Kaneohe Bay... Going Back to Old Hawaii!
Kaneohe Bay comprises a stretch of ocean on Oahu's windward northeast coast running approximately thirteen kilometers across the bay and about four kilometers at the farthest point inland from its boundary with the open ocean. This bay is one of my favorite places on the island as it offers so much in the way of activities and scenery that are altogether different from anywhere else in the state!
Kaneohe Bay is not at all characterized by long white sand stretches and crystal clear water that make so many of the Hawaii beaches so popular. Instead, it possesses a combination of unique factors that cause it to be one of the most studied coral reef systems in the world!
As all along Oahu's windward coast, the bay's waters are sheltered by a barrier reef from the swells generated by the islands' predominant tradewinds offering perfect conditions for the growth and formation of numerous (over forty) patch reefs and fringe reefs throughout the bay. Viewing the bay from higher vantage points… like the Pali Lookout, or coming out of the windward-bound H-3 tunnels, will show a spectrum of color caused by the varying depths and bottom formations of different areas within the bay. You'll notice hues of ivory, teal, light and dark blue, and even brown depicting the different bottom conditions and water depths of each of the bay's different areas.
In the middle of Kaneohe Bay is a sandbar, the only one of its kind in the state. A sandy stretch of beach during lower tides which is completely submerged during higher tides, the Kaneohe sandbar is a popular near-shore destination for boaters, kayakers, and sailors looking for a place to park and enjoy the sun.
Heeia Pier is a small but bustling center for activities as it's a popular spot for off-the-pier fishing and serves as the primary launching site for small boats on the windward side of the island.
Kualoa Beach, on the northern end of the bay offers a bit of sandy beach, a nice grassy park with adjacent campsites, and close proximity to Mokolii (Chinaman's Hat) Island.
During low tide, it's actually possible to walk out to the island. However, it's something which should never be considered as the incoming tide can prevent one from getting back to shore.
Because of its sheer size, marine expanse is best explored by boat or kayak. When the typically gusty northeasterly tradewinds switch to light and variable or southerly in direction, Kaneohe Bay is at its best offering smooth waters that you can glide over while marveling at the ever-changing bottom conditions and marine life contained in the bay.
If you really want to experience the "Bay", one of the best ways to do it is through Endless Adventures Hawaii, one of our partner companies. They offer Kayaking Tours & Rentals including a great tour to Mokoli'i Island (Chinaman's Hat) previously mentioned! If you prefer, you can choose to do it via Standup Paddle SUP. Whichever way you go, it's a great trip that you're goig to really enjoy!
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