Most tourists who snorkel on Oahu, snorkel at Hanauma Bay. Yes, its beautiful and yes, it is close to Waikiki, but its also incredibly crowded and seems to take on more of a theme park atmosphere than a tranquil fish observing adventure. If you are looking for a better place to snorkel, check out Shark’s Cove.
Shark’s Cove is located on the North Shore near Waimea Bay. It is part of Pupukea Beach Park. Because of its North Shore location, the waves can get very large in the winter and it is not recommended that you snorkel here from October to March. In the summer, however, the surf is usually flat as a pancake and Shark’s Cove is the place to be if you want to swim with the fishies.
We saw a wide variety of fish during our visit and I have read that sea turtles frequent the area as well. The entrance to the cove is rocky so if you have water shoes, wear them. If not. plop your flip flops down as close to the water as you can (be aware of the tide), get your fins on and waddle your way in. There is a very shallow tide pool area that would be great for kids to snorkel (supervised of course) through. The further out you go, the deep the water gets and the stronger the current becomes.
I saw locals jumping off the rocks and into the ocean just outside the cove. It looked like alot of fun but you really need to know how to read the water if you are going to attempt it.
We were at Shark’s Cove on a weekend in August so we were definitely not alone but once I got in the water and started exploring the cove, I might as well had been. There was plenty of room for everyone. If you would like more information on Shark’s Cove click here.