Celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, or milestone? If you love scuba diving, there's one place you must dive when vacationing in Maui.
Makena Landing / 5 Caves
South of Wailea in Makena is a shore dive site known for its reef, arches, caverns, sea turtles, white tip sharks and dozens of fish species. Called 5 Caves and Turtle Town in the dive community, on the map you will find it called Makena Landing.
A beautiful setting with a north and south entry point. The southern entry is sanding, with a nice reef dive out to the caverns. The northern requires a short walk on lava rock, and an entry where you have to watch for spiky urchins sticking in your foot.
Either entry allows for a diving experience swimming along coral and wildlife, then visiting the caverns, arches and lava fingers that stretch from the shoreline are the landmarks of the dive.
If you're new to diving in caverns, the space can get a tad tight. Too many divers in a cavern will stir up the sand, agitating the resting white tip sharks (probably not the best idea for your health or them) and once the sand is stirred up, you have to wait for the scene to settle down to see anything.
Diving in a small group of 3 (you, your better half + me) allows for a comfortable entry and exit into the caverns and swimming beneath arches without the feeling of being crowded. I've dove the caverns in Makena with groups of 4 up to 8 certified divers. Swimming in shoulder-to-shoulder, I've had fin kicks to the face and have bounced my head off the lava rock ceiling more than once.
Diving in caverns requires control of your buoyancy, and when you have too many divers stuffed in a cavern it can feel claustrophobic and diminishes the memorable experience of cavern diving. The ideal cavern group is 2 to 3 divers, which allows for ample room to enjoy and experience the unique space.
There's plenty of scenic places to shore dive in Maui. But if you're looking for a dive along a reef with a few stops into caverns then hiring a diving guide who knows the 5-Cave terrain and the safety concerns of diving in an overhead environment guarantees you will get to see the sites safely.
If you're looking to dive Maui, contact me or book a dive below and let me guide you through the caverns and arches of Makena. After you book, make sure you charge your camera. You're going to want to capture some epic shots for your social media pages!
Also known as the shark cave, the sand cavern is where typically you will find 1 to 3 white-tip sharks resting along the back wall and side crevices.
Swimming through the arches you swim upward from ~15 feet deep and exit at about 6 feet. Inside the arches you'll see resting turtles, porcupine and puffer fish. Leaving the arches, you swim over shallow coral then drop back down to ~25 feet.
A deeper cavern, the bubble cavern is best known as the bubble cave. Swimming into the back of the cavern you will notice a large mirror ceiling, where you can ascend up to the surface into a lava rock dome air pocket where you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal.
Chris Brock is a Scuba Diving Tour Guide specializing in personalized scuba tours for diving couples vacationing in Maui.