Under the Water
After a few fish-filled days at Lanikai Beach, the kids have gotten more confident and more interested in snorkeling. I don’t know if it’s the lower visitation or my imagination but the water has been clearer with more fish than I ever remember seeing. Sadly, low wind days suitable for snorkeling are rare on the windward side. On one restless summer day, we headed west to Electric Beach.
Snorkeling on the Sunny West Side of Oahu
The west side of Oahu tends to be less windy and sunnier than the north and windward sides of the island. In summer, the waves are subdued making it prime snorkeling weather. Although Kahe Point Beach Park is the typical snorkeling destination in the area, crowds and big surf led us to quieter, unassuming Electric Beach. Just a note – Kahe Point is often referred to as Electric Beach but they are separate, adjacent beaches.
Electric Beach is named for the Hawaii Electric plant located directly behind the beach. Constant road noise and smoke billowing from the plant are at odds with the idyllic ocean scene just across the road. To punctuate the sentiment, an oversized truck rattled by as two fat Hawaiian monk seals chose that moment to haul out onto the empty beach.
A Morning at Electric Beach
Waves breaking on the shore encouraged the kids to grab an abandoned bodyboard and play. When it got too warm we all donned snorkel gear and entered the cool underwater world. A toothy eel watched us cautiously before slipping out of sight. We saw a variety of fish including some species (boxfish, lei and lagoon triggerfish, and more) I rarely see in windward waters.
Real beauty comes when you swim further offshore. There you can find abundant coral and fish in a beautiful underwater garden. We made the kids stay closer to shore because a mix of offshore winds and currents were pulling us away from shore. Beware of conditions and your abilities before heading out. Check out this Snorkel safety guide if you’re unsure.
A Mellow Alternative
If the surf is up, head to nearby Paradise Cove – the most natural and least resort-like of the Koolina lagoons or mellow, family-friendly Pokai Beach Park.
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