All of our snorkel gear comes with snorkel, mask, and swim fins.
- Snorkels are of the dry-snorkel variety. A dry-snorkel is a snorkel that has a mechanism at the opening that closes to keep the water from getting inside the snorkel. Good for beginners and a feature that makes snorkeling easier. Snorkels also come with purges closer to the mouthpieces so if water does get in, it can easily be blown out of the purge (instead of having to blow it out of the opening of the snorkel, like a normal snorkel).
- Our snorkeling masks are high-grade, with double-feathered edge silicone skirts, tempered safety glass lenses, easy to squeeze nose well for ear equalization, wide field of vision, and padded comfort straps that won't pull your hair out.
- We've got a few different kinds of swim fins. Swim fins fit a range of foot sizes. Small fins fit sizes 4-7. Medium fins fit sizes 7-10. Large fins are for sizes 11-13.
Snorkel gear can be picked up at our office (2463 Kuhio Ave, next to the convenience store) starting at 9am every day.
Our office typically closes at 6pm, gear should be returned to our office by then or first thing in the morning the next day (after hours returns can be arranged if necessary).
We ask everybody renting our gear to sign our Waiver/Liability Form and to leave a deposit. The Waiver/Liability Form says that you know what you're doing is dangerous and might die and most importantly says you're going to bring our gear back to us in one piece. We take a superficial deposit to help us insure that you'll bring our gear back to us.
Ideal snorkeling conditions call for calm waters and little to no wind. You want the water to be calm because rough water will toss you around, sometimes onto rocks and coral that can severely hurt you or drown you. You want the wind to be light or non-existent so that it doesn't blow you all over the place. Wind and waves also churn up the sand from the ocean floor and make it much harder to see.
It's a good idea to consult a surf report before heading out to snorkel so that you have some idea of what to expect when you get there. Surf News Network is one of the easiest surf reports to use. They have the island divided up into North / South / East / West shores with the wave heights and tides for each shore, as well as a diving report at the end of the surf report to summarize where the conditions are best.
Most importantly, you're going to want to use your brain. If it looks dangerous, it's best not to go. Beaches with lifeguards are typically your best bet to stay safe. If in doubt, don't go out!
Use oxybenzone-free sunscreen - it's a little more expensive but it doesn't kill the marine life. Don't forget the backs of your legs - they face up towards the sun the whole time you'r e snorkeling.
Watch out for portugese man-o-war (stinging jellyfish-like things) when it gets extra breezy from the East! (typical tradewinds are 8-10mph, when it gets to 20+ beware)
There are several places on the island known for being good "snorkeling locations" but you'll have to use your best judgement when deciding where to snorkel. Some days, like during tropical storms and hurricanes, there are no good places to snorkel. Be sure to consult a surf report to have an idea of where a good place to snorkel that day will be. Your life may depend on it.
Hanauma Bay - Best place to learn how to snorkel and also one of the most crowded. If you snorkel well and are confident go out past the breakers (on calm days) where there's little to no people and the snorkeling is still good. $7.50 to get in unless you go in before 7am. Closed on Tuesdays.
Shark's Cove/Three Tables - One of the best places to snorkel during the summer, but suicidal to go in during the winter when the waves are 30ft and higher. For those with some free-diving abilities, Shark's Cove has plenty of caves and swim-throughs to keep you entertained.
Waikiki MCLD - One of the best kept secrets. It's not really a secret, but locals prefer to stay out of Waikiki. From the "Waikiki Wall" to the Natatorium, nobody is allowed to go fishing there and when there are no waves there's plenty of marine life to see. The coral reef has been obliterated, but there are other living things there to look at.
Lanikai - Known as one of the prettiest beaches in the state. Besides being pretty, there's a barrier reef off-shore that makes Lanikai very calm and one of our best swimming and snorkeling beaches. Lanikai is ok for fish and great for turtles - the turtles like to swim around eating algae off the coral heads. Go snorkeling here (as long as it's not very windy from the East or after a big rain storm, when the brown water just sits inside the reef) and you will most likely see turtles.
Laniakea - Meaning "limitless heaven" in the Hawaiian language, Laniakea beach is also known as turtle beach. Park on the mountain side of the street and carefully cross the highway and you will most likely see turtles on the beach. If you go snorkeling there you will also most likely see them in the water. But obviously, don't go during the winter or when there are waves because there are boulders everywhere a wave might smash you against.
Waimea - Right next to Shark's Cove and 3 Tables Beach and also partly in the Marine Conservation District. In the winter, some of the biggest waves in the world form here. During the summer, when the ocean on the North Shore is totally flat, the snorkeling is good on both sides of the mouth of the bay. Just make sure there are no waves.
Electric Beach - Kahe Point, known as "Electric Beach" to the locals because of the power plant right there. The power plant vents out warm water into the ocean and marine life congregate around that opening. People snorkel here really early in the morning (6am and earlier) hoping to see dolphins. You might see them if you're lucky, but know that there are no lifeguards here and you are going into the ocean at your own risk (and people have died).
Kaneohe Bay - Some of the best reef systems on the island are in Kaneohe Bay and the snorkeling is pretty darn good. Why? Because the patch reefs are all far away from land and you either have to swim really far to get there, or you would typically paddle a kayak out to the reefs. Sound like a lot of work? It is, which is why the reefs are in such good condition. Grab a kayak and you could spend all day out there.