Snorkeling on Poipu Beach, Hawaii - November 2013

Just a quick post about snorkeling on Kauai. We knew that Kauai isn't great for snorkeling (compared to the conditions I had on Maui and some of the other islands) so we didn't plan on doing it at all, but we were at the beach right in front of the Sheraton pool (it's Poipu Beach, but west of Poipu Beach Park) and some people were snorkeling so we decided to try it. Here's where we were:

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Another great reason to get snorkel gear is that the coral at this beach is very close to the surface and you can easily cut your foot on it (which T did) even just by putting your legs down. With the flippers it would be hard to get close enough to the coral to cut yourself (or at least your foot anyway!). We rented our snorkel equipment right from the activities desk at the pool. It was something like $15 for a 24-hour rental.

At first I was nervous because the waves seemed large and it's always scary to take your eyes off of them, but once I started floating I was too interested in what was going on below to worry about the waves and it was fine. I was surprised how many different types of fish we saw. The water wasn't very clear but they were definitely there. I'd brought a waterproof disposable camera so I snapped some photos (which turned out terribly due to the low visibility). Most look a bit like this:

I don't know enough about Hawaiian fish species to identify them on the spot, but I posted the photos and consulted with the experts (on so I now know I at least saw the following species (these photos are not mine! They are from Encyclopedia of Life.):

Pearl Wrasse (Anampses cuvier) © Randall, J.E.
Orangeband Surgeonfish (Acanthurus olivaceus) © David R
Reef Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus) © David R
Blackspot Sergeant (Abudefduf sordidus) © David R
 Saddle Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ephippium) © Randall, J.E.
 Christmas Wrasse (Thalassoma trilobatum) © Randall, J.E.
 Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) Robertson, D Ross
 Convict Tang (Acanthurus sandvicensis) © David R
Almost all of them were species I hadn't seen (or hadn't identified at least) on Maui. Pretty cool! We snorkeled for a bit but I got a little nervous that a big wave would take me belly-first into the coral (some parts were so close!) and it's tiring so we didn't last long.

Still, the next morning before I turned in the gear I went out for another 10 minutes or so even though it was drizzling. Visibility was even worse the second day but I wasn't going to "waste" the rest of that underwater film (I had no idea most of it was wasted anyway!). I'm glad I went out again.

For more photos of our trip see my Kauai set on Flickr.