7 Suggestions For Snorkeling In Oahu’s Stunning Turtle Canyon

I like sea turtles and I like to snorkel. But someway, these two issues have by no means managed to collide with one another. I’ve been on quite a few snorkeling journeys, leading to sea turtle sightings for others within the group. However for me? Nope.

So once I noticed a brochure for Turtle Canyon on a current journey to Honolulu, Hawaii, I jumped on the probability to as soon as once more strive my hand at getting a glimpse of the elusive sea turtle in its pure habitat.

Located on the island of Oahu’s south shore, the world-famous neighborhood of Waikiki is finest recognized for its well-known white sand seashore, high-rise accommodations, and designer retailers that line Kalakaua Avenue. It’s additionally probably the greatest locations for snorkeling with turtles in Oahu on the unimaginable Turtle Canyon. 

Turtle Canyon is a nature protect and snorkeling website recognized for the big numbers of sea turtles that float above the reef whereas the reef fish swim round them and clear their shells. It’s principally a automotive wash for turtles! When the turtles come as much as breathe, they’ll even be seen by spectators stress-free on the boat!

The Turtle Canyon reef fashioned 1000’s of years in the past when volcanic exercise was rife in and round Oahu — evidenced by the big lava-formed, rock-encrusted fingers rising from the shallow shores of Waikiki. Small boulders, coral heads, and loads of sand between these rocky fingers make nice houses for all types of marine life. Whereas this website and its spectacular geological formations entice aquatic life, it’s not full of colourful coral like Hanauma Bay, one other fashionable snorkeling spot on Oahu. Right here the turtles are the star.

At round 20 to 45 ft deep, Turtle Canyon is just a little deep for snorkelers, however you gained’t be disenchanted. The crystal-clear water has wonderful visibility, my husband and I had no hassle seeing the sandy backside of the canyon, and turtles typically come as much as the shallows swimming amongst snorkelers seemingly with out concern.

Woman snorkeling in Oahu

A girl snorkeling in Oahu

Picture credit score: Benny Marty / Shutterstock.com

1. Rent A Tour Operator

There are quite a few tour operators in Oahu working journeys to Turtle Canyon they usually all go away from Kewalo Basin Boat Harbor. I might suggest taking a cab or Uber to the marina. For those who drive, parking is $1 per hour, and pay machines settle for money and bank cards. Please confer with the Kewalo Basin Boat Harbor Map for parking areas.

Professional Tip: Parking is extremely restricted, so should you determine to drive, enable your self loads of time to search out parking and get to the boat. 

2. What To Convey

Sunscreen is a should and it must be reef-friendly to adjust to Hawaii’s legal guidelines. Apply it liberally. The solar’s rays can penetrate the water if you’re snorkeling, leaving you with a nasty sunburn should you neglect this step.

Drinks and refreshments supplied on excursions range extensively from operator to operator. I all the time like having a water bottle and a few mild snacks with me, simply in case. A towel is sweet to dry off after snorkeling, and a coverup got here in useful for the windy journey again to the harbor. When you’ve got one, a dry bag is a good place to retailer these things and safe automotive keys should you’ve pushed. A digital camera is sweet to have — we used a GoPro to get some enjoyable movies of the turtles swimming round us. 

Sea turtle swimming in Oahu

A view of a sea turtle from the water’s floor

Picture credit score: Wolfgang Hauke / Shutterstock.com

3. Snorkeling Suggestions

Snorkeling is fairly simple to study, even for an entire novice. Guides will assessment the fundamentals and some security objects, and also you’ll be within the water in minutes. The entire needed tools, masks, fins, and flotation units, might be supplied by the tour operator.

Most excursions supply in-water guides who can help snorkelers with tools or level out turtles and different marine life within the space. 

Professional Tip: To see as a lot marine life as potential, it’s finest to swim to a spot away from others, then chill out and float face down. Kicking and thrashing within the water will startle most marine life, and also you’ll have a significantly better expertise observing calmly and quietly.

4. Keep away from Seasickness

Nothing will spoil your enjoyable like a bout of seasickness. Usually, the ocean is calm close to Waikiki. Nonetheless, if you’re liable to seasickness or aren’t used to being aboard ocean-going boats, it might be a good suggestion to speak with the pharmacist about preventative measures.

As I’ve gotten older, I are inclined to really feel dizzy whereas snorkeling. I usually take Dramamine about an hour or so beforehand to keep away from any probability of feeling ailing.

Sea turtle swimming in Oahu

A sea turtle swimming in Turtle Canyon

Picture credit score: Bryce Potter / Shutterstock.com

5. Turtle Etiquette

It’s essential to do not forget that if you enter the water, you’re getting into the turtle’s dwelling. 

As a visitor, it is best to intention to not disturb, frighten, or hurt the turtle. To make sure this, it’s essential to comply with a couple of easy pointers. Don’t pet or contact the animal in any method. It’s not solely unhealthy kind; it’s unlawful as sea turtles are protected beneath federal legislation. Touching the turtle may be hectic for the animal and may end up in a really stiff high-quality in Hawaii. 

Don’t feed sea turtles. The meals you supply the turtle might be dangerous to the turtle and damage the turtle’s short-term well being. Additionally, if the turtle will get used to getting meals from people, it could possibly result in habituation, interfering with its means to acquire meals.

Professional Tip: We booked the final tour of the day. A lot of the different tour boats left the world earlier than our snorkeling time was over, permitting us to benefit from the area with fewer individuals for the latter a part of our tour.

After you’ve gotten your fill of snorkeling, you may climb again on the boat and prepare for a beautiful experience again to the harbor, cruising alongside Waikiki’s beautiful shoreline. We loved improbable views of Diamond Head and even noticed some spinner dolphins.

All advised, we noticed over ten totally different turtles. One swam towards me, peering at me with curiosity. The encounter made me surprise who was observing who. Turtle sightings are virtually assured at this spot, and lots of tour operators supply to reschedule prospects totally free in the event that they don’t see one throughout their journey.

If you wish to swim with sea turtles, I like to recommend visiting Turtle Canyon on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. My husband and I had a superb afternoon and I can lastly say I swam with sea turtles.

For extra data on touring to Oahu, take a look at these articles:


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