Kakapa Bay

Access is through the Hualalai Resort. You must check in at the security shack just off the highway at the southern entrance, just 1/4 mile south of the main entrance to the resort. There you get a beach pass from the guard and head down to the public parking area. Get directions from security, you have to double back and take a right. There are only so many public parking spaces available, to ensure entry just get there early, arrival before 8am is pretty much guaranteed access.

Kakapa Bay Entry
The entry point for diving at Kakapa Bay
From the parking area a nice concrete path leads to the Kukio Bay beach, a few hundred yards further north along the shoreline. The beach is not where you want to go! The beach is on Kukio Bay, we want Kakapa on the south side of the point. Divers only need walk a short distance to the dive entry into Kakapa bay, a good thing when weighed down by tanks, weights, and in a wetsuit.

A small sign noting the presence of public restrooms at the beach is the marker to turn off the path and head straight to the water. Head to the little inlet where a small point of rock creates a protected pool where you can finish gearing up and swim. The pool is deeper towards to the right and the small rocky point.

Fourspot Butterflyfish
Fourspot butterflyfish (Chaetodon quadrimaculatus)in the coral at Kakapa Bay
From the launching point you simply swim around the little rocky point and straight out, bearing to the north you can find a great rock wall where the reef drops from 10ft to 30ft. Numerous small caves, and a couple larger, create good areas to explore along the wall. Sleeping turtles, the occasional white-tip reef shark and more can be found using the caves. Keep an eye out for nudibranch along the wall and in the caves as well.

A reasonably well protected entry allows use in modest swell, the water remains several feet deep until you round the little point. The site is well protected from south swell and can be used much of the year. With nearby sandy beaches it can be a bit murky with modest swell. The wall found here is the same ancient shoreline found all along the North Kona and South Kohala coastline.

After the dive you can head over to Kukio bay at the other end of the path to find those restrooms. They are pretty nice, this is the Hualalai Resort! A nice fresh water shower and a convenient changing area allow for a rinse and dry clothes before you go and find lunch.


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Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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