Diving on wrecks is always fun, and Oahu has no shortage of wrecks to dive on and enjoy. I’ve talked briefly about the Sea Tiger, YO 257 and San Pedro, and each will be getting a more in depth write up soon! today is all about LCU West, also referred to as LCU “Shallow”, as there is a second and upside down LCU at a deeper depth to the east. This was a short but fun dive, and definitely worth braving the traffic from Waikiki to the West Shore! Of the dives I did with Deep Ecology, this was the best one, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing, less crowded wreck dive.
LCU West was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef, and has had concrete blocks dropped near (and on) it to facilitate reef growth. A relatively new wreck, not a lot has grown on it yet, but it is home to a fair number of fish. The wreck itself sits almost level on a sandy bottom, with a maximum depth of around 27m. The temperature is a pleasant 25˚C, and there is little in the way of current. Vis was fantastic, with the wreck coming into view with 20m left to descend! Descent to the wreck is via a permanently moored subsurface buoy, making it easy to have your safety stops or control ascent back to the boat. Being a relatively deep dive, you’re not going to be on site too long, but the wreck isn’t huge, so seeing it shouldn’t be an issue!
As a LCU (Landing Craft Unit), it’s pretty open as far as wrecks go. There are a few swim throughs, but owing to the haphazard distribution of heavy concrete blocks over some parts of the wreck, it may be hazardous to use them without a fair amount of caution. I only had a short opportunity to explore this wreck (next time, NitrOx) before my bottom time got low, but it’s definitely on my to-do list when we return to Hawaii next year! Photography wise, this wreck has a number of fish in, on and around it, so you won’t be lacking for photographic opportunities.
Over all, LCU West is a quiet, relaxing wreck dive. Owing to its location, it’s free of the crowding that can happen at the closer in of Oahu’s wrecks, where it isn’t unusual to have two or three dive shops show up around the same time. While still growing as an artificial reef, I have no doubts it will become an increasingly popular dive site as time moves on.