Today was a big day for us: It was the first time we went snorkeling! We drove up to Hale’iwa and rented gear for a really great price at Tropical Rush.
We drove a little farther to Shark’s Cove, which was already pretty packed at 9:30 a.m. We did find a parking spot pretty easily, though, so it was all good. The cove is down a lava rock hill that’s pretty treacherous to navigate in flip-flops while also carrying a beach bag. Once on the shore, we threw on our masks and flippers and attempted to wade into the very, very rocky water until we realized it was actually easier to just start snorkeling right away–in something insanely shallow like a foot of water.
The water was a little bit murky because there were already so many people in it, but it blew my mind how many fish were in the water as soon as I put my face in. I mean, I saw no fish when I was standing and they magically appeared as soon as I dropped in.
Don’t ask me what fish I saw. I didn’t do well in biology. I saw a LOT of them, though. They weren’t shy, either. They swim right up to/past you and really don’t pay much attention to you. I saw tons of these cute, little purple urchins hiding in all the crevices of the lava rocks. I also found a single seashell despite the heavy traffic. We saw some really big slug-looking thing that I now think may have been a sea cucumber. If you know me, you know that very few things excite me the way hanging out with animals does so I was definitely in my glory.
Once Shark’s Cove was packed with people we checked out all the little shops in the area. We found this place called Happy Hale’iwa that sells the most delicious thing ever: coffee peanut butter. It’s life-changing stuff!
We had a lunch at Luibueno’s Mexican & Latin Cuisine that made me realize everyone who told me there’s no good Mexican food on Oahu is LYING. The tacos were divine and the margaritas were good too. We walked around a lot more and window shopped mostly. Mike bought a kukui nut lei that’s pretty sweet and I picked up the matching bottoms for a bikini top I bought at a shop closer to our condo. We stumbled across Cholo’s and, because you can’t judge a margarita until you’ve tried it, we had a mango margarita with local mangoes.
Our snorkel rental was good all day so we went back to Shark’s Cove in the afternoon. Parking was a bit more challenging, but there were somehow far fewer people in the water. The water was pretty cloudy at that point and I definitely almost ran into people and rocks a few times, but it was still enjoyable. We dropped off our gear, got our first legit Hawaiian shave ice (for free because we rented snorkel equipment!), and I popped into Rainbow Bridge Gift Shop where a very sweet kid taught me a half dozen ways to wear a sarong.
We got some groceries on the way home in order to maximize our time with a rental car. Then we promptly showered and headed to Waikiki Brewing Company to meet another new friend on the island. Their beers aren’t too bad!