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Hawaii trip in January, need help for some questions please (snorkelling, humpbacks, etc)


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#1 joez2391

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:51 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I'm taking a trip to Hawaii the first week in January [4 days big island, 3 Oahu, 2 maui] and was looking for some help on a few questions for people who have been before/live there.   Since were hopping around a lot and have to worry about no fly times we werere looking for a lot of snorkeling opportunities (don't worry I booked the kona manta night dive of course ;) couldn't miss that) but not really sure of other must do snorkeling or scuba.  I looked into a spinner dolphin snorkel/whale watch but I was really hoping to be able to get in the water with them (Tonga someday of course).  A few quick questions:

 

1.  Are there tours to actually snorkel with the humpbacks? I'm guessing that there are laws against it as all I have seen are topside sightseeing tours

 

2. What would be the best place on big island or Oahu to see the endangered monk seal? I know they are more common on the northern islands but it would be neat to grab some photos of them, especially in the water!

 

3.  What are some not to miss snorkel spots on the big island? I have heard of Capt Cook monument and don't mind the mile hike to get there.  My girlfriend and I are no where near beginner snorkelers and i'de like to go to places which offer the best photo ops of course :P

 

4.  Are there any big island snorkel spots with the best chance to see some white-tip reef sharks or other sharks? I'm sure we'll be seeing turtles everywhere so hopefully wont have to worry about that

 

I've done some crazy research but a lot of places are targeting to children or people new at snorkeling.  figured the people of wetpixel would know all the best spots for photography! Thanks for the help everyone, I'll write a trip report once we get back!



#2 joez2391

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

any help? :)



#3 Daniel_Aus

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 12:02 AM

My wife and I are heading back for our 4th trip to Hawaii in 4 years in Jan as well.

 

For the spinner dolphins, we found the Big Island was the best spot. We tried Oahu but found they were too restrictive with flotation devices being worn in the water. On the Big Island we went with Coral Reef Snorkel Adventures. It's a private boat for about 5-7 people which gives you the freedom with do whatever you want. Be it spend the whole morning with the dolphins or go whale watching.

 

Some of my pics from our dolphin trip are here: http://www.danielbus...pinner-Dolphins

 

For snorkelling, you can do the tours or just drive yourself to the Captain Cook memorial park. We've seen a couple of small white tips there but because there are so many tourists and boats you probably won't see much. 

 

If time is an issue I recommend some shore dives. We've done a few on Maui on the north coast and it was great. If you do the old jetty at Lahaina you'll find quite a few sharks and turtles like here:

 

http://www.danielbus...3/3/Turtle-Town

 

Monk Seals - I've only ever seen one and that was on Kauai. Good luck with that.



#4 joez2391

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:57 PM

thanks for the response, definitely going to check out coral reef for the spinner dolphins.  It seems like 4 hours is kind of short did it seem like enough time with the dolphins?  Also I was checkout out some of your pictures, those pics of the humpbacks were amazing!!  how strict are they about "accidently falling in" and grabbing some pics if the whale comes close? I honestly don't think ide be able to fight the urge to get some shots if one comes close.   



#5 BHC

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 08:06 PM

1.  Are there tours to actually snorkel with the humpbacks? I'm guessing that there are laws against it as all I have seen are topside sightseeing tours

 

Your guess is correct, swimming with humpbacks is illegal in Hawaii.

 

 

3.  What are some not to miss snorkel spots on the big island? I have heard of Capt Cook monument and don't mind the mile hike to get there.  My girlfriend and I are no where near beginner snorkelers and i'de like to go to places which offer the best photo ops of course

 

 

 

A much more enjoyable way of getting to Captain Cook is to rent a kayak and paddle across Kealakekua Bay.  Place of Refuge (aka Two Step) is a great spot for shore diving or snorkeling.

 

those pics of the humpbacks were amazing!!  how strict are they about "accidently falling in" and grabbing some pics if the whale comes close? I honestly don't think ide be able to fight the urge to get some shots if one comes close.   

 

 

You and/or the tour operator could be fined; at a minimum, expect to be yelled at.  Save the humpbacks for your Tonga trip!



#6 joez2391

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

okay great that's good to know that its illegal before heading over there, as much as I'de like to get pics of them im glad they're protecting them from some of the crazier tourists that don't respect the animals like we do.  Tonga it is then...well someday :rolleyes:

 

I have read a lot into kayaking to captain cook's but there has been a lot of controversy with them ripping up the corals, plus I don't think you can leave them on shore so we'd have to swim with them while we snorkeled.  definitely an option to check out though! I just looked up place of refuge and it looks really nice! definitely going to have to make a trip out there to snorkel!  really looks like a great snorkel spot