Turtles Canyon... Where the Turtles Hang Out! - Oahu

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Turtle Cruising on the Cleaning Station

Turtle Cruising on the Cleaning Station

We took a trip out on a dive boat today to "Turtles Canyon" on Oahu. Turns out, it's the reef area almost directly out from the beach area in front of the Marriott Waikiki.

I have to say, turtles were at the top of my list of critters we had not yet encountered while snorkeling and this trip has more than made up for it!

Turtles Canyon is well named, because it is a spot on the reef where there is a cleaning station, as well as conditions that the turtles seek out for feeding and resting. We saw at least five or six of them today, and, in fact, there was a good size one right in the water as we jumped in from the boat! I was so excited that I almost forgot to shoot pictures of it, because I was swimming just six inches away from him and was so mesmerized! I did think to hit the video recording button and got a bit of good video as he swam down to the bottom.

The water depth is 30-35 feet in the area, and only a small portion of it was as shallow as 20 feet, so, it did not make for great snorkeling visibility. The visibility was not great due to sand in the water column, but, it was fun, nonetheless! We saw tons of triggerfish feeding on what appeared to be tiny, tiny larval jellyfish.

All in all, it was worth making the trip out to see the turtles, even though the rest of the conditions are poor for snorkeling. The scuba divers had a great time down below hanging out with the turtles and even saw a White Tip Reef Shark sleeping in a small cave. I recommend going out on this trip for the abundance of turtles!

Comments for Turtles Canyon... Where the Turtles Hang Out! - Oahu

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Nov 25, 2012
Honolulu or Waikiki snorkeling
by: Galen & Nicole

Thanks for this story Cary! We have read reviews of these trips online, but it is good to hear a full story from someone who has actually done it. It is a decent option for folks who are looking for Honolulu or Waikiki snorkeling options. There is a shore snorkeling spot a short walk from Waikiki called Queens Beach too.

Jan 16, 2017
Does getting to Turtle Canyon require a boat?
by: Snorkel Mom

It appears that Turtle Canyon is just off the coast. Is it possible to swim out to it? Could we walk on the Waikiki Wall out to the water to snorkel? Do I have the area right? I have strong swimmers and a turtle lover. Thank you.

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