Hawaii Scuba Diving Corsair Plane Wreck of Oahu-Honolulu scuba diving in Waikiki. Corsair Airplane Scuba Diving Location Oahu. Chance Vought F4U Corsair of Hawaii. Oahu's only Real Wreck Dive.
Diving on the Corsair plane wreck located in Oahu is a fantastic and exciting dive. Unfortunately this scuba dive in Hawaii is not for beginner divers nor is this wreck dive in Oahu a suitable dive for divers just out of certification. Erratic currents plagues this diving location making this a tricky dive. Add to the fact that the depth which is 108 feet makes this scuba dive a relative short endeavor. Now with all of that on the table lets talk about the positive side to this wonderful Oahu diving location. For one, this scuba dive will never be forgotten. It is the type of dive that you will talk about with your friends time and time again. Amazing what 16 minutes of your life underwater could be so worth talking about it.
Getting to this dive you will have to have an adequate dive plan to follow. Going with a knowledgably dive guide should be said as a must. Just winging this dive will just set you up for disaster therefore sticking by a good dive plan is rule number one. Most divers use a dive computer which I highly recommend. This will allow you a no nonsense approach to figuring out your bottom time.
Recreation dive tables and PADI Recreation Dive Planner say that a depth of 110 feet will have a bottom time of 16 minutes, that is a no decompression dive.
There is two mooring lines at the Corsair wreck location. Using the mooring line is a helpful and safe way of making you decent down to the wreck. Note that one mooring line is off the tail end of the Corsair wreck connected to a huge anchor while the other mooring line is connected to a homemade mooring line anchor- 6 or so tires placed in concrete. Using the line slowly make your decent and keep those ears cleared. Gloves are not required, the mooring lines are very clean of debris and stingy sea life that you may have encountered in other dives. Around 20 feet down, not deep at all you can pretty much see the Corsair wreck looming out from the depth. Around 80 feet so as long as the current is not bad go ahead and let go of the mooring line. Try swimming over the Corsair to get a great aerial picture. From this vantage point look around, 360 degrees and search for cool marine life that will not exactly be on the Corsair. This is the time we have found sharks, rays and even dolphins passing by. Since you are limited to that all-so-short bottom time, you will need to be wise and conserve your air. In other words, once you are down there do not try to race down and catch puffer fish. Save that for shallow dives. The Corsair dive is a deep dive and you must strictly manage your air supply. Checking your air gauges often will ensure a safe return. Circling around the Corsair wreck you will immediately notice the amount of fish that thrive here. For being such a small diving location there are thousands of fish that live on and around the Corsair wreck which surprises all divers.
Diving on the Corsair is also a underwater photographer's dream. Stuck in and around the wings are many cool fish including eels and scorpion fish that resemble leaves. Inspect closely and you may discover an octopus. Take pictures but do be careful. Eels love octopus so playing with the octopus is high discouraged. Many divemasters in Oahu have been bitten by aggressive eels getting excited over an octopus that the divemaster caught. Sticking your hand in to touch the octopus only signals to the eels that live in the wings where the octopus is located. Pictured right is a very lucky diver who got bitten "softly" by an eel after trying to pull out an octopus out from his burrow.
Those that are interested in the plane's damage will be a little disappointed. The Corsair wreck did not sustain a major blow when it crashed into the sea. By the looks of the plane the Corsair was gently bellied in and sank right away leaving the whole plane intact. The propeller is the part of the plane that shows immediate damaged sustained on impact. The wings, the rear stabilize and horizontal stabilizer did not sustain damage. Just years of divers most likely is the culprit behind why there are some pieces laying on the sand. The left wing is fully buried in sand which evidently is a good thing keeping the plane anchored well in those strong currents. The right wing is fully exposed which a great view beneath it as well. Even the engine is surprisingly intact with even stainless tubing and bolts can be seen. Moving to the cockpit you will notice narrow and small it was. The rudder pedals and stick are well encrusted in. Missing however are the gauges, the attitude indicated, speed indicator and engine gauges such as the oil pressure are all but gone. The compass affectionately known as the whiskey compass is still there however impossible to read due to the 50 years or more of marine growth.
Sitting in the cockpit looks tempting. Inside the cockpit is a huge moray eel that calls this special are his home. Caution is advised. Another point is this wreck is old therefore you must dive on eggshells when close to the Corsair wreck Hawaii. This wreck is strong, very strong however the more we touch and disturbed the more this beloved prized dive site will slowly succumb.
Stop and take a good look around. You will see thousands of small spaghetti-like eels waving in the currents in the sand. These are garden eels and they are very hard to get a close up picture of. I have all but gave up on this. The flat sandy bottom also attracts stingrays looking for sea urchins and small crabs to dine on.
Start ascent when reaching "1000PSI - 60BAR "or 16 minutes which ever comes first.
I recommend leaving the bottom around 1000PSI or around 60BAR. Making a made dash for the mooring lines are not a very good idea AND getting on your partners alternate air source is not a wise thing to do. Use that mooring line as your tool for the ascent, slowly going up and make sure you stop at 15feet or 5 meters for 3 minutes. A safely stop is always a cheap insurance maneuver on a deep dive.