Sea rockets help Hawaii Island swimmers go deeper and move faster. // © 2017 Fair Wind Cruises
Feature image (above): Hawaii Mermaid Adventures adds an exotic twist to underwater explorations on Maui. // © 2017 Hawaii Mermaid Adventures
Snorkeling tops almost everyone’s list during a Hawaii vacation. When it’s time for more in-depth aquatic activities, island visitors have several unusual undersea adventures from which to choose.
With a little help from tools such as mermaid tails, motorized rockets and shark cages, clients can immerse themselves in maritime delights. Here’s a look at some splashy ways to see what awaits down under.
Mermaid Adventures, Maui
Hawaii Mermaid Adventures makes fantasies come true by transforming Maui visitors into finned nymphs. During the two-hour excursion, guests learn about mermaid myths and mysteries. They practice getting in and out of their tails on land, then slip into the water to flip amid colorful coral reefs and sea creatures. Since mermaids are unisex and ageless, guys and kids are invited to get into the swim. The eco-company encourages guests to appreciate and connect with Hawaii’s marine environment while living the dream.
Sea Rockets, Hawaii Island
Advanced snorkelers who aren’t yet free divers can try this zippy option, offered to guests of Fair Wind Cruises on Hawaii Island. Sea rockets, or underwater propulsion vehicles, move guests faster and bring them get closer to the deep-sea landscape. While snorkelers have to stay near the surface, sea rocket divers get that extra kick to head down low. The Kohala Coast’s resident turtles, yellow tang, puffer fish and Moorish idols don’t blink an eye at the rockets, but users love them.
Shark Encounters, Maui and Oahu
Hawaii Shark Encounters takes participants 3 miles off Oahu’s North Shore to an area known for its population of Galapagos and sandbar sharks. There, guests climb into a floating cage with protective polyglass windows providing nose-to-nose views of the impressive creatures. The two-hour tour focuses on safety first while promising big thrills.
Shark Dive Maui, offered at Maui Ocean Center, invites scuba-certified guests to drift through the attraction’s 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit. Friends and family can watch through a 54-foot-long acrylic walk-through tunnel as participants safely dive with fish, stingrays and up to six species of sharks.
Snuba, Multiple Islands
This snorkeling/scuba hybrid helps clients stay underwater longer and dive deeper without being scuba-certified. After strapping on a mask and fins, participants don a weight belt that allows them to sink as low as 20 feet. Throughout the tour, they breathe through a regulator connected to an air source that floats up above. Snuba is offered by many companies around the islands, including Fair Wind Cruises (Hawaii Island), Snuba Tours of Kauai, Trilogy Ocean Cruises (Maui and Lanai) and Ko Olina Ocean Adventures (Oahu).
Underwater Weddings, Hawaii Island and Maui
Clients can take the plunge — literally — by tying the knot in Hawaii’s serene ocean waters. Mornings, when seas usually are calm, make the best time for the ceremony. Requirements for the couple include scuba certification, a marriage license and a mutual sense of adventure.
On Maui, Makena Coast Dive Charters and A Romantic Maui Wedding earn high marks for their underwater nuptials. With Hawaii Island-based Beach Weddings Hawaii, guests join in the dry part of the celebration aboard a private charter boat. Clients also can say “I do” in Maui Ocean Center’s Open Ocean Exhibit.