Sharks Cove is a entry level dive site on the North Shore of Oahu, with a little bit for everyone. The dive site itself is a few minutes up from Turtle Beach (where Green Sea Turtles can be seen in the shallows, grazing away), and is a short drive from Haleiwa, or about 1.25hrs from Waikiki. Haleiwa is the North Shore’s surfing and diving mecca, and still very much a local town business and atmosphere wise. Sharks Cove is so named as the cove is vaguely shark shaped when seen from above, not because of an impressive population of sharks.
Sharks Cove is a shore dive, with the entry area being about 50m or so from the parking area. The dive site is divided more or less into left and right, depending on which way you want to go as you leave the shallows. Maximum depth is a comfortable 15m, and has potential to get deeper if you go out into open water further than we did. The temperature hovered at around 26˚C, and there weren’t any serious thermoclines. Visibility wasn’t fantastic, but we were also diving the site at the end of the season. Spring/Summer, Sharks Cove is a diving site, but it switches over to a surfing site in the Fall/Winter. As you may imagine, there can be some surf and surge. It’s not bad enough to endanger you, but novice or infrequent divers may find it tiring.
Terrain is primarily rocky, with very few examples of coral outside isolated clumps and growths clinging tenaciously to the surge smoothed rocks. There are a few small coral beds, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Interestingly, coral was more common to find higher up the rocks, where the surge was heavier. I suspect it may have something to do with nutrient flow in the waves move. As a fun bonus, the area has numerous lava formed tunnels that make amazing swim throughs! Even in the off season, there were lots of fish, and there were even a variety of nudibranchs present as well. Another dive group we met up with really lucked out though! They saw the resident Hawaiian Monk Seal!
Sharks Cove is a common training site for new divers on the North Shore, and is well suited to it. It provided the depth and conditions needed, and enough challenge to ready them for future dives. For a more experienced diver, it’s a lava tunnel and macro photography challenge. While I was initially disappointed by the site, subsequent dives vastly improved it for me. It is not a site to dive as part of a larger group, you’ll miss half the site. You definitely want a small group or even just a dive buddy/guide.