Jan 13, 2009

Hawaii: Oahu: Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole, Coastline

One of three in a series on Hawaii, links at the bottom.

On our first morning in Hawaii, we slept in to counteract the time change and we hiked the Maniwili Falls and did some other stuff.
But on our second morning, baby, on our second morning we woke early to drive across Hwy 72 to the Winward side of the island and make our way down to Diamond Head Crater. We pulled over at Kaiona Beach Park to catch the sunrise along the shore on our drive. It was spectacular. So much fun to drive through small, local towns at sunrise and see how the locals rise & shine!

Here's a good picture of the Winward shoreline.

It is full of lava stones. Not a great swimming area, but it is great for fishing and diving for squid.


Driving along the coast, you can see buoys scattered around the water like pinheads marking a map. Each one, we later learned, is attached to a diver who is catching squid. We stumbled across a local diver bringing up his catch & I got a nice picture. I still won't eat squid, but enjoyed learning about the fishing process.


So here we have Rabbit & Turtle Islands. This is where we started getting into a lot of Magnum P.I. shooting locations. That's pretty cool since I am a child of the 70's and loved Magnum P.I.

"Magnum, I want you to know I'm quite touched, I never thought you were capable of those admirable sentiments, I really mean that."-

We zoomed along the coast, listening to all Elvis, all the time, thinking about my brother, and pulled suddenly around to the famous Halona Blowhole.
If you're saying "What the heck is that?", well, so are we... and we've been there. But it's a pullover on the side of the road, so go ahead and pull over, it's beautiful, relaxing.

"The blowhole is a natural occurrence formed by molten lava tubes from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. The lava tubes run to the ocean and, when the surf is right, the blowhole shoots water up to 30 feet in the

It’s not clear what or where the blowhole is, it looks like a little bay/inlet and since it didn’t "blow," I have no idea what on earth it is. If driving by, pull over and look, but don’t plan a special half day trip for it. We never, ever saw what the guidebooks describe despite stopping there several times during the week. So then we circled around the lighthouse & came upon Sandy Beach. Ooo la la. We pulled over and ran our toes through that sand. We watched the surfers for a bit. These waves were pretty big for this side of Oahu.

The next big stop, circling around the island's perimeter is the very popular, Hanauma Bay. Formed thousands of years ago by the flooding of a volcanic crater, this bay contains amazingly diverse fish life. Hanauma Bay is one of the best snorkeling and swimming areas in the world. Due to the excessive swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving the bay’s marine life is being threatened so in 1990 strict visitor limits were initiated, which means you should give some attention to planning this visit ahead of time.
If you are experienced in snorkeling, you should probably do your snorkeling elsewhere. This is a great beginner's place, but is overcrowded & not very adventurous. If you are experienced, though, you can cross the reef and get more adventurous. This was our first time snorkeling, so we stayed in the comfort zone, close to shore.
Since this trip, I have snorkeled out in the deeper waters in Belize, but I saw more marine life here in Hanauma Bay. Belize was actually disappointing in that respect.
If you are going to swim, layout and snorkel at Hanauma Bay, plan ahead and arrive early in the day for a visit. Only a certain amount of people are allowed in at a time and parking is always a problem. You will wait in line to get in & once inside, you have to take a 10 or 20 minute film about preserving the reef while you’re there. THEN you can get your gear and enter the water and stay as long as you like.
We only had a half day & we arrived late in the day, but if I went again, I’d go earlier in the morning (before they open) and I’d stay probably til 2 or 3:00. I think you can take your own cooler, but it is a strenuous hike down to the water and you have to carry it or pay to ride the tram and WAIT for the tram (we didn’t).
This eel is one of the first creatures to slither past me. I screamed. It was exhilarating.

A visit to Oahu must include Hanauma Bay and a drive along with Winward coast. Hope you enjoy it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sooooo cool that you saw where they filmed Magnum!!! That was my fav show of the '80's!!! Hope I get to see where they filmed it someday!!