Hi and thanks for your reviews on Lahaina Divers. Can you tell me more about the hammerhead dive experience and the quick in and out in rough seas?? Is there a "better" time of year to dive with hammerheads? Thanks!
On rough days this dive can be incredibly difficult. Don't trust them to tell you it's outside of your experience level. The 25 dives they require is NOT enough. You will be far from help. Check the weather yourself leading up to the day of the dive, and move the trip or cancel if the ocean conditions won't be good. Make sure you feel comfortable enough to basically manage yourself. If you don't, do not go. If you're going to go on a rough day, you need to be in decent shape. If you're on the trip and you have any questions at all, find a knowledgable fellow passenger and ask them. The hammerhead trip usually attracts some pretty experienced divers, and there's a really good chance you'll get clearer answers from them then the crew.
I did this dive in the end of November 2015. We saw about 10 hammerheads between the two tanks. The crossing is rough and wet. The quick insertion is essential because the rock they dive on has a safe entry point about the size of a king size bed. There is quite a bit of water movement there in typical drift dive fashion. I would recommend this to divers with an advanced open water or at least 70 tanks in open ocean. The boat is moving a lot at the entry point so you need to have your sea legs. The first tank we dove to about one hundred feet and saw the hammerheads below us. Second tank we were mostly cruising up and around the back side. A word about extraction: Lahaina divers does a great job with their boats and captains and I have always seen them be safe so this dive requires you to be on the surface for up to 20 minutes while the boat repositions to extract divers safely. Once again a lot of moving water so if you are not a strong swimmer or get freaked out by being at the surface waiting for the boat I would recommend heading for Molokini instead. However if you are completely secure as a swimmer/diver and want an amazing story to add to your dive career this is one of the most memorable! You are REQUIRED to have a dive sausage and you can buy a basic one at the shop for less that $30
We got lucky with calm seas yesterday, but the channel can be kind of crazy at times. It's a drift dive and we lined up "Navy SEAL style" and waited for the Captain to shout "Divers, DIVE DIVE DIVE!" and we all hopped in single file and went straight down. It was a cool unique experience for me as we don't have many drift dives done like this in Florida. To top it all off, on our second tank we saw a wall of over 100 hammers. Epic dive! But yes, the hammers can be hit or miss.
Like any of the pelagics, it can be hit or miss. We dove in July '14 and saw a half dozen or so. Our last dive in early April was a bust in terms of the hammerheads; the first tank dive was shortened way beyond usual all of us blowing through our air due to extreme currents, preventing our party from making it around the southwest point of the reef, where the hammers hang out. The second dive was much better underwater but we didn't see any hammerheads. As far as the rough water goes, it is manageable. If you are at all prone to seasickness, consider a scopalomine patch or take a dramamine the night before (so you don't fall asleep on the trip over to Molokaii) .
Unfortunately missed seeing the hammerheads, but it's a long boat ride out and it can be super super choppy when you're out there.
It was still a neat dive, we went in December during Christmas and the water is a sapphire blue. Saw a huge manta ray which was great.
Turtle reef was more fun, same with the cathedral.
I did not get to see hammerheads on either of the two days I dove this site. I went mid November and it was warm water and climate. The dive masters did say they saw them the week prior, but who knows if that's truthful? They told me there is really no 'season' for the hammerheads, and it's just pure luck if they are there. We all think if there is stronger current that increases the chances, though. It was not rough seas that week for me, but the masters said that was not the norm. So maybe that's why I didn't get to see them?! It's about a 40 min boat ride. It is definitely for the more moderate-experienced divers since the current is strong. This was my favorite dive site in Lahaina. The reef and topography are beautiful! Please go at least one day, preferably earlier on your trip, because I'll bet you will want to sign up for a second day!!
I've tried the dive twice. The first time we cancelled due to the rough seas. The second it was a great dive, but no hammerheads. Not a dive for a beginner. Serious current on the site makes for interesting re-boarding.
I believe this time of year is the best. The current is stronger and the Sharks like the current. When we went a couple weeks ago (April) we saw quite a few. The time before we went they said they saw a group of about 80! The seas are pretty rough getting over there and back.. But the on and off the boat thing is not much harder than a normal dive. Hope this helps. It was one of the best dives I've ever done.
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