For water lovers vacationing in Hawaii, the Pacific Ocean is a big blue playground. With beautiful coral reefs to explore and lots of fascinating marine life to see up close, snorkeling is a popular pastime. But where to go to avoid crowds?
Tori Cullins, partner of Wild Side Specialty Tours gives us the scoop on an overlooked spot on Oahu.
"The JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa hotel at Ko Olina, on the leeward coast of Oahui, borders an important historic site, Lanikuhouna, which has a small beachfront cove protected by large boulders and three natural lagoons," she says. "These are the 'sacred pools' where Queen Kaahumanu (Kamehameha's favorite wife) bathed and participated in religous rites.
"About 100 yards off Lanikuhonua is probably the most extensive, best-preserved reef on the Oahu. It has massive fan, antler and lobe coral heads that date back centuries, and is home to extensive communities of marine life, including honu (green sea turtles), moi (threadfin fish), lauwiliwili (milletseed butterfly fish), hinalea lauwiliwili (saddle wrasse), kihikihiki (Moorish idol), mamo (Hawaiian sergeant majors), oili uwiuwi (fantail file fish), scarface blenny and Hawaiian white-spotted toby.
"Snorkelers should be aware, however, that there is no lifeguard on duty in the area. Also, ocean conditions during the winter season can get very rough."
Rather go with guides, stay safe, avoid sandy equipment, and leaving possesions on the beach unattended? The marine biologist crew of Wild Side, a short 15 minute drive from Ko Olina, will have you snorkeling in no time.
Wild Side also participatea in conservation and resource management of local marine habitats, as well as cooperate with the Wild Dolphin Foundation, studying behavior, ecology and the natural history of whales, dolphins, turtles, coral reefs and other marine life in Hawaii.
Ko Olina Reef Snorkel | Ko Olina Dolphin Swim |Ko Olina Turtle Snorkeling | Ko Olina Whale Watching | Ko Olina Sunset Cruise | Let's go!