Hanauma Bay is a world-renowned marine sanctuary known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life. This natural wonder, formed within a volcanic crater, offers visitors an unparalleled snorkeling experience and a wide range of activities to indulge in. Lets explore the snorkeling opportunities and various activities that make Hanauma Bay a must-visit destination for ocean enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Snorkeling Safety Tips
Before embarking on your snorkeling adventure, take note of these safety tips:
Do not snorkel if you can’t swim
If you can not swim, do not try to snorkel! It is not that you can’t put your feet in the water, but If you want to see more things you have to be sure in your swimming skills. Snorkeling is not a joke and if you go deeper, you should be aware of undercurrents and other hazards.
If this is your first time snorkeling, you can do a few lessons in shallow waters. You can learn under the guidance of a friend who is experienced, but if you do not have such, you can always sign up for a course.
Always snorkel with a buddy (Do not go alone)
Do not snorkel alone, no matter what a professional you think you are. Even the best divers drown. Leave the high self-esteem for some other time. It is mandatory to dive with a friend. So if you find yourself in a stream or there is some other trouble, your friend will be able to help you. Most accidents happen to divers who dive on their own. There is something else. You always have to choose the more experienced one of you as a leader. The leader must be listened – if he says “Get out of the water”, you go out, if he makes a stop sign, you stop. No mumbling, no pretensions!
Stay within the designated snorkeling area
Staying within the designated snorkeling area is crucial for both your safety and the well-being of Hanauma Bay’s delicate marine ecosystem. Designated areas are carefully chosen to provide the best underwater visibility and the richest concentration of marine life while ensuring minimal impact on the environment. By adhering to these boundaries, you not only help protect the fragile coral reefs and their inhabitants but also reduce the risk of encountering potential hazards such as strong currents, sharp rocks, or boat traffic. Respecting the designated snorkeling areas ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors while preserving Hanauma Bay’s natural beauty for future generations.
Be mindful of currents and water conditions
Being mindful of currents and water conditions is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. Before entering the water, familiarize yourself with the local conditions, such as tidal movements, wave patterns, and any possible rip currents. Pay attention to posted signs, and consult with lifeguards or experienced locals to gain a better understanding of the conditions you may encounter. Always respect the power of the ocean and never overestimate your swimming abilities. If you find yourself caught in a strong current, remember to stay calm, conserve your energy, and swim parallel to the shore until you can escape the current’s pull. By being aware of the water conditions and currents, you can greatly reduce the risks associated with snorkeling and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater world.
Forget about the fear
When snorkeling in deeper waters your heart can beat fast and you can get the feeling that you sweat. It can be scary. When you’re in deep waters do not let your fears to emerge. Even if you find yourself in an emergency – a current, waves or you get a cramp, try to remain calm, breathе and take it easy. If you remain calm, everything will be fine.
Keep your energy
Plan so that you can return to shore without a problem. When you snorkel you forget about the world and you may go far away in search of new or underwater landscapes, or try to dive among a shoal of fish. There is a danger to hardly return to the place from which you started. It is important to have proper assessment of your physical endurance and to plan your dives so that you do not have to exhaust completely. If you get exhausted in the water, you will become too weak to deal with underwater currents or cramps.
Get familiar with Hanauma Bay
Before snorkeling it’s a good idea to have preliminary information and plan. It will be much more interesting if you know what to look for. Also consider what kind of sea creatures you can see, what sights there are underwater – niches, caves and reefs. Ask locals or those who know the area in which you are diving, what possible dangers there are – currents, passing boats, jet skis or other. Ask yourself where are the convenient approaches for entry into the water.
Do not touch or disturb marine life
Have one thing in mind when you go to snorkel. Most animals do not think you are a threat, but there are certain species that are poisonous, sting and bite. So it’s better if you just watch and do not touch anything. Dealing with some jellyfish from those who swim in the Pacific can be fatal if you try to touch them.
Beware of sea urchins
And at last but not least, if you do not have reef shoes, buy some. Meeting with sea creature like sea urchins or sharp corals is not particularly pleasant.
In conclusion, you will enjoy the most wonderful experience that Hanauma Bay has to offer – to swim with the fish and feel the beauty and freedom of the underwater world. Just know these 3 things:
- Follow the basic safety rules.
- Have a clear idea of the place where you are heading to.
- Be aware of your physical and swimming abilities.
Conserve the Hawaiian Islands’ coral ecosystem by observing the following rules:
- Do not step on coral barefoot or while wearing fins
- Don’t lean on the corals or touch them just out of curiosity. Even the slightest touch can kill an entire colony of corals.
- Do not try to touch or hold any marine life.
- Do not prevent corals from doing their job.
- Wear immersion devices while diving with a snorkel so you can keep your distance from the reefs.
- While diving, use a fixed buoy to protect yourself from reefs.
- Support organizations that protect coral reefs.
- Get informed about the importance of the reef and share what you’ve learned.
- Report waste or illegal fishing
Waves Break on Ledge
The “Waves Break on Ledge” sign warns that the waves break on the rocky ledges. This can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, even when the water seems calm. Be careful when walking on rocky shores and always monitor the activity of the ocean. The rocks become slippery and the waves can come over the top of the ledge. Never enter the wet rock zone as you may be swept away by a large wave.
The “Sharp Coral” sign warns that corals are sharp and can be very close to the coastline. They are fragile animals, so avoid touching, kicking or standing on them. You are protecting both yourself and them. Foot protection is recommended. If you are injured by a coral, contact live guards for first aid. If the coral becomes embedded deeply, see your doctor as soon as possible to remove it and avoid the risk of infection.
Strong underwater currents are powerful and fast-moving water channels. It is difficult to swim against them. They are often accompanied by high changes in surf and rapid tides and can be recognized as a stormy water channel between the areas where the waves break.
This sign warns of conditions for large, powerful and dangerous waves in the area. If you are unsure of your abilities, avoid entering the ocean at this time. High wave conditions can occur seasonally on all shores.
Set sail for Turtle Canyon on a power catamaran from Waikiki, enjoying a scenic cruise along the shores of Oahu. Your goal: snorkeling in warm waters frequented by Hawaii’s green sea turtles!
The green sea turtle reaches a length of 1.5 m and can weigh up to 395 kg, making it the largest tortoise with a bone shell. Its Hawaiian name is Honu, which means huge.
Snorkeling gear – masks, snorkels and fins
To snorkel at Hanauma Bay you will need the right gear. You can bring your own or rental it. Make sure your mask is tight, but not too tight. Water pressure will also help the mask stay on your face. Its strap should be around the widest part of the head, and the snorkel should rest in the front of your ear. Getting the first breaths out of the snorkel can take some time, like swimming with fins. Remember that by diving underwater, your snorkel will be filled with water and you must keep your mouth closed. Once you get on the water surface, you can blow out the snorkel water or simply remove it.
If you have never dove before with fins, you will be surprised at how little effort you can have and get to an enviable distance under the water. Your fins should fit snugly but not too much because it can damage your feet and cause cramps. They should not be big enough to get rid of your legs and sink. When walking with them, do not forget to raise your legs higher so you will not lose your balance.