Seeing Two Octopi at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Yesterday was epic! Kyle and I got our second chance to head over to Hanauma Bay in Oahu to go snorkeling. We had previously heard that there were octopuses in the water, but I was pretty skeptical about getting to see one, considering their camouflage abilities to hide in plain site and their speed and intelligence levels. Also we had visited before while Geoff was with us, and didn’t see any.

Octopus cyaneabig blue octopus, day octopus

By Brocken Inaglory – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7933738

But we got lucky! About 5 minutes into the first snorkeling sessions, I saw a little floating red sea creature hanging out at the edge of the reef, kind of circling a big reef rock. As soon as it saw me, it floated to the top of the big isolated rock, clung onto it, and began to descend into its vertical lair hidden in the rock. It hid and camouflaged with the surrounding cauliflower coral until I could only see a wary eye peering out from the small cave. About a minute later, the Cephalopod had completely disappeared into its den to hide.

We continued to snorkel through the Bay and went out much further than the previous session; going beyond the buoys with the advice of the people working at the preserves advice to stay in sight.

About 15 minutes later, I spotted another day Octopus! Very similar to the first; but it seemed to be a bit more curious and tolerant of Kyle and myself; we had a really hard time looking away! In similar fashion to the first little guy we say (about 2 feet in size including tentacles) he eventually clung to a rock, crept into a very small vertical hole and hid itself from our vision. While it hid, it changed colors and grew horns, changing into an extra replica of the surrounding reef structures.

Kyle and I continued to explore the bay, but there was a definite sense of accomplishment and wonder; we had seen one of the coolest and most intelligent marine animals that exists (in my opinion). It was a similar feeling to seeing grizzlies foraging on the mountainside in Yellowstone park.

We continued to roam the edges of the reefs and explore underwater caves and cool coral structures and species that were thriving in the Bay’s protected environment. I would go back again in a heartbeat! Highly recommend if you ever visit Oahu, definitely a major highlight of the last two weeks in Hawaii.

Enjoy Raw Footage from Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay

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