Kahe Point Beach Park Snorkeling
Kahe Point Beach Park is my favorite snorkeling beach on Oahu because of its clear blue open water and high fish population. The water clarity is as good, if not better, than anywhere else on the island. In fact, on a good day the visibility can rival almost anywhere in Hawaii. That's saying a lot!
The Kahe Point Beach Park snorkeling area is located on the west side of Oahu, just north of the Ko Olina Resorts. Kahe Point is nicknamed, Electric Beach because of the electric power plant located nearby. The electric plant outflows clean warm water through two giant cooling pipes offshore. At the openings of these pipes the water temperature is several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean. The warm water attracts scores of sea life.
Electric Beach is also a popular scuba dive location. Everyday you'll see scuba divers gearing up in the large park pavillion. Many of the local dive shops use Kahe Point Beach Park to teach and certify beginning divers.
Electric Beach is best suited for the intermediate to advanced level snorkeler as there is a moderate swim involved and no life guards are in the area.
If you're more of a beginner snorkeler or just want to be pampered for the day, I would advise taking a snorkel tour. Having ridden every oahu snorkel tour, I would recommend Hawaii Nautical's Dolphin Snorkel Sail as my choice to see Electric Beach. Their knowledge of this area and customer service make them my go to guys for snorkel tours on the west side of Oahu.
Electric Beach is very shallow near shore, getting progressively deeper as you head out. You’ll be able to find whatever depth of water you feel most comfortable swimming in. The water is about 20 feet deep at the opening of the pipes, giving you a bird’s eye view of the schooling fish. Large smooth boulders cover the pipes but most of the sea floor is made up of white sand and some coral flats.
Do not dive down in front of the openings to the pipes! The flowing water is more than strong enough send you doing underwater cartwheels. Just snorkel around and above them; believe me there’s plenty to see.
Enter the water at the small sand beach just to the right of the large pavilion. There’s certainly going to be some breaking waves near shore, so keep a hold of your mask and fins as you enter. The combination of the waves and sand beach make the water near shore very cloudy, but just keep swimming out and just past the waves the water will clear up dramatically.
Insider Tip: Ok, I know what you're thinking, "Let me get this straight? You want me to jump in the big ocean and look for a couple of what? Pipes?". Not to worry, finding these giant pipes are actually a lot easier than it sounds. Here's how: Before getting in, take a moment to look out into the ocean. You’ll definitely be able to see the warm water from the pipes flowing up to the surface. It will look like a huge bubbling spring just off shore. Make a mental note of where the "spring” is located and how far out it is. When you get into the water you’ll be able to swim straight to the opening of the pipes. Here’s another clue, as you swim out past the breaking waves and the water begins to clear up, you will be snorkeling over flat expanses of coral. One of them is actually coral growing over the pipes. If you did as I said and took a look at where the bubbling water was before getting in, you’ll have a good idea which of the coral fingers will take you straight to the opening of the pipes.
Here’s some of the marine life I’ve seen at Kahe Point Beach Park snorkeling: Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, tang, wrasse, squirrel fish, big eyes, perch, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, hawk fish, jacks, mackerel, cornet fish, needle fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
Another common sight at Kahe Point is the Hawaiian green sea turtle. They congregate around the coral heads that form along the length of the pipes. If you keep your eyes open, you're pretty certain to see at least a couple of these graceful creatures.
Ok, I've been saving the best for last...
Kahe Point is one of the key Oahu resting grounds for hawaiian spinner dolphins. Spinner dolphins feed at night then rest and take care of their young in the calm inshore waters during daylight. These guys have have taken a real liking to the great conditions around Kahe Point so keep your eyes peeled.
Kahe Point Beach Park and Electric Beach Map
Driving time to Kahe Point Beach Park from Honolulu Airport is approximately 30 minutes.
The parking lot looks out over the ocean and is right next to the pavilion area. It’s usually not full so don’t rush, enjoy the drive. There are bathrooms and showers located between the pavilion and the sand beach. There is no lifeguard on duty or stores nearby to buy drinks or food so remember to bring a cooler with your goodies.
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"Having ridden every snorkel tour on Oahu, I recommend Hawaii Nautical's Dolphin Snorkel Sail as the best way to snorkel Kahe Point and Electric Beach."
Don't miss my Best Oahu Snorkel Tours review!
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