snorkeling in Hawaii during the best time of day to snorkel

Snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in the ocean, so much so that it has devotees of all ages from all over the world. Hawaii is, of course, one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the world. The 8 major islands that make up the state and the crystal clear waters surrounding them provide many opportunities for snorkelers to indulge in this fun, family-friendly activity. And with an absolutely rich and diverse marine ecosystem, the experience is always a breathtaking and memorable one. The question is when is the best time to plan your snorkeling adventures in Hawaii? Is it a morning, mid-day, or evening activity?

The Best Time To Go Snorkeling 

Most experienced snorkelers would agree that morning is ideal for this particular pursuit. Because there is much less wind early in the day than at any other time, the water is usually much calmer.

Anyone who takes part in any water activities should be aware of the environmental conditions in that particular location. Boaters, divers, and snorkelers often pay close attention to the trade winds when planning any activity. In the northern hemisphere, these winds blow towards the equator from the northeast. In the southern hemisphere, they blow from the southeast, again heading towards the equator. 

In Hawaii, the trade winds are caused by high-pressure systems originating from the Pacific Ocean’s northern section. They are generally quite predictable, producing air currents that blow toward the equator from the North East or East North East.

The trade winds in Hawaii usually blow in at around 11 in the morning and gradually pick up strength throughout the rest of the day. This makes the waves progressively stronger, which makes the waters less than ideal for snorkeling. 

How The Waves Affect Snorkeling Conditions Throughout The Day

Why would the action of the waves affect snorkeling conditions? For one thing, the choppier surface and stronger waves make it more difficult to remain in a stationary position. Since snorkeling often involves staying in pretty much the same place for an extended period, constantly being buffeted and carried along by the waves can interfere with your enjoyment of the underwater sights. 

The more active ocean waters also cause you to use up your energy much quicker. Because you are constantly fighting the waves to remain in the same spot‒or return to it‒you will tend to tire out more quickly than if the waters were calm. This could reduce the time you can stay in the water considerably, which means less opportunity to look around and enjoy the view. 

Perhaps the biggest drawback to snorkeling in rougher water conditions is the reduced visibility underwater. As the winds churn up the water and produce waves, it also disturbs the silt and sediments that have settled on the ocean floor. This causes the water to cloud up, making it difficult to see farther than a few inches away. 

Because so much of snorkeling revolves around enjoying the plants, rock and coral formations, and sea creatures, the reduced visibility will make the experience much less enjoyable. This is why it is much better to go snorkeling when the sea is relatively calm, typically in the morning. 

When Is Snorkeling In The Afternoon Possible? 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite activity in the afternoons. There are occasions when the water remains fairly calm even hours after the trade winds should have picked up. If you somehow missed your opportunity to go snorkeling in the morning, or you want to go into the water again, keep an eye out for favorable conditions for doing so. 

There are also spots around the islands where the conditions are ideal for snorkeling for most of the day. In particular, coves surrounded by cliffs or hills tend to remain tranquil because of the absence of strong winds to stir up the waves. If you find such a spot, you might be able to enjoy several hours of snorkeling long after low visibility would have been a factor in other places. 

Even if you will have to do most of your snorkeling for the morning, there is plenty to do in Hawaii to keep you occupied. Plan your schedule accordingly, and you should be able to enjoy the underwater sights and still have a wonderful time when you are out of the water. 

 Get Everything You Need For Snorkeling With Boss Frog

At Boss Frog, we offer all of the equipment you need for snorkeling on the Big Island, Kauai, and Maui. Visit us for equipment, maps, and tips on the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. Want to reserve your rental? Check out our rentals page today!