There were some pretty amazing view driving around the east part of Oahu on our way to the North Shore. China Man's Hat is the local name for the beautiful island just offshore in the picture above. The water is very shallow and I hear that on really low tides you can walk all the way to the island, but it was just deep enough for us to snorkel on this day. It was hard to see in the shallow, silty water but we did have a great find, a green lionfish hanging onto this rock (above right).
We stopped at Sunset Beach and Pipeline just to see the famous wave breaks. It was a very mellow day on the north shore but still some surfers were out. I jumped in for a quick surf session at Chun's Beach with my buddy Mark and scored some fun rights. Turtles were popping up all around me here.
The real underwater magic happened when we strapped on some scuba tanks and dove a site called Firehouse. It is named this because the entry is right behind an actual firehouse but the site is between Three Tables and Sharks Cove. A picture of sharks cove can be seen below.
Underwater here life clings to vertical rock faces and overhangs, as well as hiding inside cracks and crevices to avoid getting swept away from the famous north shore big waves. We found eels galore and a couple of nudibranchs including a beautiful red spot nudibranch (below right) which Heidi and I had never seen before.
It was an amazing feeling to get a chance to dive in a place where huge powerful waves make diving inaccessible for half the year.