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Snorkeling is something anyone can do to enjoy Hawaii’s waters; it doesn’t matter what age you are or how athletic you are. At the very least, you just bob in the current like a fish. At most you paddle yourself around assisted by flippers and maybe pe. The gear is cheap; you can get goggles, flippers and a tube for only $9 a week!
Kauai’s sunny south side (near Poipu) has the island’s highest concentration of recommended snorkel spots according to Seasport Divers, a local rental facility. Nine beaches offer beginner and advanced options with water depths ranging from 3 to 90 feet.
Dan and I recently went to Lawai Beach, known for its excellent snorkeling, public restrooms and an outdoor shower.
We saw the colorful Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, Hawaii’s state fish with bands of yellow, black and white outlined in neon stripes of blue, yellow or green. The Saddleback Butterfly fish, wide and flat with a fin resembling a needle and the Surgeonfish, with it’s docile face and bright blue and yellow markings also flashed through the water. Monk seals and turtles are known to swim here but we didn’t see any the day we went.
Lawai Beach is abundant in colorful reef fish and bulbous coral formations. I felt like I was in a giant aquarium with hundreds of tropical fish swimming around me creating a magical experience!
Some things to remember when snorkeling in Hawaii:
Wear a wetsuit top to avoid sunburn and stay warm in Hawaii’s cooler waters.
Never go alone, the currents in Hawaii can be h3.
Try your gear on before entering the water.
Although you can go snorkeling without fins, they are highly recommended as they enable you to maneuver and propel yourself much more efficiently.
Remember, you are among hundreds of thousands of people coming to visit the islands. Coral reefs are very fragile. Don’t touch, stand or walk on them, you can destroy it’s delicate ecosystem. Certainly, don’t break off “souvenir” pieces of coral, it’s the law.
If you are going to feed the fish, use only nutritionally balanced fish food.
One of the highlights of snorkeling in Hawaii’s waters is the likelihood of spotting friendly green sea turtles or monk seals. They are endangered or threatened species and protected, there are large fines for harassing them.