They say, “Everyone who visits Hawaii wants to live there.” A good reason to move: free access for residents to Hanauma Bay, a blue jewel in the eye of every snorkeler and scuba diver.
Located in Oahu, near Waikiki, Hanauma Bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. The bay floor is actually the crater of an ancient volcano that flooded when the exterior wall collapsed and the ocean rushed in. Because of the physical makeup, the water is almost always calm — except for the kids (and adults) who scream excitedly when coming upon sealife. Visitors are almost never disappointed, being able to swim amongst fish, some the size of their heads!
All first-time visitors watch a video before heading to the beach. The presentation highlights a few conservation points, such as:
- don’t feed or touch the sealife, or coral
- don’t chase the fish
- don’t walk on the coral reef
- use the restroom before you swim
The number of daily visitors is limited, in order to preserve this natural sea park. So, people are encouraged to arrive early (it’s open by 7a.m.). The educational site for Hanuama bay can be found here.