In this video by DiveVibe, you will learn how to dive (or snorkel) at 2 Step, a popular dive site on the Big Island of Hawaii. The video provides a demonstration of the entry point, which is through a set of steps that lead to the water. It also showcases sightings of amberjacks and a shark, along with the stunning cascading plate coral. The video emphasizes the importance of following rules, such as not being loud, not disturbing marine life, and not standing on coral. Additionally, it mentions the significance of having a flag and float when diving in Hawaii, as well as the option for solo diving with proper certification. If you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii, even if you don’t dive, this video is worth checking out for tips on snorkeling at 2 Step.

Getting to 2 Step

Directions to 2 Step

To get to the 2 Step dive site on the Big Island of Hawaii, head to South Kona in Captain Cook. It is a well-known and popular dive site, suitable for both diving and snorkeling. When driving to the dive site, it important to park in the right location to ensure easy access to the water and to be considerate to other divers and snorkelers. There are designated parking areas available, so be sure to follow the instructions provided.

Parking Information

Parking can be a challenge at 2 Step, especially for divers carrying heavy equipment. However, there are options available. Snorkelers can park along the ocean if space is available, or there is a pay-to-park parking lot to the right, which benefits the painted church. Divers, on the other hand, have to carry heavier gear and might need to park further away. It is important to be considerate and mindful of others when parking and to not park in prohibited areas, such as the national park. Follow the designated parking spaces and be cautious of pedestrians and other divers or snorkelers in the area.

Preparing for the Dive/Snorkel

Checklist of Equipment

Before heading to 2 Step, make sure you have all the necessary equipment for a successful dive or snorkel. For divers, this includes a tank and BCD, fins, mask, and other personal diving equipment. It is recommended to rent equipment from a reputable dive shop like Jack’s Diving Locker, as they provide quality gear and offer unlimited tank fills. Snorkelers should have a mask, snorkel, and fins, ensuring they are comfortable and fit properly. Checking and preparing your equipment beforehand is crucial for your safety and enjoyment at the dive site.

Safety Guidelines

Safety should always be a top priority when diving or snorkeling. Before entering the water at 2 Step, it is important to be aware of and follow safety guidelines. These include knowing your limits, diving within your certification level, and having a buddy system in place. It is also necessary to be mindful of the conditions and any potential hazards, such as strong currents or sharp coral. Practicing proper buoyancy control and being aware of your surroundings can help prevent accidents or injuries. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated and well-rested before diving or snorkeling to maintain optimal safety.

Entering the Water

Using the Steps

The entry point at 2 Step is through a set of steps, which make it easy to access the water. These steps got their name from the two lava steps that provide a simple and convenient entry into the dive site. When using the steps, it is essential to be careful and take your time. Wet surfaces can be slippery, so make sure to hold onto the railing and watch your footing. If necessary, take assistance from other divers or snorkelers in entering the water safely.

Choosing a Direction

Once you reach the drop-off, you have the option to go north or south. While you can explore in either direction, it is recommended to go south, which is to the left. Heading south will lead you to some of the highlights of the dive site, including cascading plate coral and potential sightings of whitetip reef sharks. Be mindful of any directional markers or guides that may be present in the area and always be aware of your surroundings.

How to Dive (or Snorkel) at 2 Step (Big Island, Hawaii)

This image is property of

Exploring the Dive Site

Cascading Plate Coral

One of the main attractions at 2 Step is the cascading plate coral. This unique and impressive coral formation provides a grand and epic underwater view. As you head further south from the drop-off, you will come across this stunning sight. Take the time to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the coral, but remember to be cautious and avoid causing any damage to it or disturbing the marine life around it.

Sightings of Whitetip Reef Sharks

Another exciting feature of diving at 2 Step is the chance to spot whitetip reef sharks. These sharks often hang out in the sandy areas below coral overhangs. While they are not particularly rare in deeper waters, seeing them on the reef is a special treat. Be sure to maintain a respectful distance from the sharks and avoid any sudden movements or actions that could startle or stress them. Remember, your presence in their underwater habitat should be gentle and respectful.

Marine Life at 2 Step


During your dive or snorkel at 2 Step, keep an eye out for amberjacks. These fish are known to make appearances in the area and are a delight to encounter. While not extremely rare, they are not commonly seen on the reef, so spotting them is always a special moment. Amberjacks are known to be friendly and may even accompany you throughout your dive. Enjoy observing their behavior but remember to maintain a respectful distance and avoid any abrupt movements that could startle them.

