Like many who have come before me, the magic of Hawaii for me was in its seas. On a recent trip to Hawaii, the biggest highlight was diving with hahalua (manta rays) off the Big Island of Hawaii; closely followed by snorkelling with mano (sharks) off Oahu’s North shore.
Within hours of flying into Hawaii from Australia, I was straight in the water snorkelling alongside the mighty mantas. They are large creatures (average weight is approx 1.5 tonnes), yet graceful and majestic, and this was my first interaction with them. A couple of nights later, I was back in the waters of Garden Eel Cove, sitting amongst the zooplankton, while several mantas circled and fed all around. Best night dive ever!
I did a stack of other dives along the Kona coast (with Kona Diving Company, who I highly recommend) and really enjoyed diving among the volcanic lava tubes, checking out turtles, moray eels, spinner dolphins, a stack of crustaceans… and we even spied a frogfish!
Back on Oahu, I wanted more of Hawaii’s underwater magic! The swell was starting to pick up along Oahu’s north shore, and it was fun to sit and watch the surfers doing their thing. But I managed to convince a few friends to join me on a (cageless) snorkel with sharks. The guys at Hawaii Adventure Diving took us out to the deep blue several miles off Haliewa, and almost immediately there were sharks circling the boat.
In we went.
We snorkelled for an hour with half a dozen Galapagos sharks, curious but wary. Just like us. It was exhilarating, and definitely a trip highlight.
The rest of the trip was classic Hawaii: shopping up a storm; lazing on white sand beaches; hiking to waterfalls; visiting an active volcano. And snorkelling with a humuhumunukunuku-a-pua’a…