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Being from Hawaii, I could see 100 turtles and still be excited to see the 101st. Marine life is infinitely fascinating. Even though the ocean is a part of our planet, it is a completely different world. A little gem with great access to the ocean is the Halona Beach cove on Oahu, locally known as Cockroach cove.
It is located on the southeastern tip near Hanauma Bay, right before Sandy Beach Park. There is public parking for those that want to take in the scenic views, or hike down to the scenic views.
Once you park, you will see a small beach area to the right of the blowhole facing the ocean. That is Cockroach Cove. Simply walk towards that direction, and there will be a path leading to the beach near the side of the road. Once you take a short hike down, it feels as if you are on your own island. The walls of the cove hug the shoreline into a private bay. This beach may often be shared with a couple local families coming to relax, or curious tourists. Most of the teenagers and college students will be to the left at Sandys body surfing and body boarding.
You will notice that there is a cave through the back wall of the cove underneath the road. You can go in if you’d like, but you will not find anything more special than used toiletries and a pungent odor. You have been warned.
Instead, either stay on the beach or head towards the ocean. The winter months are better for exploring the cove’s surrounding ocean. During the summer, the ocean is often choppy with poor visibility.
If you decide to head out during a prime day, you are in for a treat. The marine life in this area is very alive. Once you swim past the bay of the cove, you will almost always be welcomed to the open ocean by a family of turtles.
As much as we want to play with and touch these beautiful creatures, do not do it. It is not only illegal, but it is disrupts their natural behavior and health. Please watch these beautiful creatures from a safe distance.
As you swim farther along, the water becomes deeper and it feels as if you are flying above underwater mountain ranges. There are several schools of fish and a delightful amount of live corals. For this reason, many locals tend to fish around this area so be aware and careful of fishing lines.
If you are ale to hold your breath and can handle being under pressure, literally, dive down. You will not regret it. The life that is deep below the surface is amazing. You may even find beautiful and rare seashells. Just make sure that before you take it home that it is not someone’s home. Because the coral is healthier in this area, so is the marine life. So you are more likely to find crabs and snails that have already claimed this treasure.
If you keep an eye out, you will be able to find some Pin Cushion Stars. The Pin Cushion is probably what Patrick Star would look like in real-life. Pin Cushions are usually red, yellow, or green and are puffy. When a Pin Cushion is set down on its back, it deflates then inflates to propel itself right-side up.
The ocean makes up most of our planet, but we know the least about it. But while in Hawaii, take advantage to explore as much of it as you can. You are guaranteed to leave the island (or end up staying) with a new appreciation and respect for the ocean.