Friday morning, Cody and I left Laie early to try and beat the crowd that was bound to be at Hanauma Bay, a popular snorkeling location on Oahu. We were on the road by 8:00 AM and made it to the Hanauma Bay area by about 9:30 AM.
(I haven't mentioned yet that a lot of our travel was facilitated by a borrowed GPS navigation system. Thanks, Brittany.)
As we approached the entrance to the parking lot, we saw lots of cones and signs that said the parking lot was full. After debating what to do, we decided to park the car in a Foodland parking lot at the bottom of the hill, about a mile away from the entrance.
In the parking lot, we grabbed the bare essentials, including our snorkel gear, and backtracked up the hill to the entrance. Cody is about six or seven inches taller than I am, and his stride shows it, especially when we're going up hill at his tall-man pace.
Walking at his speed brought us to the entrance rather quickly. When we got there, this view was waiting for us.
It's just so amazing to me that so much natural beauty can be packed into one place.
As visitors (and non-Hawaiians), we had to pay a five dollar admission fee and watch a nine minute orientation video. Once that was over, we were let loose, free to snorkel our little hearts out.
To avoid theft, which is unfortunately common in the islands (as if charging $8.69 for a meal at McDonald's isn't enough), we didn't bring our cameras. Therefore, Google will supply my experience with pictures.
The Convict Tang
The Spectacled Parrotfish--we saw lots of different parrotfish.
The Trumpetfish (Yellow)
The Shortbodied Blenny
The Endangered Green Sea Turtle
I didn't see any sea turtles at Hanauma, but Cody did.
After Hanauma Bay, we went around the island, past the Dole Plantation, and into Haleiwa for more shave ice at Matsumoto's.
Fully refreshed by our frozen treats, we decided to make a stop at "Turtle Beach" for some more snorkeling and sea turtleing.
At "Turtle Beach", there is always someone there making sure no one handles, harasses, or teases the turtles. While I was swimming with them, the tide and the reef pushed me into a spot where I couldn't move easily. The sea turtles were on one side of me and the shallow reef was on my other side. I could've easily stood up to get out, but the orientation video at Hanauma Bay had informed me of how inappropriate standing on a reef is. Anyway, the situation was very precarious. I was "between sea turtles and a hard place."
Finally, I decided to stand up. As I stood up, I heard the "wretched keeper of the turtles" whistling at me. Cody said she had been whistling at me for some time, but my ears had been underwater. I'm sure her incessant whistling bothers the sea life. When I heard her whistle blowing, I decided to pretend I didn't hear her and got back into the water.
I went about, doing my thing for a few more minutes, and then decided to get out. When I exited the water, the "wretched keeper of the turtles" met me on shore and informed me that I had been too close to her precious animals.
Now, I'm all about not touching the turtles. They're covered in barnacles and sea-diseases, I'm sure. The whole time I was too close to them was spent trying to distance myself from them. The "wretched keeper" didn't know that, and I'm sure that if I had drowned while trying to not harm nature, she would have fished my body out, chopped it up, roasted it, and hand-fed me to her turtles.
Anyway, next time you visit "Turtle Beach," remember that the turtles are more important than you.
The trick is to find the turtles that are farther out and swim with them. She will never know!