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Shark’s Cove

August 26, 2008

Snorkeling is to scuba diving as body boarding is to surfing. It is the sport of the casual enthusiast versus a passionate commitment. And yet, just as body boarding has gained cred through the existence of a pro circuit dedicated to its most intense practitioners, snorkeling also has a lot to be said in its favor. For one thing, it is low maintenance, low budget. A five dollar rental and you are swimming with the fishes for a day. Pull over the car, strap on the plastic gear that, while intended for benign interactions with nature, in a few years will be dumped at sea, and enter the mirror world of water. That, in my book, is a price of admission that bests Disneyland any day of the week.

I am not a snorkeling fanatic by any means, or even a frequent snorkeler. So I don’t really have much to compare the snorkeling wonderland of Shark’s Cove to. But it must be pretty decent to attract the scuba set, who you can see laboring on shore with their heavy tanks and troublesome bodysuits, and gliding beneath you like henchmen in a James Bond movie.

The crazy thing about the cove is it starts at ankle deep and by about fifteen feet out you are airborne, gazing down at the canyons of coral below. Like all of the coral I have seen off Oahu so far, it is not in good shape, but the abundance of marine life more than makes up for it. We glided about for an hour that felt to me like twenty minutes. I’d wax poetic about the varieties of fish species if I hadn’t failed my Intro to Marine Biology class back in college. Just imagine the calming effect that that giant fishtank in your doctor’s office has on you and magnify that by about a thousand. There are also some caves that you can swim through if your lungs and balls are big enough. We took a pass. I think it is the kind of thing someone needs to show you.

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