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Coral Reef Fish Life on Kauai

TRIVIA QUESTION: What is Hawaii’s official state gem, that’s actually an animal? Find answer below ~

Yes, coral is an invertebrate animal, and no, black coral is rarely black; it’s more typically white, red, green, yellow, or brown. The Hawaiian name for black coral is ʻēkaha kū moana meaning “hard bush growing in the sea.”

Corals are fascinating creatures and coral reefs (the “rainforests of the sea”) form some of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems. There are several hundred fish species in Hawaii’s coral reef system, with approximately a quarter of those being endemic. On our Kauai snorkel tours and Niihau snorkel tours, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and snorkel with many of these including angelfish, unicornfish, parrotfish, moray eels, butterflyfish, manta rays, and many other unique and fascinating creatures.


Climate change, pollution, and other factors are eroding the world’s coral reef systems, which have rippling effects on the ocean’s overall health. In recent years, science has made it clear that one of the pollutants stressing reefs is chemical sunscreen. The damage is especially pronounced in areas, like Hawaii, which is frequently visited by swimmers and snorkelers.

In July 2018, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two common reef-damaging chemicals, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. It was a step in the right direction but unfortunately, those two chemicals aren’t the only offenders, and the law doesn’t apply (wink, wink) to sunscreens that people bring with them from out of state.

As Holo Holo Charters is committed to protecting the integrity of the natural resources that support our business, we offer Raw Elements, a truly reef-safe sunscreen on all of our tours. Raw Elements was developed by an ocean lifeguard, uses non-nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient, is super water-resistant, and never ever runs in your eyes. If you find yourself on one of our tours (and we hope you do) please take the opportunity to try Raw Elements. If you love it as much as we do, you might just find yourself preaching the good word about reef-safe sunscreens and why it matters!

ANSWER: Black coral