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Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay
7455 Kalaniana’ole Highway
Southeast O’ahu

Hanauma Bay is one of O’ahu’s greatest treasures.  An old volcanic cone that is now open to the ocean, it is an undewater park open to the public.  Hanauma is both a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District (the first of several established in the State of Hawaiʻi). Reflecting changes in attitude, its name has changed over time from Hanauma Bay Beach Park to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.

Visitors are required by law to refrain from mistreating marine animals or from touching, walking, or otherwise having contact with coral heads, which appear much like large rocks on the ocean floor (here, mostly seaward of the shallow fringing reef off the beach). It is always recommended to avoid contacting coral or marine rocks as cuts to the skin can result and neglecting such wounds may bring medical problems.

Hanauma Bay is known for its abundance of Green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, known as Honu. Hanauma is a nursery ground for the immature turtles, which have their nesting grounds at French Frigate Shoals.  It is also known for its abundance of parrotfish.

A word to the wise: When we lived on O’ahu, the “big thing” was to go to Hanauma Bay and feed frozen green peas to the fish.  I have to admit the fish really seemed to enjoy the free lunch (and would swarm around you as soon as they saw the peas come out), but doing this is forbidden now.  So I encourage all those who visit this beautiful park to obey the law in all respects and to do (or not do!) as indicated by the Park Rangers and the signage there.

Hanauma Bay is a great treat for people of all ages and all swimming abilities, and the “viewing” of wildlife is spectacular.  I suggest you get there early in the morning, as we have many times seen the parking lot closed (because it’s full).  And if the lot is full when you arrive, DO NOT park on the edge of the road on the hill down to Hawai’i Kai (just to the left as you come out of the park)…doing so will result in a very expensive towing of your car.

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