Ahhh… Hawaii. Back on the island of Maui and looking forward to some great diving.
First Cathedrals Light From Above
The day begins with a short ride over to the island of Lanai for our first dive at First Cathedrals.
I am diving with Lahaina Divers, my favorite dive operator on the island. I have been diving with them for almost 10 years and they are a great choice for scuba diving Lanai.
First Cathedrals is a lava tube that rises to the surface of the ocean.
As the name implies, there is a large underwater dome inside the lava tube.
Basically it is a large cave with a number of openings where light shines down into the “cathedral area”.
In addition, this is one of the most popular sites for scuba diving Lanai. While I have been on the site dozens of times, I still thoroughly enjoy the dive.
The dive boat will anchor on a buoy at the edge of the dive site. From there, it is a short swim to the cathedral. The entrance into the lava tube looks small and dark, but the interior is quite large.
The “cathedral” measures approximately 60 feet in length and the height varies from 10 feet to 40 feet.
Scuba Diving Lanai: Inside the Lava Tube
Scuba Diving First Cathedrals Scuba Diving Lanai
If you have ever been to a church or cathedral with stained glass windows, you probably noticed the light shining through the glass as you entered the chapel or sanctuary.
This dive site gets its name from a similar effect caused by the light shining in through the holes in the lava tube, e.g, the stain glass windows.
Another interesting feature of this dive site is the exit from the lava tube. It is fondly know as the “shotgun”, because when you exit, the surge may “shoot” you out of the cathedral as you surf the pressure wave. Especially, if the wave action is strong, it reminds me of what it must feel like to be “flushed”.
But don’t worry; the exit is wide and I go through it with my camera with no problems.
First Cathedrals Into the Light
If you are concerned about exiting this way, just let your dive master know and you can exit via the way you came in and just circle around the pinnacle to meet up with your group.
This site also has several other interesting lava formations off the main lava tube and a variety of marine life.
First Cathedrals has been the site for numerous underwater weddings and proposals and it is a great place for underwater photography.
Indeed, getting the best photographs, requires everyone going into the “cathedral” to be careful not to stir up the bottom, Otherwise, you will get a lot of backscatter in your photos.
Getting the Shot
In order to get the best lighting effects, I check the forecast to see when it is going to be sunny and then compare that to the Lahaina Divers’ schedule.
In fact, you will get the best photos when it is sunny. Then you can see rays of light coming through the holes in the lava tube and shining down inside.
Interestingly, you can frequently see turtles, dolphin, eagle rays, sharks and wide variety of fish, eels and coral. Please check out some of my other photos of First Cathedrals and underwater photography of Hawaii on my website.
The pool is open….