Our favorite place to snorkel was Hanauma Bay with its reef-protected area. The Bay is apparently an old crater filled with water, and a reef formed across to make a nice place to swim. There is a sand beach curving around the inside of the crater. During WWII, Navy Seabees blasted a channel through the reef to lay sewer pipes out from a latrine on the beach.
Hanauma Bay is officially a park; no fishing allowed. The fish seemed to know they were safe, and many small brightly colored fish swam inside the reef. Snorkelers, (we included) took bread crumbs to feed them.
As Betty took a bread crumb out of a plastic bag, a Parrot fish was right there and grabbed it. Betty couldn’t figure out how he got there so fast – but I could see – he swam right under Betty, and was close to grab the bread when she opened the bag.
A few times we swam through the channel to outside the protecting reef, and saw massive colorful coral heads, and schools of small fish. A giant Manta Ray, with a wingspan more than my spread arms, “flew” beneath us. It was a magnificent graceful creature, but closer to us than I liked.
Then, the swim back to shore was not easy. If the tide was going out, the water funneled through the channel with considerable force, and one time we were unable to make it through, and had to climb over the reef — not a fun end for the swim.
Most of the time when we went to Hanauma Bay, we sat on the beach in the shade of a palm tree, then snorkeled in the calm water inside the reef to enjoy seeing all the fish.
Hawaii no ka oi — there is no place like Hawaii.