South Maui Scuba Diving Locations
Kihei, Wailea, Makena Dive Spots
From a depth of 120 feet, a single pinnacle covered in coral reaches all the way to the surface above. Hidden Pinnacle is located on the Southwest side of Maui and can only be accessed when conditions are optimal. The currents are strong so this dive should only be made by advanced divers. You’ll most likely see octocoral, sponges, and pyramid butterflyfish. It also has some great shallow lava formations nearby. The valleys, canyons, and arches are wonderful for beginner divers.
60-foot lava pinnacles rise from the 70-foot depths at Turtle Caves. With around 6 pinnacles of varying sorts scattered around the area, Turtle Caves is a remarkable south Maui scuba diving site. Some of these pinnacles form canyons, some have caves, and others are hollow. Turtle Caves have plenty of sealife with hard and soft coral as well as turtles.
Off the coast of Kihei, a World War II F-6-F Hellcat sits at the bottom of the ocean. 32 feet deep in South Maui waters, you’ll find this fighter plane on its back with the engine around 20 yards away from its body.
The point at Ulua and Mokapu beach is an excellent introductory dive. This is often where you’ll find scuba diving schools taking their newcomers due to the mellow waters and gradual incline. There’s a great turtle cleaning station on the second reef.
Five Caves, Five Graves, or Makena Landing is a wonderful spot to scuba dive as well as snorkel. Shore diving becomes a bit of a long swim to get to the good stuff, making a boat dive convenient. The bottom ranges from 30 to 45 feet and is full of lava ridges, sea pinnacles, and caves. You’ll find scores of tropical fish, turtles, eels, and white-tipped reef sharks. Five Caves is one of the best spots to see a shark while diving. Another great spot is the backside of Molokini Crater.
A small area at a depth of 55 feet, Jody’s backyard is filled with lava ridges and coral mounds. There are also antler coral trees with fish living in and around them. This is a great place to focus on underwater photography.
Tank and Landing Craft
A quarter-mile off of the Makena coast, you’ll find two water-borne landing craft from World War II. They are both amtracs, amphibious tractors, one of which was set up as an armored personnel carrier. They are at a depth of 60 feet and attract fish and other underwater sea life. Because they are the only landmarks within a large area of sand, they tend to act as the only refuge for many sea creatures. It’s quite a sight!
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Puʻu Olaʻi is a cinder cone off of the South Coast of Maui formed out of red lava rock. The scuba site is situated at 30 to 40 feet and is a great spot to explore the unique sea life that inhabits this area. You may find green sea turtles, zebra eels, and angler fish here.
Composed of coral reef, lava formations, and sand, this area was a popular fishing ground for the Ancient Hawaiians. The reef is named after the blue-lined snapper that collects in a school here. Just outside of this reef is another reef that reaches depths of 85 feet. Divers will find helmet shells and large antler coral along the lava formations of this reef. Taʻape Reef is a great spot to see some beautiful sea life.
Apartments and Battleship Rock
Many divers mistake the name for a wreck dive, but Battleship Rock is named after a rock formation that looks similar to a battleship. It is a deep-water dive for experienced divers at 110 feet. Large lava ridges make this area a great dive. Because of its depth, Battleship Rock is seldom visited making this dive site pristine. You’ll find a variety of sea life such as red sponges, pelagic fish, and black coral.
Yet another World War II tank dots the ocean floor in Maui. This is a mortar-mounted amtrac that acts as an artificial reef to the sea life around it. It sits off of Makena Beach at a depth of 80 feet. Being the only landmass within a large area of sand, the tank attracts huge amounts of sea life looking for a safe haven. You’ll readily find schools of snapper and goatfish swarming around the underwater tank.
Ahihi Cove is a marine reserve with plentiful sea life. The sheltered area inside of the cove is mostly shallow, rarely exceeding 25 feet. Once outside, the ocean floor drops to around 55 feet. You can find moray eels, urchins, tropical fish, and plenty of corals in Ahihi Cove. Its protected waters are better suited for snorkelers than those who’d like to dive deeper. Enter the water from the North side of the cove next to the houses.
La Perouse Pinnacle
La Perouse Pinnacle is a 50-foot-tall sea pinnacle with a base at a depth of 60 feet in the middle of La Perouse Bay. The pinnacle is covered in sealife. Scuba divers will most likely see goatfish, finger coral, triggerfish, porcupine puffers, bird wrasse, and damselfish. This area was mostly formed from Maui’s most recent lava flow from the side of Haleakala. On occasion, divers may come upon a curious group of spinner dolphins.
Split Reef is named so because it is a finger of lava flow off of the Makena Coast which split while cooling. This makes the area very interesting with its ridges, sand channels, and various valleys. Most divers dive at a depth of 50 feet. Not as commonly explored, much of this reef is untouched and in its natural state.
Off the coast of South Maui, Waste Land lies at a depth of 85 to 110 feet. This is a fun dive to do when the current is strong. Divers regularly see schools of snapper, goatfish, surgeon as well as large antler coral heads. The area is a mix of lava formations. Between the many ridges, you’ll find all kinds of sea life.
A wonderful Maui dive spot to explore, Pinnacle Point is diverse in its lava formations with arches, canyons, and valleys. At a depth of 60 feet, this is a powerful and intriguing dive for all levels of experience.
Underwater Photographers are in for a treat at Golden Arches. The underside of the three arches is carpeted with gold and orange tube coral and bright orange and red sponges. At a depth of 70 feet, you’ll find lobster living in the cracks.
Dragon Reef is shaped like the arching back of a dragon with white leather coral for scales. This incredible dive location is accented with a rock formation that resembles an open-mouthed dragon head. There are many interesting sea creatures found between the depths of 20 and 70 feet.
PB4-Y Navy Bomber
Located at a depth of 190 feet, this old bomber was ditched in 1944. Its mangled and turned-around body has made for a good home for deepwater sea creatures. Divers rarely visit the bomber because of the depth.