Garden Isle Divers

Build A Life You Don’t Need A Vacation From

image of a Sandbar SharkIt’s a normal human impulse to label everything with a name or title.  I’m pretty sure that’s just part of the upgrade package we were given when language became a part of being people.  We have this really amazing ability to use sounds to share meaning and experience with others so it makes sense that we use this ability to give names to the wide variety of objects, people, things, etc. that we find around us.  One of the most rewarding classes of thing to label, according to me, is myriad of cool creatures we find while scuba diving.  In this article I want to share some Hawaii fish and sea creature identification resources.

Keoki Stender’s Marine Life Photography     image of a Hairy Hermit Crab

Keoki hosts the most comprehensive site that exists for marine life found in tropical Pacific waters.  He has done an incredible job of finding and cataloging just about everything you are likely to find while scuba diving in Hawaii.  He’s also got most of the stuff your probably never going to see except in one of his pictures!  He’s the first person I contact when I find something I’ve not seen before and can’t locate in any of my commonly used resources.  Check out his site here –

Terry Lilly’s Fish ID Website    image of a Dwarf Moray Eel

Terry is a Kauai based biologist who has spent the past couple decades monitoring Kauai’s coral reefs and helping others to understand and combat the challenges that are making life difficult for corals.  He is underwater pretty much every day of the year, diving from shore, his kayak, or our boat.  We are pleased to have the opportunity to take him to sites that are otherwise difficult for him to get to so he can do his work protecting the reefs we love.  He recently launched a new site that is a collection of slide shows you can use to help identify many of Kauai’s more common fish and reef creatures.  His site will be regularly updated so check back from time to time to see the new goodies.  Check out his site here –

John Hoover’s ID Books    image of a Guardian Crab

John’s books are, without question, the best source for print based Hawaii fish and sea creature identification.  Everything you’re likely to see can be found in the books.  He has a couple that are all fish and one that is everything else.  Pretty much every dive boat in the state of Hawaii has a copy of these books.  If you dive with a shop that doesn’t have a copy onboard then… Well, what do you even say about a shop that doesn’t care about what they’re seeing?  John is a humble guy who is a true champion in his field.  We look forward to diving with him when he’s on Kauai.  Check out his site here –

Sea Slugs of Hawaii    image of a nudibranch

Fish are the most common, sharks are the most exciting, but slugs are frequently the most beautiful sea creatures you can find in Hawaii.  Cory Pittman is the expert on Pacific sea slugs.  And, his partner on this site – Pauline Fiene, is legendary in the Hawaii scuba dive community.  As a huge lover of nudibranch’s, this is one of my favorite sites.  Every sea slug in the Pacific that has been photographed is identified and can be found here.  In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to find the one’s you saw while diving Kauai.  Check out the site here –