Posts Tagged With: Snorkelling

All the gear- no idea.


Today we had to be up at 5-45 for an exciting pre-booked trip. This was our day to go snorkelling in the Molokini Crater. The remains of this extinct volcano have been flooded by the sea and the crater wall has formed a protected reef. The water here is about 100 feet deep and absolutely crystal clear.

I’d been really excited about this trip and as lots of different companies offer it, I’d spent hours making sure I chose the right trip for us. Should we go on a smart yacht with just a few other people or should we chose a smaller vessel [rib?] which was able to get there faster and visit both sides of the crater wall? Or should I opt for a trip which also promised to spend time in Turtle Town? In the end I opted for a company called Four Winds which got very good write ups on trip advisor and which seemed to offer a family friendly catamaran trip for about 100 people. This trip seemed to offer the maximum time snorkelling at Molokini itself and stayed away from places where there could be strong currents.

We arrived at Maalaea Harbour at 7am and were soon boarding the tidy boat. The trip did not disappoint and yes- there were some very loud people on board but it was not overly crowded and the captain gave an informative commentary as we cruised along. the staff were also very friendly.

When we arrived at the crater there were already about 10 other boats there. As Jane and I had all our own gear we were straight in the water off the back of the boat- easy access down some steps. As soon as I put my head in the water it took my breath away- it was SO deep and blue and clear. Man- was it deep! Jane the ‘not very confident swimmer’ was also in and off- which never fails to amaze me. Brave girl!

We swam over closer to the wall where the reef was nearer the surface and its here that the greatest variety of fish were hanging out. The boat trip catered for everyone – there were boards with windows for the kids to use, there was something called ‘snuba’ which you could try and which allows you to go underwater and breath attached to a tube without all the gas tanks associated with scuba. There was also a slide off the boat and others which looked fun -but not for ladies of a certain age methinks! They also provided a good lunch and once you’d finished snorkelling, you could enjoy the free bar!

Jane and I did two snorkel sessions- one one each side of the boat. The after lunch session was on the right hand side the coral was beautiful and the variety of fish even better. In total we had about two hours here, which was much more than any of the other boats, and Jane and I made the most of it. We then enjoyed the sunshine, beer and reggae music on the return journey. They even arranged to amuse us with two dolphins swimming alongside us at the bow of the boat.

By the time we got back to our place it was only about 1-30 still and didn’t want to just waste the afternoon lazing about! So we got back in the car and drove up to a beach called Kahekili in the middle of the resort metropolis of Kanapaali. Again this is an area right in amongst the big hotels- specifically here the Westin but this being Hawaii- they have to offer beach access- hurrah! My guide book gave this beach 3 stars and said it had ‘everything’.

By now Jane and I were feeling like pro-snorkelers so we cooly walked down the beach put on our flippers and masks and got ready to dive in. What we hadn’t noticed was quite how forceful the pull and push of the wave break here is. I immediately got dragged out and then knocked off my feet. This was fine but then the next wave pushed me right up the sand sideways and I couldn’t move my legs (and flippers) fast enough to stop them hitting Jane and totally wiping her out too. It must have looked hilarious but it was highly embarrassing to be tossed about in the shallows in this way (not to mention a tiny bit scary) and so we got out asap and walked coyly back to the grassy area and hid in our deck chairs.

Jane read her book and I did a sketch of what we had now nicknamed ‘Wipeout Beach’ with some dark threatening clouds heading our way. But it wasn’t long before I heard a little boy shout ‘At last, I’ve seen a turtle’ very excitedly and a little girl going back down the beach telling her Mom she was ‘going to see the turtles again’. What?! Oh—right now I decided to brave it again. This time I chose my entry point more carefully- it was amazing – as soon as I got over the wave break I was then pulled about 10 metres out- along with all the fish. It does then push you back in again so you just need to get used to the flow. However, because of the swell the water here was a bit murky and I didn’t see anything new and certainly not any turtles. Boo.

Now all I needed to do was get out again. This involved picking a sandy channel through the reef and then just waiting for the swell to spit me out onto the beach whilst trying to look vaguely dignified. I was able to tell Jane she hadn’t missed anything.

Despite this experience at ‘Wipeout beach’ it had been a fabulous day and we celebrated with cocktails and brownies at the Air BNB before going out to dinner at the Aloha Mixed Plate. The added bonus of this restaurant is that you get to listen to the music from the Lu’au next door. Think Hula Girls and beating drums. Lovely.

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Today I snorkelled in a volcano.

All the info told us we had to be up early today. Not a problem for us as we are still adjusting to time difference. So by 8am we were ready to set out in Betty the Beetle heading for Hanauma Bay.

I made a good start by turning out of our car park onto the wrong side of the road only to find myself facing the oncoming traffic as it turned our corner. Hm perhaps I should have made my coffee a bit stronger?

Anyway after this little incident we proceeded to H1 but in the opposite direction today. It was altogether a more relaxed drive and after about 40 mins we were passing the scenic viewpoint and turning into the Park. We had made it in time to get a parking space …apparently you have to be there by 10am to do this.

So then we wandered upto the top to admire the views which were spectacular. Hanauma Bay has basically been formed out of a collapsed volcano cone and the crater filled with sea water and a reef was formed. It is totally tropical and despite being the number 1 tourist destination in Hawaii, it is beautifully maintained as a Conservation park. Well done the State of Hawaii.

After a hot wait for our orientation, we were allowed into the air conditioned auditorium and given a talk on how the bay was formed. However the main point was health and safety which was really quite off putting! It was useful though as they told you about how far out you could go and where the rip tides were. Rip tides😦

Then we were keen to get down to the beach and we found ourselves a nice little spot under a coconut palm on the grass , keeping in mind Jane’s new aversion to sand!

We went straight in and it wasn’t quite as calm as I’d expected. There was a bit of a swell which pulled you about a bit. However, as usual once Jane had her head in the water , she was off!

During the day we snorkelled four times with short breaks in between and tried different spots. It was definitely better away from the crowds.

The underwater topography is amazing with channels and deep pools and we saw a huge array of fish…just like at the Aquarium. It really didn’t disappoint. One particular highlight near the end of our day was when we suddenly saw a massive shoal of fish bursting towards us. It was really impressive but next minute it was gone! I had fun trying out my new underwater camera but I think I need a bit more practice as I kept missing the actual fish!

At the end of the day we caught the golf buggy up the slope and had a lovely time talking to the volunteers.

We drove back into the city and got rid of Betty then went out for dinner at Dukes. We sat outside underneath the tall palm trees and tiki torches, listening to the surf. Perfect.

Anyway here is a little fishy quiz for you. Which one of the following is not a fish that you would find in Hawaii?

a) Square Spot Anthias b) Blotched Foxface Rabbitfish c) Red Toothed Trigger Fish d) Bi- Coloured Dottyback e) Yellow Tangfastic f) Orange Spine Unicorn Fish g) Stripey or finally g) Ambon Toby.

Good Luck and goodnight x

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