Hawaii – Day 7 of 15, Snorkeling Hanauma Bay

Today began with a fruit I have never seen or heard of before, the Dragon Fruit.  I bought it at the Honolulu Farmers’ Market.  When whole, it looks like a cross between a pineapple and an artichoke, only it’s red.  It is about the size of a small mango.

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The Dragon Fruit
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A whole dragon fruit. When cut open it was beet-red with a lot of seeds. Sort of a red kiwi. It had an exotic flavor, not sweet, not tart, but exotic the way a papaya is.

Our destination today was Hanauma Bay.  Lauded as the finest snorkeling in all of the Hawaiian Islands, it did not disappoint!

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Hanauma Bay

Nestled between two large craters, this small bay is a wildlife preserve and the fish seem to know it.  I don’t have underwater photo gear, so I don’t have pictures but it was like swimming in an aquarium!  Brightly colored fish were everywhere!  It was like being on the set of Finding Nemo.

Here is a link to the Honolulu Parks Dept official website for Hanauma Bay and it has a slide show of all the fish one can see and we saw all  of them!

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Beach level at Hanauma Bay

The snorkeling is almost surreal.  Because of the rain elsewhere on the island, the crowds were unusually small and my wife and I had much of the bay to ourselves.  It’s a great feeling to float just below the surface with no effort, and move with just a small kick of the fins.

All around us were fish I have only seen in aquariums, and a lot of them!  The bay is filled with coral reef and it created a sort of path we could swim through.  under every reef and all around it were hundreds of brilliant colored fish.  My first thought as we glided through the water was that it felt like flying and the reef looked like canyons below.

Then I realized a better analogy was that if felt like being a fish!  We could see everything and occasionally one of us would point something out to the other.  The fish were not the least bit disturbed and simply went about their business.

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This shot of the bay shows the reef (dark area) and the brighter sandy areas acted as passageways to swim around the reefs.

We left Hanauma Bay and drove up the eastern or Windward Shore of Oahu.  There were dramatic lush green mountains that came right down to the roadside.  This is the result of volcanoes.  The effect is inspiring and I could not take enough pictures.

We also saw some roadside beaches with big surf and real surfers!  This was really exciting.  They paddle pretty far off shore and seem to wait a long time for the right wave but when it comes they jump up on their feet and ride it often for a long time!

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Surfers on the Windward Coast

Also along the road are numerous shrimp farms and roadside shacks and trucks that sell the shrimp.

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A typical roadside shrimp truck

My wife Alice has been a pretty good sport on all of the food adventures so today, in deference to her we opted for a little more upscale than the shrimp truck.

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The rather posh Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore

We ate at the posh Turtle Bay Resort, site of the 2002 surfer movie Blue Crush.  This resort is at the very northern tip of Oahu.  Lunch included a couple of local beers that have become favorites of ours.

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Two great local beers.

Today was our last full day on Oahu.  Tomorrow it’s off to Maui.



  1. I have never been to Hawaii and I am definitely enjoying your travelogue. But I think you should maybe take a vacation from blogging too – you deserve it.

    I’ve had the Kona Fire Rock, but not the Big Wave – hope it was good!

    We’ll miss you at the trivia tournament tomorrow!


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this adventure – it’s like being there myself. I am so happy you are enjoying it so much!Gives me a great deal of pleasure.
    Love you both, continue to have a ball – after 25 years, you’ve earned it!!

  3. I spent some time at Hanauma Bay and it is wondrous. I recall walking along the left side of the bay and discovered some “blowholes” that jetted with the incoming tide. It is really a lot of thought to do such a nice accounting and reporting of your adventure! I am equally impressed by your energy and the amount of time you can spend there!

  4. We had a wonderful time at Hanauma bay. It’s a perfect spot for families to experience Hawaii’s sealife. If your driving, get there early since the parking lot can fill up by 10am. The bay is a preservation and efforts are made to keep it nice for future generations. Snorkeling is really amazing – so many colorful fish. There was some surge on the day we visited so the visibility was not great. The fish are pretty tame. Before entering, you’ll need to see a short video on the reef. Be sure to look your car and take valuables with you as the lot is known for theft. Here’s some photos from our visit to Hanauma Bay. https://lookintohawaii.com/hawaii/4187/hanauma-bay-nature-preserve-beach-park-beach-oahu-honolulu-hi

    Tom @ https://lookintohawaii.com

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