A few months ago I went to Kauai, Hawaii and ended up going out to scuba dive Ni’ihau aka The Forbidden Isle. I went with the dive operator called Bubbles Below and had a great time. My only complaint is the crossing on the way back is a good 2 hours of pure hellish torture. Vomit in the boat kind of torture. But it was totally worth it!
The big draw of diving Ni’ihau is the possibility of seeing a Hawaiian Monk Seal. The Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered earless seal that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian monk seal is among the most endangered of all seal species, although its cousin species the Mediterranean Monk Seal is even rarer, and the Caribbean Monk Seal, last sighted in the 1950s, was officially declared extinct in June 2008. The population of Hawaiian monk seals is in decline. In 2010, it was estimated that only 1100 individuals remain. It is listed as critically endangered.
We were very lucky to have an encounter with one of these critically endangered Monk Seals. He was super curious and friendly. We did our best to stay out of his way, but he kept coming back for more…as you’ll see in the video.
There were also some great lava tube swimthroughs in Ni’ihau and lots of interesting fish. It was an awesome place to dive if you can stand the boat crossings. I would recommend taking a Dramamine the night before you head out there. And be prepared for a long day with 3 dives!
Give the folks at Bubbles Below a call. Linda is awesome and has tons of knowledge about diving Kauai and Ni’ihau.
Some quick info about diving Ni’ihau:
- Cost of 3 dives: $310 – extra for Nitrox
- Tours go on Wednesday & Saturday
- Departs at 6.30am, back at 5.30pm
- You should be at least an advanced diver, but I would recommend deep diver specialty as well
- We had about 8 people on our dive with 2 divemasters
- Water temp was about 70F. The Bubbles Below people were kind enough to give me a 7mm wetsuit and vest. I had to ask for this beforehand.
- Euros: Most US dive operators don’t have DIN converters, so be sure to take one