Hanauma Bay

I know I’ve been letting time slip by between posts but that’s just how life is.  I’m sure you understand.

So, while I was in Hawaii, on one of the afternoons that Trey was working, I took a bus tour around the eastern part of Oahu.  I wanted to see some of that lush tropical landscape that you don’t really get to see staying on Waikiki Beach.  I mentioned the tour before when I posted about the surfers.  Our next stop was at an overlook for Hanauma Bay.  Hanauma Bay is famous for its snorkeling.  I had wanted to go snorkeling before anyway, but after seeing this, I REALLY wanted to go.

Yes, that is crystal clear water and you can easily see the reef areas.  Someone even from this height said they saw a fish swimming around the reef.  I’m not so sure, but I guess anything’s possible.

I know this picture isn’t very clear – I shrank the photos a little too much this morning – but it tells you about some of the sea life around Hawaii and in Hanauma Bay.  No, there weren’t any whales in the bay.  Don’t be silly.

When Trey and I went back on Friday to snorkel in the bay, the weather was not as cooperative as it was on the day I took the pictures.  There was a storm front somewhere “out there” in the Pacific causing lots of waves and currents around the island.  Even in the secluded bay area, waves were breaking over the reef and the water wasn’t as clear and pretty.  Hanauma Bay has a video, about 10 minutes long, that everyone snorkeling has to watch.  It tells the story about Hanauma Bay and how it formed and the history of it as a park.  It also warned us to not touch the fish, not feed them and don’t walk on the reef.  The reef is a living thing and walking on it damages it.  Oh, and Trey shared a story about a coworker getting bit by an eel because she tried to touch it.  Yikes.

So we get down to the water and see a line of small waves breaking over some of the reef that’s close to the surface.  We decide to go the other way.  Neither of us are comfortable enough in mask and snorkel to brave waves.  Our first trip out we swam over sand then got to a big section of reef that was, literally, less than a foot from our stomachs.  I’ll admit I got a little panicky.  I kept expecting an eel to come out and bite my stomach.  We quickly made it back to the sandy part where we could stand up and regroup.  We started over and stayed clear of the reef until we were used to swimming with the mask and snorkel.

Oh, the fish we saw!  It was INCREDIBLE!  Big fish, little fish, brightly colored fish, red fish, blue fish, one fish, two — oops, sorry.  Got a little off track by Dr. Seuss.  There was a point, though, where Trey had had enough with the rough water and the waves breaking over his head.  (On a side note, Trey doesn’t always do well with things covering his face – he gets a touch of claustrophobia sometimes.)  So, we left the water and headed back to our spot on the beach.  We had managed to snorkel all the way across the bay so we walked back across the sand watching the others swimming and sun bathing.

After a break, I decided I wanted to go back in.  I was a little more comfortable in the water than Trey and I still hadn’t seen a sea turtle.  During the course of the week, I had heard from several people that sea turtles are seen almost every day at Hanauma Bay, so I was so hoping I’d get to see one.  I went back out over the sand where we first snorkeled and headed to the reef.  It happened to be an area where there weren’t too many people at the time.  After a few minutes, I figured I was done, but then I caught a glimpse of something that wasn’t a fish.  I turned to look back, thinking it was an eel, and saw the front flipper of a sea turtle!!!  He was big, like 2-3 feet across his shell, and just floating along eating off the reef.  There was no one else around me and I was too far to get Trey’s attention so I just hung out with the turtle for a few minutes.  It was AWESOME!  Then we got spotted by a group of about 6 or 8 tourists who swarmed this poor little turtle.  Not so awesome.

After a few minutes trying to keep from getting kicked in the face by a stray flipper I decided to head back to the beach.  I had come to see a sea turtle and I did, so I was good with calling it done for the day.

What an amazing morning!

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