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Oh, the depths you'll go to on these snorkeling-plus experiences in Hawaii

Oh, the depths you'll go to on these snorkeling-plus experiences in Hawaii
Using a self-propelled device called a scooter snorkel, guests at a Kailua-Kona hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii can dive as deep as 70 feet under the surface. (Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)

Scooters are all the rage, even -- or maybe especially -- in the water.

We're talking about an ocean scooter, a self-propelled machine that allows people to dive and explore without expending a lot of energy. On the Big Island, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kailua-Kona lets hotel guests test drive a “scooter snorkel.” 

Guests 12 and older can dive as deep as 70 feet, although a hotel spokesperson told me most people don’t plunge that far underwater.

The time underwater for each dive is limited, of course, because there’s no air supply.

Hourlong scooter snorkel sessions are offered from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The cost: $150 an hour.

At five resorts on Maui and one on Hawaii Island, you can stay underwater quite a bit longer, thanks to Shoreline Snuba, which tethers snorkelers to a long hose so they can dive as deep as 20 feet. The air supply is on a raft on the surface.

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Breathing through air hoses connected to a raft, visitors encounter a sea turtle at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. (Shoreline Snuba)

“It gives people a taste of what it’s like to scuba dive without the hassles of not only wearing the heavy, bulky equipment … but also the time frame which you have to commit to,” owner Brian Heustis said.

“In short, within 20 minutes, I can get you under the water. You can’t do that scuba diving if you have no experience.”

Kids as young as 8 can participate, making Snuba a family-friendly adventure. People can dive to whatever depth they choose or remain near the surface.

If you want to get close to sea turtles -- a symbol of good luck in Hawaii -- consider the lagoon at Hilton Waikoloa Village  on Hawaii Island.

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“It’s an incredible spot to go because the turtles there are mind-blowingly docile,” Heustis said. “They are so used to people [that] they literally bump into you.”

The dive costs $95. Packages offer discounts for two or three people and include a photo CD of the dive.

Info: (808) 281-3483.

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