Shark Sightings

In addition to amberjacks, there is also the possibility of encountering sharks at 2 Step. As mentioned before, whitetip reef sharks can be spotted in the area, particularly in the sandy areas near coral overhangs. Spotting a shark can be an exciting experience, but it is important to remain calm and composed. Sharks are a vital part of the marine ecosystem and deserve our respect. Observe them from a distance and refrain from touching or attempting to interact with them.

Rules and Etiquette

Keeping Noise Levels Low

When diving or snorkeling at 2 Step, it is essential to keep noise levels low. Excessive noise underwater can disrupt the marine life and the peaceful environment of the dive site. Be mindful of your movements and interactions to avoid creating unnecessary disturbances. By keeping noise levels low, you can enhance the overall experience for yourself and others while minimizing any negative impact on the marine environment.

Respecting Marine Life

Respecting the marine life at 2 Step is crucial for the preservation of the ecosystem. Be mindful of the delicate balance of nature and avoid touching, harassing, or provoking any marine creatures you encounter. Remember that you are a visitor in their underwater home, and their well-being should always be a top priority. Observe marine life from a respectful distance and never attempt to chase, grab, or ride any animals.

Avoiding Damage to Coral

Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems that need to be protected. Avoid standing or touching coral at 2 Step, as even the slightest touch can cause damage. The cascading plate coral and other coral formations are vital for the survival of many marine species. By being cautious and respectful, you can help preserve these beautiful natural structures for future generations to enjoy.

Diving with a Flag and Float

Importance of Having a Flag

In Hawaii, it is illegal to dive without a flag and a float. This is an important safety measure to alert boaters and other watercraft to the presence of divers in the area. Having a flag makes you more visible and reduces the risk of accidents or collisions. When diving at 2 Step or any other dive site in Hawaii, it is crucial to follow this regulation and ensure that you have a flag and float with you at all times.

Choosing the Right Float

When selecting a float for diving in Hawaii, it is important to choose one that is durable and highly visible. The float should be able to support the weight of the flag and remain buoyant even in rough conditions. Many dive shops offer flags and floats specifically designed for diving in Hawaii, so it is recommended to invest in a high-quality float that meets all the necessary requirements. Remember, your safety and the safety of others depend on having a reliable flag and float.

Solo Diving at 2 Step

Certification Requirements

If you are interested in solo diving at 2 Step, it is essential to understand the certification requirements and the necessary precautions. Solo diving requires a higher level of training and competence to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Before attempting to dive alone, it is crucial to complete a solo diving course and gain the necessary certification. These courses provide valuable knowledge and skills to navigate the unique challenges of solo diving and manage potential risks effectively.

Safety Precautions

Solo diving comes with its own set of risks and challenges. It is important to take the necessary safety precautions and be well-prepared for any situation that may arise. This includes having a thorough understanding of your equipment, conducting proper safety checks before each dive, and having redundant systems in place. Solo divers should also have a clear plan in mind, including dive time limits and emergency procedures. Regular communication with a surface support system or dive buddy is highly recommended, even for experienced solo divers.

Tips for a Successful Dive/Snorkel

Monitoring Air Supply

Whether you are diving or snorkeling at 2 Step, closely monitoring your air supply is crucial for your safety. Keep a constant check on your air gauge to ensure you have enough breathing gas for the duration of your dive. Snorkelers should also be aware of their breathing patterns and take breaks when necessary. Proper air management will allow you to enjoy and explore the dive site without any unnecessary risks.

Maintaining Buoyancy

Maintaining good buoyancy control is essential when diving or snorkeling. Proper buoyancy allows you to move effortlessly through the water and avoid accidental contact with the reef or other marine life. Practice buoyancy control techniques before your dive and make any necessary adjustments to your equipment to ensure optimal buoyancy. Snorkelers should also be mindful of their body position in the water to avoid disturbing the marine environment.

Navigating Underwater

Having good navigation skills is important for exploring the dive site effectively. Familiarize yourself with the layout of 2 Step and any landmarks or reference points that can help you navigate underwater. Pay attention to your surroundings, use natural features as guides, and consider using a compass or dive computer to assist with navigation. Snorkelers can also benefit from observing the direction of currents and adjusting their course accordingly.


Diving or snorkeling at 2 Step on the Big Island of Hawaii offers an incredible underwater experience. With its unique features, including cascading plate coral and the possibility of spotting whitetip reef sharks, 2 Step is a must-visit dive site. By following the rules and guidelines, respecting marine life, and practicing safe diving or snorkeling techniques, you can have a memorable and enjoyable experience at 2 Step. Remember to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world while being mindful of your impact on the delicate marine ecosystem.