Oahu - Day 3 - Shark's Cove and afternoon lunch - Aug 30
Today, we went on our first snorkeling adventure of this trip. We decided to try out one of the most recommended sites on the island, Shark's Cove on the North Shore.
We got up early (well, early for me anyway) and drove about 15 minutes from Turtle Bay Resort to Pupukea Beach Park, where Shark's Cove is located. There we left our car unlocked (as you do in Hawaii), and took our gear down to the beach. Because we didn't want to get anything stolen, we left all cameras, phones, and other electronics at the hotel (which is why there are no pictures). But here's one I found on ShoreDiving.com that shows Shark's Cove from the air. TropicalSnorkeling.com has a great page about Shark's Cove with more photos.
Groups of divers did their pre-dive checks in the park above the cove, most of them from Japan, Europe, and other countries outside the U.S. We found our way down the steep, rocky trail to the beach. Here, we found slivers of course sand between mounds of volcanic rock. We found a good spot to set up camp and headed out.
I've always had difficulty with snorkeling -- at least on the first day. The combination of the mask and snorkel is a claustrophobic experience. But except for navigating the rocks to get out into the bay, and then getting used to the 75-degree water (which is cold at first), I was snorkeling above some breathtaking underwater scenery in less time than any other trip. Never had I seen so many species of fish in one place. One moment I was floating almost inches above a reef and the next above an abyss of clear, blue water.
And in case you're wondering, there weren't any sharks there in Shark's Cove on this day. From what I've read, they are infrequent visitors.
As the morning hours ticked away, crowds of other snorkelers found their way to the beach and water. This made it nearly impossible to move around in the water without bumping into someone. After two hours of snorkeling and sitting at the beach, we left the crowds.
Lunch at the Turtle Bay Resort
After the post-snorkel ritual of showering, enjoying the view from the hotel, and relaxing, we headed off to lunch at Ola Restaurant at the resort.
This is the kind of Hawaiian restaurant you fantasize about, as you're almost dining right on the beach (you can even eat on the beach if you want). For some reason, after snorkeling I'm always ravenous for a hamburger. We started off with the Seared Beef Poke as an appetizer, which was good -- but had a little too much fat for us (which we told them).
For lunch, Brenda and I split a North Shore Cheddar Cheese Burger and a Grilled Fresh Island Fish. It was all excellent.
After lunch, I'm semi-embarassed to say, I sat around for most of the day (in between calls from our son Cameron with Xbox problems and questions). It was definitely a relaxing day.
As the day wore on, I noticed the searing sensation of sunburn on my neck and back --uncomfortable but not really painful. Brenda came up with the theory that our sunscreen had washed away after our first snorkeling run at Shark's Cove. And since Brenda spent more time in the water than I did (face down, as you do when snorkeling), she was also more burned on her back and legs.
This was actually the first time I've been burned in Hawaii, and I realized it was one of the first times I'd gone snorkeling without one of those UV shirts. I knew what I'd be picking up before I went snorkeling again.