Having been to the island of Oahu three times I consider myself well versed in its fluctuating snorkelling conditions. Lanikai Beach, for example, was the ideal place to snorkel when I first visited its vibrant green coral reefs and schools of fish that got bigger as your ventured further. My first time on Waikiki Beach also brought sightings of three sea turtles which I found odd since it is such a touristy area. But there they came into the shallow depths occasionally gracing your calves with their strong fins. There’s nothing more frightening nor more thrilling than seeing a dark figure growing larger as it comes toward you beneath the water.
The second visit a few years later was not the same. Lanikai Beach was extremely wavy and difficult to see anything with the tides heaving sand back and forth creating a foggy mess. Waikiki Beach held no sea turtles so close to the shore, but there was a sea lion that hobbled on to the beach and laid himself out amongst the tanning tourists.
I love snorkelling and during that second visit we were desperate to see more. We booked ourselves on the catamaran tour located just outside of the Outrigger on the Reef Hotel for $80 per person and set out a mile or so away from the Waikiki Beach. As we dove in there were huge schools of fish greeting us waiting for their chum to be tossed overboard. We also saw three sea turtles that day and shared a drink with our captain as we made our way back to the shore.
This third visit was even more different than the previous two. There were no fish to see around Waikiki Beach besides a few angel fish. Lanikai was a little murky I was happy to see what emerged (see video to find out!). And I was talked into going to the west side of Oahu by a very pushy sales lady looking for commission. At $130 per person I booked the Ko Olina Snorkelling adventure which promises sea turtles, whales and dolphins (or at least one of those). The pushy woman said that this particular tour was 100 times better than the one I had taken the previous year and 90% you do indeed see dolphins or whales. I was a sucker and I booked it.
Okay, maybe I am being a little hard on myself. The tour wasn’t all bad (again see video to understand why). The staff was very friendly, lunch was provided with two drink tickets and a cruise on the ocean at sunset in a large yacht like catamaran is never a bad idea. But where were the dolphins, sea turtles and whales? Probably back at Lanikai.
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