Set on Oahu’s North Shore, home to some of the most legendary surf spots on the planet, is this popular little beach. Unlike neighbouring beaches, Shark’s Cove is not about the surf - this is one for the snorkelers. In fact it was rated as one of the best shore dives in the world by Scuba Diving Magazine back in 2005.
Sharks Cove is part of Pupukea Beach Park. It has small patch of sand backed by the obligatory swaying palm trees, but it is what is out front that draws the crowd. The beach is protected by a wall of barrier reef which forms a large rocky lagoon. Sheltered from the waves and only waist deep this is a fantastic, safe place for snorkelling, whatever your abilities.
Don’t be put off by the name - it actually comes from the shape of the reef here, which allegedly resembles that of a shark, although I have to admit I can’t quite see it! Whilst those diving beyond the bay may be “lucky” enough to spot a shark there are an abundance of smaller tropical reef fish everywhere. Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damselfish, surgeon fish are just a few of the species commonly seen along with other marine life such as turtles, various crustaceans and the odd octopus.
Shark’s Cove is a great beach for all ages. You don’t need to head into the deeper water of the bay to experience the sea life up close. The Pupukea tide pool area is jammed full of creatures just waiting to be discovered.
Of course sitting between some of Hawaii’s best known big wave spots (Waimea Bay and Pipeline) can mean there are huge waves. Obviously it would be a terrible idea to try snorkeling in the bay on these days, especially as there are no lifeguards. But given the number of sheltered nooks and crannies to poke around in Shark’s Cove is always worth a visit.
- Diving & snorkelling
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