Hanauma (pronounced "ha-na-OO-mah", in Hawaiian) is a marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone that collasped and allowed the ocean waters into its shallow base. Located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oahu, Hanauma is both a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District. If you plan a trip here get there early! This is an extremely popular place and they limit the amount of visitors to protect the environment. If it gets full, you will get turned away. Some of the best snorkling and swimming to be found in the Hawaiian Islands.
Waimānalo Beach (the town) lies along the eastern half of Waimānalo Beach (the beach), with an overall length of nearly 5.5 miles the longest stretch of sandy shoreline on Oahu. The drive along the East coast really gives you a sense of how Hawaii was years ago. There is much less development here and the scenery is amazing for mile after mile. The waters along many of these beaches are very calm due protection from offshore reefs. This allows for great swimming and snorkling in the calmer waters.
Oahu’s North Shore is home to the world famous Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Oahu’s rustic North Shore is famed for big wave surfing during the winter months but offers calm, swimming beaches in the summer and beginners can learn more about surfing by taking a class at a North Shore surf school.
North Shore Canoe Club
I visited the North Shore on a beautiful sunny calm day in the month of February. By all apperances the surf at first seemed calm and peaceful. Then my ears picked up the sound of bigger surf and when I looked further out the waves coming over the reef were about 8 feet high on a calm day. There are beaches along the North shore that a more protected and calm, and there are some where you should not go unless you are a very strong swimmer.
Smaller Waves Hitting Lava Rocks Along The Beach
Big storms far out in the Pacific Ocean generate the giant surf that reaches the North Shore of Oahu in the winter. So even on a nice day, the surf can be enormous, and very dangerous.
Big Waves Reaching The Beach
I waded out a few places but soon realized that the undertow and surf was far to strong for my average swimming skills. If the waves throw you into the coral it will shred you like a cheesegrader. so I was content to say on the beach and just get marvel at the power of the big surf.
Big Waves Hittng A Wall of Lava Rocks
The Island of Oahu has an amazing amount of attractions to visit and natural beauty to experience. I could simply not get them all in with only spending three days on this island. Being the beach person that I am, that is where I choose to spend the majority of my time. My next stop was the Big Island (Hawaii). Here is a good link for more information on the Island of Oahu.