I could see the outline of tourists' little faces in the windows. One picked up a child so they could wave at me. I imagine them looking at us thinking we're all so adventurous and maybe even a little crazy!
I could not help myself. I have never been diving and had non-divers as on-lookers. So I put on a show and did a little tumble through the water for them! :)
Diving in Hawaii
I was very lucky with the conditions for these dives. The winter is not always the best time to dive in Hawaii. In fact, I was not able to dive any other part of the island except the south side because the waves are too intense.
I would love to go back and dive Shark's Cove or another area sometime. But this was a unique enough experience. It's one that I will never forget!