Liveaboard Diving in Turtle Pinnacle


Turtle Pinnacle is a highly popular dive site and a favorite of Hawaiian liveaboard tours. The dive site is located off the west coast of the Big Island, north of Kona, and approximately halfway to the north tip of the island. This site is interesting because it is a natural cleaning station for Green Sea Turtles. Here divers on a liveaboard dive tour can get up close and personal with the docile species. Green Sea Turtles are a threatened species and are protected by federal law, so it is important to remember to look but don’t touch. Due to the high activity of marine life at this spot, there is plenty of opportunities for the underwater photography enthusiast to capture amazing images here.

Turtle Pinnacle is not an overly deep dive, with an average depth of 12 meters and a maximum depth of 18 meters. Typically, the visibility at this dive site is excellent, ranging somewhere between 45 meters and 60 meters. Average surface temperature is approximately 26˚C/78˚F while the average bottom temperature is 24˚C/75˚F. These temperatures are slightly cooler than average tropical water temperatures, so it is advisable to wear either a 3mm or a 5mm wetsuit. The current in this area is usually light. The combination of the light current and depths on the shallow side makes this a fun and relaxing dive perfect for certified divers of any experience level.


Turtle Pinnacle is a site that is less about the small pinnacle and more about the turtles that can be spotted around it. You can usually count on seeing a number of Green Sea Turtles hanging around Turtle Pinnacle at the same time. The gentle turtles visit the area to get a “spa treatment” from the resident cleaner fish that populate the area. These cleaner fish are mainly surgeonfish (also known as tang) and they mostly consume algae. The turtles will swim about or spread out on the bottom and attract a handful of tang, who proceed to consume the algae from the turtle’s shell. They will stay until they are adequately cleaned, then they will turn and swim out into the open ocean, pop up to the surface for a breath of fresh air, or nestle down on the bottom of the reef for a quick nap.

Also seen in the area are moray eels, octopuses, and sometimes even the occasional Manta or a passing pod of Spinner Dolphins. The healthy reef has some thriving growths of corals such as nice spreads of sheet coral.


Turtle Pinnacle located on the north side of Kailua-Kona, and is best visited aboard a liveaboard dive cruise. Doing so will allow divers to span the range from northern to southern dive sites, something that is usually not offered through land-based dive operations.

The easiest travel option is to fly into Kona International Airport (KOA). KOA is conveniently located a short 20-minute drive from the port of departure, Kailua Pier. Airlines that operate out of KOA are Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, United, US Airways, and WestJet. Island Air and GO! Mokulele also operates out of KOA, offering interisland service, and connecting international flights. Nonstop service is offered between Kona and the cities of Vancouver, Canada, Seattle WA, San Jose CA, Oakland CA, Portland OR, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, Denver CO, Chicago IL, and Phoenix AZ.

Transfers to and from the airport are not included in the price of the liveaboard tour and are the sole responsibility of the consumer. There are several private and shared shuttle and taxi services available on the airport grounds. These can be booked ahead or flagged upon arrival, depending on the operator of choice.

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