We wanted to go snorkeling since we hadn’t done it for a while and had had enough of sightseeing. Either the weather hadn’t been good enough, or we couldn’t find a suitable place with calm waters.
We decided to go to Ka’anapali beach on the western side of the island, since the weather was better there and there should be a decent coral reef and protected waters.
Ka’anapali beach is a REAL uptown area with lots of expensive hotels and limited access to the beach. Public parking is available at the ground floor of the Sheraton hotel but with only 20 spots available it quickly gets full (which is was when we got there late morning). Otherwise the only option for non-residents is the parking lot at the Whalers center, but at 40 bucks a day it is not exactly cheap. After some time trying to find a parking lot that didn’t cost a fortune, we found a parking lot next to the golf-shops just 300 meters from paid parking. The walk got a bit longer than anticipated because it is another 300 meters to the “Black Rock” and the snorkeling area.
Jesper was the first to go in the water and almost instantly saw a huge sea turtle (at least 100 kg. but probably much bigger). Line, still the only one in the family not having seen a sea turtle swimming, got in shortly after. She swam all the way out to the outer point of the Black Rock, but sadly no turtles appeared. She was half way back and already imagining another round of “Mum, is it true that you have never seen a sea turtle when snorkeling” when one came swimming directly under her! It’s just fantastic to see these large, calm creatures swimming so gracefully in their element and for a while nobody else discovered it so she had the experience all to herself. Line was so happy to finally join the “turtle club” that she could hardly wait to tell the rest of the family.
We stayed at the beach the rest of the afternoon and the boys enjoyed playing on the rocks and in the sand.
Amazing what salt water can do to hair that otherwise refuses to do anything but lie flat on his head:
Jesper went out again and saw his second but smaller turtle that day. Actually he almost made a frontal collision with it because he was looking to the side when suddenly it appeared right in front of him. He filmed it for a few minutes before leaving it alone (unfortunately that cannot be said for some of the other snorkelers who got way to close and even tried to touch it). There are signs everywhere saying that it is forbidden by law to harass them in ANY way.
Jesper saw a lot of other people jumping from a 6-7 meter high cliff into the ocean, and, of course, had to give it a go. The most scary thing, though, was the climb along the bay to reach the cliff, as the rocks are very sharp and there are signs all the way warning about falling rocks. But he got up there and did convince himself to jump. Line had been ready with the camera for 5 minutes, but just as he jumped, Vitus walked right in front of the camera asking “can I see the film”! we did manage to get a few photos, though, but not the whole sequence as we had hoped for.
Finding the climb scarier than the actual jump, Jesper didn’t feel like doing it again 😉
BTW, if you want a pretty much 100% guarantee to see sea turtles you can go to Ho’okipa Beach Park (20-25 minutes east of Kahului on the north coast). It is one of the only places on the planet where sea turtles rest on the beach for the night. Only started about 8 years ago but every day around 5 pm anywhere between 30 and 100 turtles invade the right side of the beach to sleep for the night.
Pretty amazing but remember to watch from a distance.
You can snorkle there too since if you are desparate to see them in the water. That part of the beach is sheltered by the rocks, but the surf is still pretty rough and as a result visibility is limited and you will be pushed around by the waves.