Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oahu, Hawaii - Day 6

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Hanauma Bay Preserve

What: Snorkeling
More Info: Open on all days except Tuesdays. There is a parking lot, which is occupied on a first-come first-serve basis. When the parking lot is full, cars are turned away. $1 (cash only) fee for parking; $7.50/person (cards accepted) admission fee; $7 (cards accepted) to rent a small locker; $5 (cards accepted) to rent snorkeling gear; $5 (cards accepted) to rent a life jacket; $5 (cards accepted) to rent fins. There are restrooms near the parking lot and near the bay and a snack bar near the parking lot.

Hanauma Bay

This is probably one of our favorites!

Once upon a time being a volcanic crater and eventually being flooded by wave erosion, Hanauma Bay today is one of the most beautiful snorkeling destinations in Oahu. We reached Hanauma Bay at 8.45am and the parking lot was 70% full. We heard from a few visitors who were turned away when the parking lot was full by 10.30am. The sooner you arrive, the better.

There is a $1 parking fee (cash only) that we paid just before entering the parking lot. While walking towards the bay, there was a long line to buy the $7.50/person admission fee.  After paying the admission fee, they took us to a theater where they showed a 15min mandatory presentation on how the Hanauma Bay was formed, what kind of marine life exists in the bay and to create awareness to protect the Bay.

After watching the presentation, we walked down to the bay (the parking lot is at an elevation); takes about 5 min to get to the Bay. Near the bay, there is a booth where you can rent a locker, snorkeling gear, life jackets and fins. Please feel free to bring your own snorkeling gears.

As both of us were new to snorkeling, we took some time to get accustomed to breathing through the snorkeling gears. The water is pretty shallow and we were amazed by the colorful marine life that we could see in shallow waters.  The water is so crystal clear that most of the time you would even be able to see the fish with naked eyes, while standing in the Bay.

Crystal clear water in Hanauma Bay

We saw about several varieties of fish and the Fish Identification Card will give you an idea of the rich marine life in the Hanauma Bay.

We had bought our lunch (Buffalo Chicken Sandwich) from Dennys in the morning before we started to the Hanauma Bay. We had a good lunch and jumped back into the waters.

The Hanauma Bay closes at 5pm and the snorkeling gears need to be returned by 4.30pm, else there is an insane fee for every 15min you are delayed. By 4.00pm, we were exhausted; we returned the gears, walked up to the parking lot, captured a few good shots of the bay and drove back to the hotel.

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