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Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

San Francisco...
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Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

My granddaughter (16) and I will be in Oahu in two weeks. We'd like a snorkeling trip that leaves from somewhere accessible by bus from Waikiki, NOT Hanauma Bay.

We'd like a boat, with or without lunch and snacks, etc. that goes to some bay where one can snorkel off the boat. A few hours is just fine; we don't need a tour around or anything.

Also, we'll need snorkeling equipment. Any recommendations would be helpful. Mahalo!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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1. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Try Hawaii Nautical, they will pick you up!! Love their snorkeling tours. They will have equipment on board for you to use. If you want to snorkel after that, you can rent gear at Snorkel Bob's it is close to Waikiki and on the bus route.

Fort Worth, Texas
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2. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Magic Island Catamaran snorkeling tour. Really awesome, lots of turtles, octopi, and fish to see.

Very reasonably priced and nicely organized. She'd love it!

Bentonville...
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3. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

We snorkeled Shark's Cove for the first time on our most recent trip 2 weeks ago. It was fantastic and so much less crowded than the "other" place. It is up on the North Shore next to Pupukea Beach Park, and there is a bus stop there. If you don't mind the ride up there on theBus (Oahu's bus system) for $5 apiece round trip it would be a very cheap trip. Stay as long as you want and not be tied to an organized snorkel tour! There is also a snorkel rental shop right across the road from it. Google Shark's Cove Oahu and you'll get more information.

Wayne, New Jersey
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4. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Maybe it's just me, but I hated sharks cove!! It was rediculously hard to get in because of all the rocks and sea urchins ON all those rocks! It's not the place I would snorkel. I'd go to hanauma bay or on a tour.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

I cannot recommend a place to go, but I can recommend not to do Hanauma bay. Although a beautiful place, it si WAY overcrowded even as they open. The water is muddled due to so many people, and its just not fun running into so many people as you try to see what is there. My 2 cents.

England
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6. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Is it better to do a tour generally? We were planning to DIY it and rent some snorkels from somewhere, then head to some of the recommended beaches on TA and in our guidebooks. We aren't really a fan of organised tours but if it means getting to a less accessible beach that won't be crowded etc we might consider it.

Bentonville...
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7. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Personally, I hate organized tours for something like this. I would much rather explore on my own and not be tied to a specific place or timetable. Get several guide books and rely on them for ideas, and inquire at the snorkel equipment rental places AWAY from Waikiki for information.

Music City, USA
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8. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

So I tried Hawaii Nautical (actually their somehow related company Port Waikiki Cruises) last week. I was unimpressed with some parts of it. We did the Turtle Snorkel trip that leaves from the HHV pier.

First, the good:

The boat was clean and well maintained and the crew was friendly. They definitely put us on the turtles as I saw 3 from the boat. Capt. Dustin and his mates seemed to be enjoying themselves and that created a fun atmosphere.

The bad:

With a tour boat like this, you all get off the boat in the same place and stay somewhat close to whichever crew member gets in the water with you. This creates the Hanauma Bay effect even in open water. That sucked. We kept bumping into each other and I came close to catching a foot in the face more than once.

The masks were fine (mine held tight and din't leak), but the snorkels are just old-style plastic tubes that did a poor job with the splashing seas we were in. I was expecting dry snorkels based on their website stating "top-notch snorkel gear". Maybe it's different on the west-coast cruises with Hawaii Nautical themselves and not Port Waikiki Cruises.

I saw no turtles while in the water. Others did, but I didn't. Southern swells were up and it made the water quite choppy and visibility was iffy. If I focused, I could make out the bottom. We were bobbing around pretty good out there. They couldn't help that though, so I can't fault them for this. Sometimes the ocean doesn't play well with others.

The really bad:

Short snorkel time. 2.5 hour trip and only about 45 min in the water. The rest of the time is spent sailing up to Diamond Head and back. I wanted to snorkel, not ride around on a boat.

Later in the week we rented gear from Snorkel Bob's and went up to Turtle Bay. The Bus goes up there but it might take a while. That cove is very well protected and the surface was quite calm. Sandy beach access to the water too. Unfortuantely the water was murky that day with about 10' visibility. Lots of colorful fish, but the reef isn't very colorful. I did finally see a turtle though. Well, his butt as he swam away from me into the murkiness.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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9. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

I go on these tours because I love a nice boat ride. Seeing the Waianae Coast from a catamaran is breath taking. They do go to places that are hard to get to by shore. You get fed breakfast and lunch and a nice Mai Tai, wine or beer after snorkeling. Sailing also come into play if the trades are blowing.

I also love shore snorkeling with my favorite place being Three Tables in the Pupukea/Waimea Marine Life Conservation District. It is on the opposite side of the park from Shark's Cove. Nice beach, easy entry. But only available during the months of late May thru September due to large waves on the north shore.

Monkeylizard, next time, take a snorkel tour that goes somewhere else besides Waikiki, which isn't bad but doesn't compare to those trips up the Waianae Coast

Edited: 2:51 pm, June 14, 2013
Music City, USA
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10. Re: Can anyone recommend a snorkeling trip in Oahu?

Yeah, I figured that was the case. We looked at the Waianae Coast ones, but time dictated Waikiki, I'm sorry to say. I wish we had done the Waianae one instead. It worked out OK in the end because I got in some fantastic snorkelling on Maui. :)