Ocean Watch

By Susan Scott

Monday, December 14, 1998



Gift-giving tips
for those who love isle
marine life

This year, my family and I have decided to give each other gifts of activities rather than stuff. We have plenty of stuff, we figure, but don't get around to using it nearly as often as we would like.

And so, instead of upgrading old boogie boards or buying new binoculars, we are going to dust off the old gear and use it for all its worth. Here are some ideas we have for some fun Hawaii marine gifts:

Bullet Plan a day at Hanauma Bay. I can't count the number of Hawaii residents who have said to me: "How is it there now? I haven't been there in years."

The answer is, it's better than ever. Take with a grain of salt the dreary news of people trampling the coral, of fish-feeding being unnatural and parking being impossible.

Even though it may not be 100 percent perfect, Hanauma Bay is still one of the world's premier snorkeling sites. It's worth every ounce of energy it takes to get there.

To give this as a gift, do the hard parts: Choose the day, gather the gear and do the driving. (Everyone should bring their Hawaii drivers licenses for free admission.)

Bullet Visit the Waikiki Aquarium. It's small but it's excellent. Check out the recent renovations and great new exhibits of coral and other marine animals.

Going to the aquarium seems easy, but recently I planned such an excursion and the kid I was taking decided he didn't want to go -- really, really didn't want to go.

What to do? The boy's mother made the decision: The kid was going, like it or not.

Of course, he had a wonderful time and was soon running excitedly from exhibit to exhibit, showing me all the cool animals he was discovering there.

It taught me how important it is to sometimes force-feed kids experiences. If they hate it you can drop it. But they might love it.

You can change a life that way.

Bullet Take someone on a whale-watching trip. I know people who have lived in Hawaii all their lives and have yet to see a humpback whale. You can fix that deficiency with a gift of a boat excursion.

There are several excellent choices. I like the Navatek for its smooth ride. This Honolulu Harbor boat is a good one for those who tend to get seasick.

Another fun boat is North Shore Catamaran Charters. This gentle ride is an extra treat because you get to go to charming Haleiwa to catch it.

Check the yellow pages under Boat Excursions and Sightseeing Trips.

Bullet Take a hike. Tell your friends to get their hiking boots out from under the bed, and take them on a walk to Kaena Point, an easy 21/2 miles, one way. Bring water or make it a picnic.

Some of my best marine animal sightings have occurred on this walk. I have seen white-tailed tropicbirds, Laysan albatrosses, Hawaiian monk seals and humpback whales. At the end of this nature trail are tide pools to explore.

Bullet Rent kayaks and go paddling. You can rent kayaks in Kailua and Haleiwa. (See Boat Renting and Leasing in the yellow pages). This is fun for both beginners and experts.

Bullet Visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Every time I make this excursion, it's like my first time there. Not only do I remember the significance of World War II to the world, I rediscover the beauty of Hawaii's largest estuary.

Bullet Take someone boogie-boarding at Bellows Beach. Everyone who lives here should do this at least once. Bellows is open only on weekends and holidays.

Marine-activity gifts take time, but you can plan them for quieter times of the year. Also, they have one major advantage over traditional gifts: You get to enjoy them, too.

Happy adventurous holidays.



Marine science writer Susan Scott's Ocean Watch column
appears Mondays in the Star-Bulletin. Contact her at honu@aloha.net.



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