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We’re on a boat! HAWAII Magazine goes snorkeling and sailing off Waikiki

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Hawaiian green sea turtles rising to the surface for air as I approached Turtle Canyon. We didn't have the camera equipment to capture the action underwater. But gazing down through the clear water from the ocean's surface, I counted at least a dozen honu during my time on the reef—some feeding, some resting, many more just swimming by. Obviously not briefed on the "10 ft. of distance" rule, one curious honu on its way the surface for a gulp of air even hovered within 4 ft. of me as I bobbed on the waves and tried to get out of its way. Amazing! 

After an hour or so of snorkeling, we were back on Spirit for lunch.

As we took our lunch on the deck, the crew began readying the sails to catch some wind.

From there it would be an hour of open-ocean sailing along the south shore, past the hotels and resorts of Waikiki ...

... on our way to the waters off Diamond Head.

Another view of Diamond Head, minus its world-famous profile.

Capt. Matt took Spirit even further out to sea after reaching Diamond Head, picking up wind and speed that had the catamaran bobbing and kicking up spray as it rode the waves.

On our way back, we took a closer pass by Waikiki.

The ride back was also more leisurely, giving passengers lots of time to chill on the deck and take in the scenery.

Dozens of surfers were waiting for waves on the reef just off the Hilton pier.

To say I didn't want to head back to the office would be an understatement.

Hawaii Nautical, locations at Ko Olina Resort, Kewalo Basin Harbor and Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, (808) 234-7245, www.hawaiinautical.com

Photos by David Croxford and Derek Paiva for HAWAII Magazine

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