For three weeks on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, “we fell into a languorous but satisfying routine”, says Bonnie Tsui in The New York Times. Each morning, we headed from our rental house to Tunnels Beach, so named for the “distinctive underwater lava tubes – those long, cave-like tunnels and coral formations so beloved and frequented by divers”. Tunnels “has a crescent-shape bay with coral reefs and a broad expanse of calm, waist-deep water ideal for snorkelling”. Go early and leave by noon, by which time the sun begins to “exert maximum scorch” and the crowds begin to grow.
Tsui’s five-year-old son, Felix, “was frightened of the sea at first, but little by little, he got comfortable in the gently rolling surf”. “He looked for brilliant pink-and-blue parrotfish. There was giddiness over swimming out to the reef; spontaneous underwater somersaults, leaps, with abandon, to bodysurf to the sand alongside the locals.” But most of all, “he loved the feeling that the water here was in some way alive, and different from the stillness of a pool”.
For the first time, the Western Australian government has allowed a handful of local operators to take small groups of snorkellers humpback whale watching, says Caroline Eden in The Daily Telegraph. Since commercial whaling was banned in 1963, these 40ft-long cetaceans have made a comeback. “They are quick, travelling up to four times faster than humans – and they are elusive.” With an aircraft flying overheard on the lookout for whales, “we plopped into the water one at a time, like black, glossy seals, and swam, pushing through current and swell”, following tour guides Nat, a marine biologist, and Jana, a “tousle-haired” underwater photographer.
After a couple of abortive attempts to find the “humpies”, once back in the water, Eden says she “swam hard”, and “there she [the whale} was, bigger than a London Routemaster bus, her heart alone weighing as much as three adult humans”. “Perhaps it was only for 10 or 15 seconds that… the whales [a mother and her calf] paused, seemingly for us.” But “that was all that was needed”.
• From £3,195 per person on an eight-day trip – see SteppesTravel.co.uk
Misool island, Indonesia
There are two lakes on Misool island in the Raja Amput archipelago, off the Indonesian province of West Papua, and these are home to thousands of giant golden medusa jellyfish. “And what’s more,” says Jenny Hewett in The Guardian, “I’m going for a swim.” While some jellyfish can be deadly, the species in these lakes are unarmed. “Bobbing around in the lake, gelatinous blobs collide with me, tentacles wrap gently around my legs and torso, their bulbous bodies pulse like beating hearts in an oddly therapeutic dance of the deep.”
“These saltwater lagoons are connected to the ocean via fissures in the limestone and the marine species inhabiting them have thrived and evolved in these isolated ecosystems for thousands of years,” she says. The only way to the island is by boat. While one of the lakes can be reached by dinghy, the other is a short hike away. It’s worth the effort – “add it to your bucket list”.
“Floating in front of me is the Schiller S1, a $4,500 contraption that’s part bicycle, part catamaran,” says Adam Erace in Bloomberg Pursuits. It comes with the added promise that “you can pedal it across any body of water”. Welcome to the “next great water sport: water biking”.
“In five years, I think there will be Schiller Bikes on every hotel beach around the water,” says its inventor Judah Schiller. For now, you’ll have to limit yourself to just 14 resorts worldwide, one being Saint Lucia’s Viceroy Sugar Beach, says Erace. A little push, “and I’m pedalling into the Caribbean, away from the powdery shores of Sugar Beach and Saint Lucia’s majestic green Piton mountains.”