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Underwater Viewing in the West

Three places in the West showcase amazing and beautiful fish.

Oahu's Hanauma Bay teems with fish—and snorkelers.
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Oahu's Hanauma Bay teems with fish—and snorkelers.

Striped Hawaiian sergeants, lei triggerfish, and green bird wrasses dart among the coral reefs at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a popular snorkeling spot on Oahu's South Shore. The bay—formed when the ocean flooded an ancient volcano crater—offers a curving beach, crystalline waters, and a reef that's lively with some 150 species of colorful fish. To protect the pristine marine ecosystem, about 10 miles east of Waikiki, the Honolulu Parks Department lets a limited number of visitors into the preserve. Arrive early to beat the crowds. Admission is $5; snorkel rentals start at $6. Hours: Wed.–Mon. 6 a.m.–7 p.m. (808) 396–4229,

View California coastal life, including a tank in which California giant kelp grows. You can also see a vast assortment of sea creatures that includes jellyfish, sea otter, ocean sunfish, and tuna. (831) 648–4888,

Underwater viewing windows at the Bonneville Lock and Dam Visitor Center in Cascade Locks, Ore., showcase migrating salmon as they swim up a fish ladder on the Columbia River. (541) 374–8820,

Photography by David Schrichte

This article was first published in July 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.