One hundred feet beneath the surface of Maunalua Bay, the Corsair⎯a World War II airplane—rests on a sandy floor. Its massive shell and magnetism for schools of soldier fish lures deep-sea explorers to the site every year. As divers propel themselves alongside the plane's wing and fuselage, they get an up-close look at the wreck's current residents, which range from colorful goatfish to reclusive moray eels.
With more than 30 years of experience, the scuba instructors at Waikiki Diving Center lead daily dives for certified divers to submerged sites such as the Cosair wreck. Earning a five-star Instructor Development Center designation from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the center's team coordinates parties of 12–14 people and takes them out on one of two customized dive boats—The Submariner or Snoopy V—for adventures ranging from snuggling sea turtles to earning PADI open-water certifications. To enhance visitors' experiences, Waikiki Diving Center's crew arranges complimentary shuttle service to and from Waikiki hotels.
Spash! Hawaii has been outfitting swimmers in suits and accessories for more than 30 years. Amid the din of fine shops and restaurants at the outdoor Ala Moana Center mall, the brightly lit store teems with racks of sport and recreational swimsuits from top lines such as Roxy, Volcom, and Billabong, as well as from local designers such as Honey Girl Water Wear. Its mannequins display lacy beach cover-ups and casual apparel, and a rainbow of Havaianas flip-flops sweeps down its display stands.
On his webpage, iDcard CEO Shawn Dohmen explains that his title stands for "Cheap Executive Officer"?a joke that references his fondness for finding deals on everything from restaurant tabs to golf games. Shawn's knack for saving money spawned the idea for his company, which provides discounts on goods and services from hundreds of businesses in Hawaii and elsewhere. It was his desire to save trees, however, which led to the iDcard. Instead of carting around a cumbersome coupon book in a baby stroller, customers redeem their deals by handing their iDcards to the many merchants that accept them.
Participating businesses in the iDcard network include restaurants, hotels, gyms, nightclubs, and pet groomers. Customers can show their card to sponsors over multiple visits, and receive the same discounted massage or meal each time. A downloadable phone app even alerts them to valid sponsors nearby, allowing them to easily locate opportunities for savings.
Though they both prize the feeling of wind in their sails, there's no way that 15th-century mariners ever had as much fun as the crew of Maita'i Catamaran. Maita'i's leisurely voyages begin from Waikiki Beach, where passengers board the 44-foot, twin-hulled catamaran before breezes catch the specially designed wing mast and carry the boat out onto the water. As the vessel glides across the crystalline waves, the gregarious crew invites guests to relax with beer, champagne, or mai tais as they soak in the sun and sea breezes to a soundtrack of catchy island melodies. For slightly more immersive oceanic experiences, Maita'i Catamaran also leads snorkeling excursions where passengers can swim amid butterflyfish and parrotfish and challenge humuhumunukunukuapua'a fish to spelling contests.
On the windward side of Oahu, the majestic Mokulau Islands embellish the sun-drenched horizon that faces Kailua, a beach town nestled directly below the Koolau Mountains. Here the aptly named Windward Watersports makes its home, under the direction of Jeff Tobias, a professional kitesurfer who helped to pioneer the sport locally. He and his staff leave the region's fragile ecosystem undisturbed as they lead passengers in exploring it via kayak, kiteboard, standup paddleboard, or surfboard. Patrons can rent the vessels for self-guided adventures into a bay teeming with as many sea turtles as a marine biologist's bathtub, or follow guides on kayak tours to surrounding points of natural splendor such as the "Mokes," only 45 minutes away. Strategically located, Windward Sports takes advantage of year-round trade winds and a temperature perpetually hovering around 80 degrees. Kailua serves as the ideal spot for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons. Jeff and his sporty employees craft lessons that cater to all abilities and focus on safe, fun recreation atop frothy crests.
A hidden world resides off Honolulu's coast. Beneath the water's surface, endangered sea turtles weave between schools of tropical fish, and vibrant coral covers the ocean's original hardwood floors. This is the destination for Aaron's Dive Shop's scuba exhibitions. A PADI five-star IDC center, Aaron's trains divers with a PADI curriculum that offers open-water certification programs.
Under the leadership of the owner, Jack, and the course director, Larry, Aaron's Dive Shop's PADI instructors guide their students through a natural progression of coursework. They start with time in the classroom, move on to train within confined swimming pools, and then eventually dive out in the Pacific Ocean. The dive masters can also develop more nuanced techniques such as night diving, wreck diving, and underwater photography. And when they're not underwater, the staff members can be found at their dive shop, which stocks gear from brands such as Aqualung and Oceanic.