For a taste of the forbidden, head to Ni‘ihau, Hawaii.

Because visitors are barred from setting foot on the island, Ni‘ihau is nicknamed the “Forbidden Island.” But, fortunately, scuba divers are allowed to explore the surrounding waters below.

Traveling to Ni’ihau is a full day excursion. Depart from Kauai before sunrise with Seasport Divers and return around sunset. It’s a long day, but the views from the boat alone are well worth it. Not to mention the vertical walls, intriguing caves and unlimited visibility awaiting divers.

Expect to encounter lava rock formations, white tip and gray reef sharks and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. You’re likely to see spinner dolphins and have Oscar, the resident monk seal, pose for a photo or two. Not only will you most likely see monk seals, you may even hear them. It’s quite entertaining to hear the “whooping” call as one monk seal signals to another that he has come too close to his territory. This was easily the highlight of my three dives at Ni’iahu.

Seasport Divers runs trips to Ni’iahu twice a week from May to October. Make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time, the boat fills up fast!

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