Oahu--Over and Under

Hanauma Bay

June, 5, 2012          The most popular snorkeling spots in Oahu is found at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  Because of its’ beauty and proximity to Waikiki (only 10 miles east,) the park is frequently full by noon.  Water temperature is between 75 and 80.  Alan was able to get along with a long sleeved lightweight snorkel shirt, but I would have been sitting on the shore if not for the wet suit.  Winds were relatively high, 20-25 mph, during our visit, which meant the water was cloudy; but we still saw a nice variety of colorful tropical fish.  Large gardens of reefs are located close to the shore; a greater variety of sea life, including turtles, can be seen just outside the reef, but the strong currents and cloudy water prevented our exploring that part of the Bay.

Living in Florida, where a great deal of oceanfront land is privately owned, it was refreshing to see the large number of public parks available on our drive along the perimeter road, the Kalaniana’ole Hwy.

Halona Blowhole
The Halona Blowhole was formed by volcanic eruptions, which created tubes down to the ocean, when the tides are right and the winds are strong, the water shoots up through the tube about 30 feet.  On our visit we were treated to numerous eruptions of the water.  During the winter whale-watching season, whales can frequently be sighted from the overview offered at the Blowhole. 

Coconut Man
Sandy Beach, which is visible from the lookout at Halona Blowhole, is famous for body boarding and body surfing.  The water was fairly full of surfers in spite of the rough tides.  As we departed Sandy Beach, we spotted a man selling cold coconuts at a roadside stand.  We decided this would be a perfect mid afternoon snack.  With great dexterity and the use of a very sharp cleaver, he deftly opened the coconut for us.  When we were finished with the coconut water, he peeled and chopped the remaining coconut in less than a minute. 

Reaching the little town of Olomana, we were able to find a quick lunch and a Whole Foods Market to stock up on groceries.  In spite of the large population of Honolulu, there seemed to be a dearth of grocery stores.  In the city, there are ABC Stores (like a convenience store) on almost every street; they provide everything from macadamia nuts to wine and sunscreen to T-shirts, but limited grocery items.  The Whole Foods Market provided an incredible selection of fresh,organic produce.  We were like a couple of kids in a candy store.  Exhausted from our day in the water and exploring, we took the short cut through the mountains and returned to Honolulu.

We made it!
Earlier in the week, we had decided not to climb the ancient crater of Diamond Head to the top.  Smart move on our part; we never would have made it on that day.  But we returned refreshed and by car this time, so we eliminated the long walk to the park.  Walking the 1.5 mile round trip at Diamond Head typically takes around 1½ -2 hours.  The steep steps to the top are a bit intimidating; but we managed to complete the walk in about 2 hours with numerous breaks to catch our breath and snap pictures of the gorgeous views of Waikiki and Maunalua Bay. 

Next we’ll be driving up the North Shore for more snorkeling and to check out the legendary Waimea Bay.
Sandy Beach from Blowhole Lookout

Waikiki from top of Diamond Head

Maunalua Bay from Diamond Head

The long trek up

The final climb

Through the crater

Down in the crater


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