I was so looking forward to our day of snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. You see, this bay has some sentimental value to me as it was the location of my very first snorkeling experience in the ocean about 20 years ago (ACK! AGE.). When I snorkeled this bay way-back-when it was amazing! The water was crystal blue, loads of fish, sea turtles, eels, and so on and so forth. I hadn’t been back to Hanauma Bay since the 1990’s so I was unprepared for what awaited me.
As we pulled up, everything looked pretty much the same. A few things had changed, like the price of admission, there used to not be one… but that’s absolutely to be expected. There was also a 20 minute required viewing of a movie to make you aware of the bay’s natural habitats, the creatures that live in the bay, and just generally how to behave in a nature park. I quickly came to realize this movie was necessary because Hanauma Bay had become probably THE MOST POPULAR snorkeling spot on the whole island (maybe even the entire state?). Holy WOW was the evidence of Man ever present at the bay. Right down to the little bus things you could pay for to drive you down and back from the cliff to the bay.
Mike and I had planned for a full day of snorkeling so we came prepared. We rented our snorkel gear (I recommend this method whenever traveling requires you to stay light on the luggage) and anxiously jumped into the ocean! Unfortunately, the water is cloudy making visibility not ideal. There are fish… but not a whole lot else. When we met back up with each other to review our findings and decide which areas were worth more exploration we both came back with the same results; “not a whole lot out there…” In other areas we’ve snorkeled we’ve become used to seeing all kinds of various signs of life with in the first 20 minutes of the adventure. However at Hanauma Bay, we snorkeled for about 3 hours and didn’t see even a quarter of what we’ve seen elsewhere.
But, let’s not forget one VERY important thing to this seemingly negative blog post… I AM IN HAWAII. So for every fraction of a second I spent complaining about the lack of awesome snorkeling environment at Hanauma Bay there were tens of millions of seconds spent basking in the gorgeousness that make up Oahu. I gotta say, laying on the beach in the hot sun with the gorgeous ocean in front of me and the warm water tickling my toes whenever I needed a cool off is NOT a bad way to spend a day. Good snorkeling or no.
So Hanauma Bay was mostly a bust. It’s still a special place for me. And, if nothing else, the trip to Hanauma Bay in 2011 reminded me of the incredible impact Man has on the environment (oh no folks… I’m going Green in this blog entry!!). So next time I’m out snorkeling, I’ll be extra careful about where I snorkel, where I step (not that I step on the coral anyway… but it’s always good to be reminded) and what I take with me into, and out of, the water.
Okay, no more Green talk, now it’s time for the pictures!
All of these images were made with our point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot D10. This camera is waterproof, making it perfect for treks such as this!