Turtle Spotting at Japanese Beach on the North Shore

A few weeks ago I had the chance to attend a going away beach party at Japanese Beach on the North Shore. The beach party was great, but the underwater party was even better. I brought along my snorkeling gear and GoPro and decided to do some exploring. What we discovered was beyond what we expected. We thought that we would see one, maybe two, turtles if we were lucky. We were more than lucky on this day.

While snorkeling, Joel and I encountered what seemed like a family of turtles. Joel’s 10-year-old nephew, Isaiah, on the other hand, was struggling with his snorkeling gear and fins. He complained that he couldn’t see any of the turtles. During our hour or so of snorkeling, Joel and I saw at least 15 different turtles. Some of these turtles we small, baby turtles, while others were very large and probably very old turtles. These had to be some of the largest turtles that I’ve ever encountered. It was an amazing feeling to swim alongside these gentle creatures.

As we were swimming back to shore, Isaiah, finally encountered a turtle. It got up close and personal. It freaked him out and he quickly swam to me. As he latched on to my leg, he jumped out of the water exclaiming that he finally saw one and that it was huge! He was stoked.

Photos by Joel Sabugo.

Turtle in the distance.

Turtle Up Close.

A whole turtle.

A turtle’s behind.

A turtle runs away.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.


  1. Nice flics. I was up by Lanikai a few days ago just driving around. I stopped by the beach for a swim but didn’t take out my gear cause that beah isn’t known for its snorkeling. A was watching a haole whiter than me swimming out a 100 yards or so an saw a honu surface.

    I ran, grabbed my gear and swam out. Was able to snap a few nice pics too.


    • Right on Dan! I’ve actually never seen a turtle at Lanikai before. I guess I have to venture a bit farther out!

      I know that you’re just visiting. How long are you on Oahu for?

      BTW, cool site you have!

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