Normally the summers on Kauai’s South Shore are too rough for good snorkeling. This had to be the mildest summer in history. The surfers were grumbling, but divers and snorkelers were taking advantage of all the flat summer days in beautiful South Shore locations like Poipu Beach and Lawai Beach.
Did you know that some of the best snorkeling on Kauai can be done from shore? That’s right, there is no need to get on a boat here, just get your gear and head out from shore. Sure, summer’s almost over, but the fall and winter months are the best months for snorkeling at South Shore beaches anyways. In fact the abundance and diversity of fish found especially at Lawai Beach is better than any other location on the island.
Large schools of Raccoon Butterflyfish and Orangeband Surgeon fish are common here as are wrasses of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Here you can watch the Rockmover Wrasse picking up and moving rocks by spitting them out. It’s a sight to see if you have never seen it before. Territorial Damselefish will chase other brightly colored reef fish from their algae patches and wrasses will fight over food. If you are lucky (or early) you may get treated to seeing a Pacific Green Sea Turtle. These graceful giants of the sea tend to frequent the area in search of their favorite food.
It’s a whole other world below the surface. It is also a whole new world in the ocean for visitors that have never snorkeled before. Here are some tips to help you have an enjoyable and safe experience: Always remember to take some time to see where the best place to enter the water is (clue: look for sand, avoid the rocks). Make sure your gear fits. Put your fins on in the water. Always swim with a partner. Snorkel at lifeguarded beaches until you are comfortable. Ask the locals questions.
If you are going to snorkel at this wonderful location it is important to know that there is a strong current that runs east to west. The safest way to avoid this current, is to look at the resort across the street and make note of the “Lawai Beach Resort” sign. Do not allow yourself to drift west beyond this sign, because this is where the current becomes extremely strong and dangerous. If you can stay on the eastern side of this landmark it can help keep you out of trouble.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself. If you or your kids want to learn more about Hawaii’s marine life, you can pick up one of the many books on the subject like, The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book, Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles or Fun Fish Facts for Kids.