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Snorkel Spots For Your Seattle To Hawaii Vacation

by Fergy Ferguson

When I go on my Seattle to Hawaii trips, I always try to get a little snorkeling in, even when I go on business like last month.  Yesterday I promised to give you some of my favorite snorkeling spots, so I thought I would give you some of the spots I frequented when I lived on Oahu first.

Many people traveling to Oahu and Waikiki are really unaware of the fact, that if you walk down the beach towards Diamond Head, there is a good spot right there in Waikiki with lots of colorful fish.  The spot is known as Queen’s Beach, on the Diamond Head side of the Waikiki, and runs up from the start of Kapiolani Park to the War Memorial Natatorium just past the Aquarium.  The reef right in front of the aquarium can be very active with lots of different kinds of marine life, but you need to make sure it’s a relatively calm day.  This area is also a popular surfing spot, with a break that comes in close to shore, so be sure to scope out your best spots to snorkel outside of the area where the boards can come in.(all of Waikiki is a popular surfing spot)

I would be remiss of course if I didn’t talk about Hanauma Bay, which has probably the most fish in any one spot in the islands.  It’s just that it’s extremely crowded, and quite a hassle to go there for me.  This is a great spot for beginners to get the “snorkel fever”, and I tell my clients when they go on their first Seattle to Hawaii trip to Waikiki, that the snorkel tours that go there are the best option, because you don’t have to go through the procedure of parking, paying, and taking the shuttle down to the bay. The tours take you down, provide gear and instruction, and really do a good job of education too.

As a surfer, I discovered Makaha Beach Park long ago when I first went to the islands.  This area is probably the next most popular snorkel spot on Oahu after Hanauma Bay.  There are plenty of great coral and reef formations that have many fish, turtles, eels, and the occasional octopus on view.  If you get lucky, you might be able to see some eagle and manta rays too. This is a spot that needs to be explored when the surf is down.  The beach here is one of the best on the island too, so the 40-45 minute drive from Waikiki is well worth it to make it at least a half day excursion.

After you hit Makaha, it’s time to head to the North Shore for Sharks Cove.  This cove is a virtual wonderland for those that may want to take their snorkeling up a notch and do some beach diving.  The snorkeling and diving here is world renowned, so it can be crowded, but get into the water and you will see why.  You can also walk out to the tide pools when the tide is out and do some exploring that way.  This is another spot where you need to be careful of large waves and currents.

The last spot on this quick tour is Kuilima Cove right next to The Turtle Bay Resort.  This little sandy cove has an amazing variety of sea life in a nicely protected area from the big waves and currents that dominate the North Shore.  I could prattle on about the value of all the prior spots, but just know they are all great places with lots of fish

When I go snorkeling on my Seattle to Hawaii trips, I tend to go to places where I know there are going to be lots of colorful fish, or where there will colorful coral with lots of nooks and crannies.  I am still processing pictures and videos from Warren and I’s business trip to Oahu in April, but I hope to have a brief video up later on my YouTube Channel showing a spot that Warren and I found in Lanakai.   Warren and I spent at least an hour there just marveling at the fact that we had found such a healthy set of coral heads.  It was gratifying to know that with care, it would eventually grow into a spectacular reef supporting a very diverse community of marine life.  I think what I am trying to say is that you don’t always have to focus on lots of fish to have a great time snorkeling.  The ocean surrounding Hawaii holds many wonders, and snorkeling is a wonderful way to explore those wonders.

I will continue this series next week with more of my favorite spots to snorkel on the other islands.  Tomorrow I will be writing about my training sessions I am taking today onboard the beautiful Celebrity Millennium at Pier 66 here in Seattle.

Fergy, 206-623-2490,,                                                                     Seattle to Hawaii Vacation Consultant

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