Here are four of the more amazing snorkeling spots I have been to (numbered south to north). Expert swimmers only; not for the faint hearted:
- Keei Beach. You turn left at the bottom of Napoopoo Road at Kealakekua Bay, take the second dirt road past the last paved road on your right. Park in front of the only house you will come to on the ocean side of the road. It’s surrounded by a 6′ high rock wall. Walk to the end of the road, then around the right side of the rock wall on the ocean. You will see the beach by this time. Just after you get on the beach you will see an underwater strip of sand about 3 or 4 feet wide heading out to the rocks. Swim out here with your mask in the water. You will come to an S curve just deep enough and just wide enough for a person to swim through. Once you are through this passage you are in the open ocean. It’s 4 to 10 feet deep most of the way as you head straight out. Lots of fish and colorful coral. After you are about 100 yards or so out, the shelf drops off at least 100 feet. It takes your breath away. Hugh schools of big fish everywhere. There’s an underwater arch too if you swim along the drop-off ledge. Do not attempt if the surf is up. There will be surf off the point to your left, but you swim out where there are no waves. If the waves are breaking all the way across the bay, don’t go out!!
- Makalawena. Heading north past the airport, take the first left turn lane you come to; Kekaha Kai State Park. At the end is a large parking lot. But you should see cars parked at the side of the road before the end. On the right (north side) of the road there are two metal posts in the ground with a cable between them blocking off a road heading to the big red house at the end of Mahaiula Beach. You walk down the road to the house, past the house on the ocean side; keep going, you may even have to go in the water. Look for the trail between the trees heading north. Once you get through the trees that is a trail straight as an arrow heading across the lava field. Once you get across the lava the trail goes into some trees. Walk through the trees and look for the place where the trail goes over the sand dunes. Once over the sand dunes you are at what is arguably the most beautiful beach on the island (if not the world). Plenty of snorkeling spots here (as well as surf spots). Wear tennis shoes, plenty of sun screen, bring plenty of water, Boogie boards and a picnic lunch. I take those chairs that double as back-packs. Spend the day.
- Wailea Bay (Beach 69). Head for Hapuna, but go past the Hapuna parking lot entrance heading south on the little road. The next paved parking lot is Wailea Bay. Two beautiful beaches to the north & south at the end of the beach path. Walk past the bathrooms to the beach and turn right at the sand. Go to the end of the north beach. Swim out and head to the right. You can see the shadows of the coral heads underwater in the distance. Actually, they are in front of the nude beach. Until you get to the coral, the bottom is sandy. Don’t go out in surf too high to swim through. In the summer it’s mostly flat.
- Spencer Beach; the easiest & O.K. for novices. There is a big sandy beach. The water close to shore is usually murky due to wave action. Swim straight out. Amazing coral heads but not many fish. Spencer Beach is a popular campground and location of the popular Alaskan solstice party. Great beach for kids.