Can Geezers Snorkel in the Winter on Oahu?

By Bob Anderson
My wife and I (68 & 66) are going to Oahu in the winter, February, and are wondering if there are any good snorkeling spots that time of year which might be “senior (geezer) friendly”?

I was stationed at the Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor for two years in the 60’s, and we had a SCUBA diving club. Our favorite spots were the “coral canyons” of Makaha Beach Park and beyond the reef out to the mouth of Hanauma Bay, which was practically deserted back then.

I’ve been back to the islands a couple of times since then, but my wife has never been to Hawaii, and our trip will fulfill a lifelong dream for her.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Galen & Nicole – Aug 8, 2011 – Oahu Winter Snorkeling? – Sure

Bob, you bet. We always recommend summer as the best time to snorkel in Hawaii, Oahu included, but lots of folks snorkel in the winter. It will all depend on what the weather is doing. One week you could have huge waves and a surf competition on the North Shore, and another week it could be flat calm and you will be able to snorkel at Sharks Cove, like one of our site readers told us about here. Just carefully note the conditions, waves, and currents, and don’t do anything beyond what you consider to be your “geezer” ability.

If the weather and swell is coming in from the north it is likely that you will be able to get in the water at Hanauma Bay. Another spot that might be possible if the weather is up is at Ko Olina Lagoons.

The water temperatures are colder in the winter, so consider getting a thin wetsuit or a neoprene top for warmth.

Have fun!

Anonymous – Aug 8, 2011 – Geezers Snorkeling in Oahu

I think the places you mentioned are the best. Hanauma Bay is crowded – depending on the tides – go when it opens if it is low tide. Personally, I did not find snorkeling very good on Oahu. I go every year to surf and stand up paddle. I go snorkeling when surfing wears me out.

I am 71. I swim a lot. Hope you do too because even going to the bay will take a lot out of you if you are older. Hope you get in shape.

Hanauma Bay gets very crowded after 9am but I still enjoy my time. You should have your own mask, snorkel, and even fins because at our age you don’t want to mess around with crap that leaks.

You are also going when the winter swells bring the high waves. I usually go in September or October. There are some places on the North Shore where you can snorkel and see turtles but check the swells before you go. Last year I ran into early large swells and snorkeling on North Shore was impossible. On Oahu it is the swells and tides that seem to dictate where to snorkel.

Makaha, most likely will have large swells in winter. Towards Kaena there are some places but risky due to open ocean and homeless people living on beach, who may rob your car.

The big question is does your doctor feel you are in shape? I have a good doctor at VA and I work out 4-5 times a week – often swimming a half mile and then using training fins, mask, snorkel to swim underwater half to three quarters of the pool length.

Take care of yourself and good luck.

Joseph McKeown – Sep 27, 2011 – Geezers Can Snorkel February Oahu!

Sounds like all the responders know their Oahu snorkeling. February can be flat and crystal clear. If you’re lucky, you could be snorkeling in 20 feet off Makaha Beach admiring the wave shadows on the sandy bottom. Visibility can be 100-150 feet. But, probably February will be wavy and rainy with low visibility.

I’m a geezer myself, 64, and cautious. I’m partial to the north shore and west side. Don’t be frightened by the homeless. They have strong understandings with the police. If they don’t cause the police paperwork, they leave them alone.

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