Hanauma Bay is a lovely eroded crater lagoon with many coral reefs and plenty of fish to observe. I was swimming a little less than two hours, and saw lots of fish but no turtles. It was tons of fun and a lot of swimming to keep steady in the strong wave-current. I tried to take pictures, but have no clue what the fish were or if I actually got any good pictures. I'm fine with any result. The big deal was that I was there and spent hours swimming with the fishes. Despite the warmth of the water, I got a massive cramp in my left calf, so agreed to head for shore when my swimming buddy's foot cramped.
Some things to keep in mind when going to the bay include:
Parking is limited. They will *close* the access road when the lot fills up. There are no alternatives. So get there early, or be prepared to be disappointed.
There are fin/snorkel rentals available at the Bay.
The only food sales are at the top of the hill.
There are public water fountains on the beach.
There are public restrooms on the beach. There are also cold outdoor showers to sluice off before heading back up the hill.
There is a little Jeep-powered trolley to take you and your stuff down and up if you don't want to walk it. Down is $1 and up is $1.25. An all-day pass up and down was something less than $4.
Despite warnings to the contrary, there is some shade. The shade is mostly back off of the beach against the cliff wall.
Dive shoes are a Very.Good.Idea. The Bay has some sand, but a lot more coral and rock even in the shallows.
While I was paranoid about bringing any possessions that might get stolen, apparently this is a pretty safe place. I saw people leaving bags all over the place, and no one being nosey in anyone else's stuff.
Swimming buddy and her boyfriend hung out with me for a while while we drank water and dried out a bit. We stopped by the local greasy-burger joint, Teddy's, for an afternoon snack, then started the long trek through rush hour to get back. Boyfriend has a yellow Jeep, which made for fun riding if a bit awkward dismounts.
My left leg is still mighty unhappy. And we sat through the epic rush hour traffic that blesses Honolulu every afternoon. But I had a great day. And I didn't get burned. I was warned and warned again about getting sunburned, and took those warnings to heart. Also, I got to prove to myself that my Lands End swim skirt and tankini top were enough cover for me to feel ok going into a restaurant. So I'll call it a win all over.