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You Can See Hawaii’s Wild Side on This Week-long Cruise Around the Islands

By Peter Heller, Travel + Leisure

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is the name of Hawaii’s state fish. It’s an elegant little reef triggerfish, with yellow chevron pinstripes and a blue lip, but I think the Hawaiians selected it because its name is fun to say. I pointed and tried to shout it into my snorkel. If the word is tough to pronounce under normal conditions, it’s harder underwater.

My wife, Kim, and I followed the fish in and out of cauliflower coral heads, through a cloud of striped surgeonfish and swaying schools of bright-yellow tangs. We passed a parrotfish, which crunched its coral breakfast so loudly we could hear it. The humu kept a dignified pace. We kicked along a coral cliff, which dropped into deeper blue, and out to a cluster of rocks where the surge broke into a blizzard of bubbles. When we lifted our heads into the air, we saw the black lava cliffs of western Lanai, the green slopes rising behind them, and the dark basalt columns known as the Five Sisters strung across the sea.