Sharks Cove Oahu - A Totally Unique Experience
Unlike many of the snorkeling destinations that we have previously reviewed, which are usually located on the West and South coasts of their respective islands, Sharks Cove is actually located on the North shore of Oahu. It's a really cool spot with lots of marine life to see, but you have to plan in advance and be ready to postpone the snorkeling if possible, as the weather and surf conditions play a larger factor here.
Water Conditions at Sharks Cove
Sharks cove is a little different in that the weather and surf conditions can drastically affect the quality of your snorkeling adventure. This area does not have a lot of natural protection that other spots, like Hanauma Bay, can take advantage of. Therefore, in order to be able to safely enter the water and have successful snorkeling, you will need to check both the weather and surf forecast to make sure the wind and and swell aren't too large. The less you have of each, the more likely you will be to have an awesome time!
During calm seas the water is an impressive blue with an abundance of marine life. The depth is relatively shallow, but at the end of the reef it drops off about 25 feet. Additionally, there are some tide pools in the more southern portion of the cove, which can be a cool spot to walk around and look for critters.
Although this may make Sharks Cove sound unappealing, it's actually an awesome spot. The caveats listed previously can mostly be addressed simply by picking the right time of year to go. If you are there sometime between March and October there's a great chance you will be able to experience some astounding snorkeling.
Marine Life at Sharks Cove
Let's address the name first. Generally speaking, you will not see any sharks here while snorkeling. Although some have spotted some harmless white-tipped reef sharks just outside of Sharks Cove, they don't really seem to like the popular snorkeling areas. However, if a shark is something you really want to see, there are other spots on the island reasonably close by that offer guided shark tours.
Sea turtles are common visitors to Sharks Cove, and as such, there's a great chance you will be able to swim with some. Like anywhere in Hawaii, you are welcome to look at them and be around them, but it is essential that you do no get too close to them or touch them.
Otherwise, the list of marine life that can be potentially spotted is massive. There are lot's of colorful tropical fish, which look extra brilliant on the sunny days. However, don't worry if there is some overcast. Once you're in the water, the marine life and natural landscape will be enough for you to thoroughly enjoy yourself.
Landscape at Sharks Cove
Speaking specifically about Sharks Cove, this is more of a snorkeling/scuba destination than a "relax on the beach with a bunch of drinks" destination. With not much sand and a rocky entrance, this is certainly an interesting spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, but not as much for swimming and relaxing.
Like a lot many of the best snorkeling destinations in Hawaii, the rocks have been formed by lava and provide a really interesting natural landscape, but one that can be tough on the feet. Therefore, it is definitely recommended to wear shoes or flippers at all times to avoid any unwanted cuts and scrapes.
This pretty much sums up the landscape at Sharks Cove; however, Sharks Cove is part of a much larger 80-acre marine life conservation district, so there can be lots more to see. If you find the water conditions aren't great or you find once you get there that you would prefer something a little more relaxed, there are other beaches close by, including Kuilima Cove which is more sheltered and just a few minutes North of Sharks Cove
Sharks Cove Snorkel Gear Rentals
Please check out the resources below for more information on snorkel gear rentals at Shark's Cove!
SURF N' SEA
Mask, Fins, and Snorkel rental: $6.50/4hrs, $9.50/24hours, $45/week
Mask, Fins, and Rx Snorkel: $7.50/4hrs, $10.50/24hrs, $55/week
* Can rent individual components (e.g. fins only) at a lower rate.
Address: 65-595 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
SHARK'S COVE RENTALS
Contact company for rates
Address: 59-672 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Phone 1: 1-808-779-8535
Phone 2: 1-808-638-7980
Email: [email protected]
Other Amenities at Sharks Cove
Given this isn't a crazy popular beach for all around purposes, there are no lifeguards stationed here. However, there are restrooms and shower at the beach park as well as a free parking lot. If it's a nice day we would recommend going as early as possible just because the parking lot isn't overly big and can fill up quickly. There are also some small shops close to the parking lot where you can get some snacks, but we don't know what the regular hours are.
We would definitely recommend Sharks Cove to anyone looking for a unique experience, as well as any intermediate-advanced snorkelers. Beginner snorkelers can have a blast on nice days, but if you are at all hesitant about entering the water, please use caution and look for a different spot nearby. As long as you consider the caveats listed previously (e.g. don't go in the Winter), then there's a great chance you will have a unique snorkeling experience of a lifetime!