The best adventures under the sea

From paddling with giant golden medusa jellyfish to the pink and blue parrot fish of Hawaii, Chris Carter looks at the three best places to go swimming.


The giant golden medusa jellyfish are some of the delights of Indonesia's West Papua
(Image credit: Credit: Ethan Daniels / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kauai, Hawaii

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".

Western Australia

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.

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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

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".


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"In five years, I thinkthere will be Schiller Bikeson every hotel beacharound the water," says itsinventor Judah Schiller. Fornow, you'll have to limit yourself tojust 14 resorts worldwide, one beingSaint Lucia's Viceroy Sugar Beach, saysErace. A little push, "and I'm pedallinginto the Caribbean, away from thepowdery shores of Sugar Beach andSaint Lucia's majestic green Pitonmountains."

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.