Camp out here at Electric Beach and in the morning (best around 6/7am) swim with flocks of dolphins. The dolphins are drawn here because it is next to the Hawaiian Electric Plant, which outflows clean warm water through two large cooling pipes. At the openings of these pipes the water temperature is several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean. The warm water attracts scores of sea life.
The Kahe Point Beach Park snorkeling area is located on the west side of Oahu, just north of the Ko Olina Resorts. Electric Beach is best suited for the intermediate to advanced level snorkeler as there is a moderate swim involved and no life guards are in the area.
When I say flocks, I mean flocks – there were swarms of dolphins by us we couldn’t get enough! There are tours that offer to take you out to see these dolphins, but if you are a strong swimmer, you can see them just as much yourself and not have to pay a dime.
However, if you’re more of a beginner snorkeler, I would advise taking a snorkel tour. I have heard great reviews on the Dolphin and Whale Snorkel Sail tour and would suggest checking them out or one similar.
Electric Beach is very shallow near shore, getting progressively deeper as you head out. You’ll be able to find whatever depth of water you feel most comfortable swimming in. The water is about 20 feet deep at the opening of the pipes, giving you a bird’s eye view of the schooling fish. Large smooth boulders cover the pipes but most of the sea floor is made up of white sand and some coral flats.
Do not dive down in front of the openings to the pipes! The flowing water is more than strong enough to make you wipe out. Just snorkel around and above them; believe me there’s plenty to see.
Enter the water at the small sand beach just to the right of the large pavilion. There’s going to be some breaking waves near shore, so keep a hold of your mask and fins as you enter. Last time I lost my mask there without paying much attention. The combination of the waves and sand beach make the water near shore very cloudy, but just keep swimming out and just past the waves the water will clear up dramatically.
Along with dolphins, you may also see an array of fish including the butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, tang, wrasse, squirrel fish, big eyes, perch, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, hawk fish, jacks, mackerel, cornet fish, needle fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates. Another common sight at Kahe Point is the Hawaiian green sea turtle. They congregate around the coral heads that form along the length of the pipes.
The parking lot looks out over the ocean and is right next to the pavilion area. There are bathrooms and showers located between the pavilion and the small sand beach. There is no lifeguard on duty or stores nearby to buy drinks or food so remember to bring a cooler with your goodies.