Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Snorkeling the Hawaiian Island of Kaua‘i

        “When you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean—it’s like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” 
—Dave Barry

The view from Kaua‘i's North Shore.

         Entertaining yourself in Kaua‘i is easy.  You can choose to hike, horseback ride, golf, sunbathe, birdwatch, fish–recreational opportunities are numerous.  But for the ultimate Hawaiian experience I agree with humorist Dave Barry; why travel to an island in the middle of the pacific if you’re not going to get into the ocean?
Snorkeling is the perfect, non-technical way to immerse yourself in Kaua‘i’s underwater paradise.
Tim and I recently spent a week in Hawai‘i and snorkeled on the south shore at Lawai Beach in Koloa, and on the north shore at Tunnels and Ke‘e Beach near the town of Hanalei.   Tim used an Olympus Stylus Tough digital camera with attached underwater slave flash to capture the following underwater photos.  Enjoy!
         Click on any photo to enlarge it.

I'm preparing to snorkel Tunnels Beach.
The waters off Kaua‘i's coast are surprisingly chilly.
A wetsuit or shirt comes in handy.

The Moorish Idol.

Raccoon Butterflyfish.

The Milletseed Butterflyfish.

The Christmas Wrasse.

Ringtail Surgeonfish.

Hawai‘i's unofficial state fish, the humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a.
Trouble pronouncing the name?  It's also known as
The Reef Triggerfish.

           Whether you choose to snorkel, scuba dive, paddleboard, kite surf, wind surf or traditional surf Kaua‘i's waters you'll find a wealth of information on this website:  http://www.gohawaii.com/kauai

           The book Snorkel Kaua‘i,  written by Judy and Mel Malinowski, is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to snorkel The Garden Isle.  

Undersea Life.


  1. Hi Rita,

    Blown away, as usual, by your (and Tim's) photos. Kaua'i is definitely on my list of places to visit (made it as far as Maui a few years ago), and it looks like paradise!

    What an amazing variety of fish there - and I love the names.

    Looks like you had a fabulous time (cold waters aside). Thanks for bringing back such gorgeous photos and sharing links to helpful resources for the prospective Kaua'i visitor.

  2. Tim and I have been to Kaua‘i twice; it's the only Hawaiian island we've visited. Yes, we think it's pretty close to paradise and we had a fabulous time! We're already talking about a return visit for more snorkeling adventures.

    The fish names are awesome, aren't they? To read about—and see spectacular photos of—all of Hawai‘i's fishes, check out the book "Hawaii's Fishes: A Guide for Snorkelers and Divers" by John P. Hoover.

    As always, thanks for your kind comments, Vickie.

    1. Thanks, Rita, for recommending the guide to "Hawai'i's Fishes"! I'm definitely in the snorkeler category, but as I learned in Costa Rica (and growing up in the Lakes Region of NH), there are pretty amazing sights to see with only a mask and snorkel!

  3. Well, first of all, I love your Dave Barry quote at the top of your Blog! So much is said with so little words!
    Regarding the photos, they are all so gorgeous, and for me at least, are very unique. I have no experience with this type of adventure!

    I especially liked the last photo (subtitled "Undersea Life"). I'm unable to determine for certain if the person in the photo is you or Tim (I think it is you.) Regardless, I love the fish darting by in the foreground, with the human snorkeler in the background. What a perfect fulfillment of the quote at the top of your Blog. This photo clearly demonstrates that you were not "staring at the outside of the tent" during your stay in Hawaii!


    1. This type of adventure is indeed unique. I must admit to being intimidated at first by the waters off the coast of Kaua‘i, as the surf can be much rougher than what I was used to in the Atlantic Ocean.
      But after experiencing the undersea world of the south pacific I realized that Dave Barry was right—I was missing the whole point of the ocean by lounging on the beach—and so I got into the water to snorkel as often as possible. (And yes, that's me in the final photo.)

      Thanks for viewing and commenting, John!