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Snorkeling in Turtle Bay, Oahu

Sunset near Turtle Bay, Hawaii
Sunset near Turtle Bay, Hawaii

They don't call it Sunset Beach for nothing. The fading light casts vivid ambers and reds down the shoreline on the northwest of the island of Oahu. The rolling waves glisten, radiant, and a seal basks on the beach a yard from us, disinterested – to him, this is an everyday occurrence, as are the people who flock to the beach to watch the setting sun.

The whole scene is at once pristine and exotic to me, but really, I'm most thankful just to not be moving for a few minutes, after two flights and a drive across the island. Turtle Bay is just a few more miles up Route 83, but it’s nice to just stop and take it in. We're in Hawaii.

We collapse into the condo, and before I know it the time difference has me awake at 6 a.m. Heading out in search of a sunrise, we follow 83 down the east side of the island a few miles to Malaekahana State Recreation Area.

The weather from back home has followed us though – Oahu in late October, it seems, is much like Pittsburgh in May. There's a light drizzle, a stiff breeze, and the growing light only reveals a gray, overcast sky.

Back at Turtle Bay we set up on the beach, snorkeling, boogie boarding and sunbathing as weather permits, and retreating to the cabana for cocktails when rain threatens. The abundance, variety and color of the fish is astounding as I float around the jagged volcanic rock of the sea floor. Fins allow me to chase some of the more interesting sea creatures and conduct a thorough exploration of the bay, although I never get to see the turtles after which it is named.

More historic sights are also accessible, as the island was a pivotal area during WWII. From the beach, old “state-of-the-art” radar towers are visible. Placards explain that they are infamous for having mistaken the attacking Japanese bombers for returning American planes.

Further west of the resorts, the beaches also reveal shoreline fortifications, and on a nighttime walk I discovered some locals camped out in an old bunker, enjoying a surf fishing expedition. They, too, were using it to hide from the rains.

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Sunset near Turtle Bay, Hawaii
Sunset near Turtle Bay, Hawaii

They don't call it Sunset Beach for nothing. The fading light casts vivid ambers and reds down the shoreline on the northwest of the island of Oahu. The rolling waves glisten, radiant, and a seal basks on the beach a yard from us, disinterested – to him, this is an everyday occurrence, as are the people who flock to the beach to watch the setting sun.

The whole scene is at once pristine and exotic to me, but really, I'm most thankful just to not be moving for a few minutes, after two flights and a drive across the island. Turtle Bay is just a few more miles up Route 83, but it’s nice to just stop and take it in. We're in Hawaii.

We collapse into the condo, and before I know it the time difference has me awake at 6 a.m. Heading out in search of a sunrise, we follow 83 down the east side of the island a few miles to Malaekahana State Recreation Area.

The weather from back home has followed us though – Oahu in late October, it seems, is much like Pittsburgh in May. There's a light drizzle, a stiff breeze, and the growing light only reveals a gray, overcast sky.

Back at Turtle Bay we set up on the beach, snorkeling, boogie boarding and sunbathing as weather permits, and retreating to the cabana for cocktails when rain threatens. The abundance, variety and color of the fish is astounding as I float around the jagged volcanic rock of the sea floor. Fins allow me to chase some of the more interesting sea creatures and conduct a thorough exploration of the bay, although I never get to see the turtles after which it is named.

More historic sights are also accessible, as the island was a pivotal area during WWII. From the beach, old “state-of-the-art” radar towers are visible. Placards explain that they are infamous for having mistaken the attacking Japanese bombers for returning American planes.

Further west of the resorts, the beaches also reveal shoreline fortifications, and on a nighttime walk I discovered some locals camped out in an old bunker, enjoying a surf fishing expedition. They, too, were using it to hide from the rains.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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