Makaha


I dove Makaha from shore for the first time last week.  There was myself and 3 others.  I organized the group and another person suggested the place.  So we all met up at Makaha Beach Park.  Once we figured out where it was safe to park we geared up and headed down. 

Makaha is on the west side so if you decide to dive this site make sure you don’t leave anything of value in view.  There is a higher crime rate over there and non-locals are not welcomed.  My friend and I both had cars that were automatic targets because they have DOD decals on them. 

The entry is an easy one.  It’s a relatively short and flat walk over the beach to the water.  Once you touch the water it’s only about 5 steps and you are over your head.  We swam a little ways on the surface and then dropped down in 15 ft waters.  Be aware that there is a current that usually runs across the beach and out to sea.  Nothing too strong but at the surface it pulls a bit.  Once we were down the visibility was great and there were great big coral heads.  The 2 sites I have the most experience with Shark’s Cove and Electric Beach are rocky and the coral grows on the rocks.  At Makaha the coral heads start on the sand.  No rocks to speak of once you swim out a bit. 

The first stop we made was the turtle cleaning station.  There are several of these around the island and it’s basically a point where the turtles gather and the smaller fish eat things off their shells.  There were about 5 turtles the first pass and 7 on the second tank. 

After that we just poked around and followed the reef out to sea until one of us hit a half tank and then we turned back and poked around some more.  The one person that was with us I hadn’t dived with her more than a couple of times and on this time out I found her to be a bit inconsiderate and not as safe as I like.  She disappeared once on us and we had to swim back and find her.  She got distracted taking pictures.

The exit from the water is an interesting one.  There is a large step up where the sand drops down deep.  There is also a very strong undertow.  Stronger than I have seen on the island.  I would highly recommend a mask and fin strap for sure.  I dropped my mask on the way out and my buddy managed to find it.  I also stumbled and got knocked to my knees a couple of times.  It’s not easy to get up off one’s knees when waves are crashing on your back and you have about 40lbs on your back.  So just beware the exit. 

Two of the 4 opted out of the second dive so I headed back out with the distracted camera person.  It was an experience in what not to look for in a dive buddy.  When we entered the water I was carrying the float.  I noticed as I entered that I had more water than I should on one leg and found that one booty was unzipped.  So I was piddling around trying to get it zipped up.  Even though she could clearly see that I was struggling to zip the booty and hang on to the flag she stayed at least 50 yards from me.  The only thing she said was “the current is pulling you Michelle”.  Strike One.  After I got situated I swam over and had her turn on my tank, since I forgotten to do this on shore.  Then, float still in hand we made our way out to sea.  There is a white buoy that sits on the water and we had decided to try to swim out closer to that on the surface and that way we could get closer to the caverns.  Finally I had to stop her and tell her that we had to tie off our flag since I had 18ft of rope and the water was at least that deep.  At that point she was still 50 yards away and I asked her to meet me down there.  I had to swim back toward shore to get in shallow enough water to tie off and she never came to meet me.  Strike two.  After we submerged we puttered along looking at things and looking for shells.  We did reach Makaha Caverns and spotted the mooring buoy.  By then, though, I signalled “half tank” and then “turn around”.  The response I got was “5 more minutes”.  Foolishly I gave her her 5 minutes.  Strike 3. 

We made it back to shore and took our gear off.  By this time I had decided I wouldn’t be inviting her along any more.  I don’t believe her dive practices are safe.  Hopefully someone else will learn from my story. 

This person wears used gear that was bought off of craigslist, uses steal 72’s that are only rated for 2400lbs of pressure and she doesn’t seem real concerned about the buddy system at all.  She told me that usually she just shows up at a site she wants to dive and waits until she sees a group going out then asks to join them.  I suppose there isn’t really anything wrong with this except you don’t know what caliber divers you are dealing with.  She claims to have done 100 dives yet she is only open water certified.  She has never been bothered to do any more classes.  On our first dive she told me she doesn’t have a compass or a depth gauge.  She takes a camera and takes pictures and she is unconcerned with her buddy’s experience on the dive.  Her objective is her own and she makes you feel like you are just along for the ride.  That’s ok if it’s the agreed upon agenda. 

Personally, I just found that after doing 3 dives with her I was uncomfortable with her dive practices.   Maybe I’m being overly cautious but that’s my prerogative.  She has texted me a few times and I’ve ignored them.  It’s not something I usually do.  I normally try to get along with everyone but I made and exception in the name of safety.  Diving, for me, is a learning experience each and every time.  I enjoy it and diving with safe people allows me to do just that.


Makaha on Dwellable
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