I really like sea turtles and I like to snorkel. But in some way, these two issues have by no means managed to collide with one another. I’ve been on quite a few snorkeling journeys, leading to sea turtle sightings for others within the group. However for me? Nope.
So once I noticed a brochure for Turtle Canyon on a current journey to Honolulu, Hawaii, I jumped on the probability to as soon as once more attempt my hand at getting a glimpse of the elusive sea turtle in its pure habitat.
Located on the island of Oahu’s south shore, the world-famous neighborhood of Waikiki is finest identified for its well-known white sand seaside, high-rise motels, and designer outlets that line Kalakaua Avenue. It’s additionally among the finest locations for snorkeling with turtles in Oahu on the unimaginable Turtle Canyon.
Turtle Canyon is a nature protect and snorkeling web site identified for the massive numbers of sea turtles that float above the reef whereas the reef fish swim round them and clear their shells. It’s mainly a automobile wash for turtles! When the turtles come as much as breathe, they’ll even be seen by spectators stress-free on the boat!
The Turtle Canyon reef fashioned 1000’s of years in the past when volcanic exercise was rife in and round Oahu — evidenced by the massive lava-formed, rock-encrusted fingers rising from the shallow shores of Waikiki. Small boulders, coral heads, and loads of sand between these rocky fingers make nice properties for every kind of marine life. Whereas this web site and its spectacular geological formations entice aquatic life, it’s not full of colourful coral like Hanauma Bay, one other widespread snorkeling spot on Oahu. Right here the turtles are the star.
At round 20 to 45 ft deep, Turtle Canyon is just a little deep for snorkelers, however you received’t be dissatisfied. The crystal-clear water has wonderful visibility, my husband and I had no bother seeing the sandy backside of the canyon, and turtles usually come as much as the shallows swimming amongst snorkelers seemingly with out worry.
1. Rent A Tour Operator
There are quite a few tour operators in Oahu working journeys to Turtle Canyon they usually all depart from Kewalo Basin Boat Harbor. I’d suggest taking a cab or Uber to the marina. Should you drive, parking is $1 per hour, and pay machines settle for money and bank cards. Please check with the Kewalo Basin Boat Harbor Map for parking areas.
Professional Tip: Parking is extremely restricted, so when you resolve to drive, enable your self loads of time to search out parking and get to the boat.
2. What To Carry
Sunscreen is a should and it must be reef-friendly to adjust to Hawaii’s legal guidelines. Apply it liberally. The solar’s rays can penetrate the water while you’re snorkeling, leaving you with a nasty sunburn when you neglect this step.
Drinks and refreshments supplied on excursions range extensively from operator to operator. I at all times like having a water bottle and a few gentle snacks with me, simply in case. A towel is sweet to dry off after snorkeling, and a coverup got here in helpful for the windy journey again to the harbor. When you have one, a dry bag is a superb place to retailer these things and safe automobile keys when you’ve pushed. A digital camera is sweet to have — we used a GoPro to get some enjoyable movies of the turtles swimming round us.
3. Snorkeling Ideas
Snorkeling is fairly simple to be taught, even for a whole novice. Guides will evaluation the fundamentals and some security gadgets, and also you’ll be within the water in minutes. All the essential gear, masks, fins, and flotation gadgets, will likely be supplied by the tour operator.
Most excursions supply in-water guides who can help snorkelers with gear or level out turtles and different marine life within the space.
Professional Tip: To see as a lot marine life as attainable, it’s finest to swim to a spot away from others, then chill out and float face down. Kicking and thrashing within the water will startle most marine life, and also you’ll have a significantly better expertise observing calmly and quietly.
4. Keep away from Seasickness
Nothing will wreck your enjoyable like a bout of seasickness. Typically, the ocean is calm close to Waikiki. Nonetheless, if you’re vulnerable to seasickness or aren’t used to being aboard ocean-going boats, it might be a good suggestion to speak with the pharmacist about preventative measures.
As I’ve gotten older, I are likely to really feel dizzy whereas snorkeling. I typically take Dramamine about an hour or so beforehand to keep away from any probability of feeling sick.
5. Turtle Etiquette
It’s vital to do not forget that while you enter the water, you’re getting into the turtle’s dwelling.
As a visitor, you must purpose to not disturb, frighten, or hurt the turtle. To make sure this, you should observe a couple of easy pointers. Don’t pet or contact the animal in any means. It’s not solely dangerous type; it’s unlawful as sea turtles are protected beneath federal regulation. Touching the turtle might be worrying for the animal and can lead to a really stiff high quality in Hawaii.
Don’t feed sea turtles. The meals you supply the turtle might be dangerous to the turtle and harm the turtle’s short-term well being. Additionally, if the turtle will get used to getting meals from people, it may result in habituation, interfering with its capacity to obtain meals.
Professional Tip: We booked the final tour of the day. A lot of the different tour boats left the world earlier than our snorkeling time was over, permitting us to benefit from the area with fewer folks for the latter a part of our tour.
After you’ve gotten your fill of snorkeling, you’ll be able to climb again on the boat and prepare for a beautiful experience again to the harbor, cruising alongside Waikiki’s attractive shoreline. We loved unbelievable views of Diamond Head and even noticed some spinner dolphins.
All instructed, we noticed over ten completely different turtles. One swam towards me, peering at me with curiosity. The encounter made me marvel who was observing who. Turtle sightings are virtually assured at this spot, and plenty of tour operators supply to reschedule clients totally free in the event that they don’t see one throughout their journey.
If you wish to swim with sea turtles, I like to recommend visiting Turtle Canyon on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. My husband and I had a superb afternoon and I can lastly say I swam with sea turtles.
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