Shark's Cove - Pupukea Tide Pools
Shark's Cove / Pupukea Tide Pools
An amazing snorkel and dive spot on Oahu's North Shore, this area offers variety of ways to interact with the ocean when calmer conditions prevail. The tide pool section is well-protected shallow ocean water tidal basin teaming with smaller sea life. Surrounded by lava rock, the bay gradually grows in depth revealing underwater caves hosting corals and larger sea life. For the experienced snorkeler the bay opening to the right of the pools is a great swimming and diving spot with interesting underwater topography and great variety of species.
Schools of fish, manta rays and turtles are frequent visitors to the Cove.
AT A GLANCE:
HIGHLIGHTS: Abundant underwater snorkeling terrain of volcanic rock formations worn away by time and ocean erosion, caves and coral-covered reef, and a full of variety of tropical fish.
ACTIVITIES:Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving
WARNINGS!: Be very aware of the conditions of the day of your visit. You should avoid swimming on days with large northern (or north-west / north-east) surf as rogue waves can wash up unpredictably high up onto the rocks. Visitors have been swept off the barrier rocks before and were injured against the sharp lava edges. The tidal action and currents in the bay can be intense and very dangerous with waves. Avoid walking on or rubbing up against the lava rocks as they are sharp.
AMENITIES: Restroom facilities, drinking fountain, and roadside parking area. Food vendors and a grocery store are found across the street.
This location is popular, particularly during the calmer summer months. On a good day parking lot may fill up by 11 am. Upon arriving here, if no one is entering the water be careful. A good practice for any new diving spot is to spend a few minutes watching the ocean, and the flow of people entering and exiting the water. Don't be afraid to ask swimmers exiting the water " how are the conditions, and where the best entrance point can be found?". With the razor-sharp rocks that ring the bay and tide pools, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth more then a pound of cure. There is no lifeguard station here, but they do a mobile patrol several times a day and will post conditions signs at the beach fronting the shallow western end of the tide pools.
The shallow tide pools showcase multitude of easily observed smaller varieties of marine life. Bring aqua socks if you have them, as the volcanic rocks and edges surrounding the pools are sharp. The depth of tidal pools will change drastically around the cycle of the tides. Information about the tides in Hawaii is readily available on-line. Here is an Oahu daily tide link: http://www.hawaiitides.com/OahuTides.asp
For the more experienced divers the bay offers a deeper channel in the center that allows you to access rock caves and shelves. These abound with hiding places for different species and often lead to amazing discoveries. Tidal surge varies according to conditions, so pace yourself and feel for currents as you go.
Here is a video of the pools and cove taken on a calm summer day:
Closest town: Pupukea / Haleiwa
From the south side: Take Kamehameha Highway/HI-route 83 East past Hale'iwa town, then east past Waimea Bay, Valley and the bridge, past the 6 mile marker, and look for Pupukea Road traffic light intersection. Drive 150 yards past the traffic light, and parking lot entrance is on the left.
From the north: Take Kamehameha Highway/HI-route 83 West past mile marker 7, look for parking area on the right past the ocean front houses, and Puula Road which is on the left. There is more parking along a parallel side road that stretches down to Pupukea Road through the park.