Kahe Point Beach Park (Electric Beach)
We got up early to depart before 8am for our 9am dive at Electric Beach with ECO Divers. A very small group (Pattie, me, and a young woman from Seattle, Celeste, who is a very experienced diver). The guide, Kevin, was nice enough; a 2019 grad from Virginia Tech who moved to Oahu with his girlfriend to take a ‘gap year’ before pursuing grad studies. Kevin is 22, and perhaps not the most experience guide we’ve had.
Equipment issues arose quickly as Kevin’s weight belt fell apart…Celeste’s weight belt didn’t fall apart until halfway through the dive. Pattie and I did fine with equipment, though our regulators felt a bit ‘floppy’.
This was a shore dive, our first, so wading into the water (rather than jumping off a boat) was a different experience. For one, this means all gear is on your back for the 100 yard walk to the water’s edge, and you’re feeling the weight until deep enough for the water to alleviate the tank’s burden. Hardly a crisis, but very different than a boat dive’s gear-up-on, take two steps, jump in.
Got in just fine, and eventually, after getting a bit more weight added to our belts, descended.
This is not a deep dive, at all—20-30’ at most—but it was a real struggle for all of us, and a great learning experience. The current/surge was very strong, and we slowly learned to let the surge in our direction do our work for us, and relax (rather than fighting) the surge going against us. The problem was that the surge going against us often pushed us further back than the positive surge, so we were losing ground. Eventually we got to a shelf which allowed us to descend a bit further, where the current weakened considerably. But even getting over that shelf was just exhausting; probably covering no more than 15’ and 10’ depth just beat us up.
Eventually we reached a pipe where warm water from the electric plant feeds into the ocean, attracting a wide variety of colorful fish, but by then air was at a turnaround point. But did get in some fish-watching…
When we got back to shore, the surf was considerably more rough than when we went out, and we had a tough time exiting. Our first experience, and the rough surf taught us a lot, the hard way. We grouped to ready for the second dive, and Kevin asked what we’d thought of the first dive. We mentioned the current and he said, “yeah, that was unusually strong. It’s usually quite calm here, but the storms of late have really made this area difficult. We didn’t even dive this yesterday (which we knew, because we’d been rescheduled to today).” Celeste and Pattie took the lead in noting that it just wasn’t really fun spending the whole time fighting the current…so we took a pass on dive #2. The drive home was pleasant enough, we stopped at Snorkel Bob’s to replace missing snorkels, which we’ll certainly need for Thursday night’s snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, close to where we’re staying. When we got home we rinsed gear…and were completely exhausted.