There can be very few experiences comparable to diving the Hawaiian reef. One exactly knows why – the coral atolls and walls surrounding volcanic islands are home to more than 300 species of fish and other sea creatures. Among them there’s one, that every diver is especially thrilled to meet – the giant green sea turtle, called also honu – one of the biggest in the world, seizing over 5 feet and weighing up to 700 lbs. To see him in his natural underwater habitat, one has to visit Oahu, where you can watch this gentle giant on every step of his life.
From egg to the ocean’s depth
Honu can be met on both South and North Oahu shores. Laniaka beach, known among Hawaniians as Honulani, is located at the northern island’s shore and it is a perfect spot to watch turtles laying eggs, hatching and finally – making their first steps into the ocean. From here it is only 40 miles or 1 hour drive through Oahu rugged landscape to the turquoise waters of Manalua Bay, the best place to dive among those majestic sea creatures.
Exploring the underwater kingdom of Oahu
The exact spot where you will meet honu is the Turtle Canyon, located about 15 minutes from the shore. The reef is here 20-45 feet deep, so it’s suitable for anyone who is just about to start diving adventure. Calm waters and very few strong currents allow you to enjoy the underwater trip at best. The landscapes here are mesmerizing, though not very colorful – lava fingers pointing out from the sandy ocean bottom, whitish sand – it all evokes the feeling of underwater desert. And then, there are the turtles – swimming slowly just next to you, copletely undisturbed. Being almost the same size as many divers, they make unforgettable companions. During each dive (which usually lasts about 35-40 minutes) you can easily spot at least four – five adult size ones – always remaining strangely calm, even in human presence. Of course, since they are still among on of the most endangered species on earth, divers must not touch them or disturb in any other way!
The Oahu turtle experience brings you closer to the most valuable…and vulnerable secret of Hawaiian nature. Seeing the island’s most famous inhabitants hatching, entering the ocean and then – accompanying your underwater adventure is more than just a must-do – it’s a must-feel.