This is the Black Rock area as seen from the right side of our balcony. The snorkeling area is all along the rocks out into the water.
The island of Lana'i can be seen in the background of this photo.
If you're feeling more adventurous, you can even swim around the first point and into the cove on the other side. Here are some paddleboarders making that trek. Being that I had a child with me who had never done this before, I opted to stay closer in. There were definitely some currents farther out on some of the days we were there and I didn't want to deal with them.
After first giving our snorkel gear a test run in the condo's pool, we were ready to make our first attempt.
Here's Ryan giving me the "everything's okay can we please get going" pose.
The first thing you notice is the amazing clarity of the water. Even with lots of people around (the only downside to this location), the water remained unbelievably clear.
Close in, this location is a sandy bottom with rocks to the right. Not much live coral due to too much human impact on the environment, but once we swam out a little farther, there was some coral still alive.
This is probably my favorite photo that I took underwater out of all the places we snorkeled. I have a whole new appreciation for all the underwater camerawork on the Discovery channel, Animal Planet, etc. If you think land photos are hard...try bobbing up and down while holding your breath and trying to capture a moving target that swims faster than your digital camera can take a pic! At least this gorgeous, bright orange Slate Pencil Urchin held still long enough for me to get the shot. I did have to free dive down to do it, but it was worth it.
This was the only Trumpetfish I managed to find out of all our dives. Apparently, they go through a phase where they are solid yellow, but in this phase, they are olive green until almost the tail and then you get a black with white spots section and a bright yellow tail. Sadly, the next day, I watched a spearfisherman get out of the water in this location with two of these gorgeous fish that he had killed. They are so very narrow that I can't imagine they make good eating so I can only figure that he took them just because they were so pretty and unusual looking. Kinda hate that.
Also hanging out in the coral area were quite a few of the Hawaii state fish. Known as the little fish with the big name, it's called a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. In English, it's known as a reef triggerfish.
Here's another shot of this guy with an urchin in the lower left corner.
I thought they would mostly stay by the rocks, but I caught this one racing away over the sandy bottom.
Other fish that seemed to prefer the sandier areas are these Sergeant Majors (striped) and tangs (solid).
The Sergeant Majors seemed fairly comfortable with all the people in the water so I managed to get a close up of this one.
These Cornetfish were all over on the sandy bottom, but you had to look closely because their skinny silhouette and uniform coloring make them look like shadows or blades of grass.
This guy was so fast. I chased him all over the place trying to get a good shot of his amazing colors, but this was the best I could do. This is a Yellowfin Surgeonfish. He's mostly blue with bright yellow fins that look like a bird's wings flapping when he swims. There's also a bright yellow stripe just below the dorsal fin on his back and white ring around his tail.
This was another fish that led me a merry chase and who has phenomenal colors that I couldn't capture. Brilliant scarlet and lime green, this Christmas Wrasse was one of the most colorful fish we saw.
Moving back over to the coral area, I caught this lone Longnose Butterflyfish. I thought it was odd that it appeared to be all alone, but I never did see any others like it that day.
Another singleton was this Yellow Tang. Every day that we went to Black Rock, I saw this same single fish hanging around this same rock. Normally, they come in schools so I can't figure out why he was all by his lonesome.
On the other hand, there were lots and lots of these Lowfin Chubs hanging around.
I wish I'd been able to getter a better side view of this Orangespine Unicornfish to show all its brilliant orange and yellow coloring, but I was getting the "enough fish...it's time to boogie board" signal from the kid so had to pack it in for the day.
Notice that all snorkel gear has already been removed. I barely got him to hang around long enough to take this last photo. He was excited to do the snorkeling, though. He kept forgetting I couldn't understand him with the snorkel in his mouth and would yell out under water when he saw something interesting. Then I would smile and break the seal on my mask and water would leak in and we'd both end up on the surface spitting out water and laughing. It was awesome.
Stay tuned to see what we found at some other locations around the island.