Depth: 25-60 feet
Bottom Time: 30-45 Minutes
Visibility: 50 feet
Sealife: Whitetip Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Coral, Lobster, Shells
Waimea Bay is one of my favourite spots for a bit of snorkeling - the beach is normally quiet during the summer months, but can get busy when the big surf hits the island during the winter.
The East side of Waimea Bay marks a site accessible either by shore (about a 250 yard swim) or by boat. The same lava flow that produced the land formation, continues underwater with three fingers that radiate seaward. The fingers start at 25 feet, with a healthy community of encrusting corals, then a drop to 60 feet. The main area of interest is along the base of these drop-offs. A tunnel transects the middle projection two thirds the distance from the shoreline. The ceiling of the lave tube is canopied with snowflake coral, while cracks in the tunnel's walls house nuseries of 20 to 30 juvenile lobster. Whitetips aqre frequently seen near the tunnel, along with turtles, and occasionally eagle rays. The bottom breaks down to rubble and stacked boulders, yielding shells as well as sightings of ulua. The site is protected from strong trade winds by Kalalua Point which means that the waters are usually calm, allowing for a good anchorage in 15 feet - directly on top of the site.