While in Oahu, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to Hanauma Bay. It wasn’t the $7.50 entrance fee that would have deterred me, but the fact that it seemed to be so far out of the way (I stayed in Waikiki and I did not have a rental car). However, the nearly 5-star rating on yelp and tripadvisor convinced me to go. It’s similar to how I view bestsellers and box office hits: that many people can’t be wrong, right?
The bus was $2.50 one way. My wife and I caught the earliest bus at 8:00 am and arrived there around 9:00, and there were already many people there. We had to watch a documentary and off we went to the beach, a short walk down a hill. There is a tram-car – $0.75 to the beach and $1.00 coming back (yes, the price difference does make sense, down the hill and up the hill, you see) – but we did not take it. I hope it is still a long ways in the future before I need transportation for such a short distance.
I was reluctant to rent the snorkeling gear as I had never done it before, not to mention the thought of using a mouthpiece that had been used by so many people was not very appealing. I wonder whether they clean it properly.
So I entered the water, but I could not even go waist-high as the coral reef was almost everywhere, no way to avoid it, and if you weren’t careful, it would cut you. However, I was still able to see lots of fish.
In the end, I decided to rent the snorkeling gear, and I very awkwardly put it on and adjusted it (to a certain degree; I had a feeling I did not wear the mask and mouthpiece as well as I was supposed to). And I took the ‘plunge.’
I am an eternal novice swimmer (and skier, as a matter of fact, along with many other physical activities that some seem to perform with great ease). But I could not believe how agile I was, the dexterity I had, the ease with which I moved, almost effortlessly. I felt I was gliding; it didn’t feel like swimming at all. And lots and lots of fish, it’s a different world down there. I wish I’d had an underwater camera.
Some reviews said that, due to so many tourists, there is not so many fish to be seen, but this is far from true. Perhaps before there were even more fish. For me, it was a lot, at least by my standards, as I had never seen something similar, apart from aquariums.
There were fish coming from all directions, some of them startled me as they were quite big (they did not seem bothered by my presence) and they were all shapes and colors. I even saw an octopus.
I had an epiphany – I now understand why so many people are so taken with snorkeling.
Actually, there was a small yellow fish who seemed very frightened of me. One day, as I was thinking of the scene, I realized all of the sudden he was trying to tell me not to eat them, either (I had stopped eating red meat a few weeks before) so I listened to the little fish (could it be the fabled Golden Fish?) and I’ve now stopped eating fish.
Unfortunately, I am certain he didn’t say anything about any wishes.