Overview of Waimea Bay (wall)

Waimea Bay (wall)

Hawaiian Islands


Waimea Bay is a well-groomed beach park with all the facilities. Snorkeling can be good, as at times huge schools of small fish congregate right next to the shoreline. Diving is excellent, too, around the south point of the bay. Between dives, you might want to visit Waimea Falls Park just across the road. You can easily spend a couple of hours roaming the gardens.

Directions: Off Kamehameha Highway on the North Shore in the Waimea area.


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09/28/2018 Jason Richards (Avg: 2.14 Review) - I actually scootered over from firehouse, but the Bay has some interesting basalt formations (not reefs) on either side of the bay. The rocks basalt is stacked up and makes mini towers, and deeper channels which make for some interesting things to look at. There is a significant amount of fresh water intrusion from the hills above the bay (even if the river is not out flowing) which can make the water greener and hazy with halocline, particularly after a heavy rain the day previous. Compared to sharks cove, there is much less large animal life (turtles and sharks) than other sites as there are no limestone caverns here for them to hide in, unlike sharks cove and west shore sites. For the best diving, follow the shore lines either north beyond the point or south past the jumping rock. Most of the taller pinnacles are between 10 and 20 feet of depth on either side.

07/08/2011 Beachgirl (Avg: 2.91 Review) - If the channel to the Waimea Stream is open, don't even bother with the north side. Visibility will be terrible. When the channel is closed there is nice snorkeling on the north side with lots of fish and other critters to see. We try to arrive by 7:30 a.m. to get a parking space. Gives us time for 2 dives before lunch. The hardest thing about this dive is the long walk across the sinking sand with all your gear. You definitely work up a sweat before you hit the water. It's a long surface swim to go out to the south point before dropping down. There are some interesting rock formations, lots of eels, nudibranch, and an occasional honu.

06/23/2009 Duane Kiszak (Avg: 4.38 Review) - Wameia Bay actually has two dive sites on the north and south reefs or each side of the bay. These are really good shore diving sites, but they are a long walk from the parking lot to the shoreline and the north reef is also a long swim out to the descent site. Parking is very hard to come by so you have to get there early, as usually by 9 am all the parking is gone. If there is any surf greater than 3 feet I would not dive this site as the waves break right on the beach. Usually the best times to dive here is between late April to early October. Turtles, lots of fish, nudi brancs, cleaner shrimp, eels, large Parrot Fish, large fish and other life are very abundant here. On occasion you can also hear Dolphins though I have never seen them here while diving. To dive the south reef walk over the beach to the far side of jumping rock (rock where mostly kids climb up the rock and jump into the ocean) and enter between jumping rock and the bay's wall. Swim out to sea and little towards the wall and you will start to see a collection of large rocks. You can drop here or continue to swim out to larger rocks toward the wall, and you will see the sand drop off and there is a little cove area. Check all the nooks and crannies in the wall and around all the rocks as there are generally lots of macro items to see here. When you hit the end of the cove come up over the rocks and rocky area. There are generally lots of tangs here feeding on the algae on the rocks. If there is any surf make your way past the large rock that is on your right and once past go right. There you will see a large arch that you can swim through. Explore the area on both sides of the arch. Once done exploring head out to sea and check out the rocky area as octopus and other fish are commonly seen here. As you continue to swim out to sea you will come to the first of the Wananapaoa Islands. Explore the entire area around the base of the island and look for the cave entrances. There are three caves that cross the island and meet in the middle. Explore this area as there is generally lots of shells (do not take them as the bay is wildlife preserve) and turtles can be found sleeping and resting here. Once done exploring go around to the bay side of the island and proceed out to sea. Eventually you will come to the second of the islands. Again explore the entire island's base as there is a lot to see. There is another cave that goes to the center of the island and then straight up to the middle of the island. When done exploring and you still have air you can head out to last rock or the last of the Wananapaoa Islands. Explore along the base of this island for much the same as the other to islands. When done head to where the rocky area meets the sandy area and take it all the way back in to where a half wall jets out in the sandy area. Explore along this wall if you have the air as Leaf Fish and Scorpion fish frequent here. Take this half wall to the main wall of the bay and take this all the way back in to the shore. To dive the north reef walk across the sand to the far side of the river and swim out to where the rocks meet the sand. Surface swim out to sea toward the end of the bay's wall. Stay together here as a group with a dive flag as boats frequent this area. As you swim out you will start to see the reef. Make your descent where you start to see large outcrops of rocks and the reef and canyons between the rocks and reefs. This is a long swim over 100 yards. Explore along these canyons and rock outcroppings as there is lots of overhangs and a couple of caves and arches to explore. Lots of shells and crab can be found here (do not take any as this is a wildlife preserve). Continue to swim along the reef and explore all the reef outcroppings and overhangs. There is one large cave here that goes inland quite a ways. Do not enter without proper training and equipment. Turn around and go back the way you came to make your return to the beach and exit. This site has excellent facilities including showers, changing rooms and restrooms. There are also picnic tables and BBQ areas.

09/25/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 3.43 Review) - Hercules rock in Waianae is a beautiful breathtaking place to swim. There is a 30ft jump and smaller jumps averaging 15ft and 5ft if you are not sure your up to jumping 30ft. Hercules rock also has an underwater cave that is safe enough to swim through. Hercules is a safe clean and alive place. If you are not up for jumping or swimming you could always explore the healthy reef in search for wild life.

09/03/2006 ScubaFella43 (Avg: 2.84 Review) - Ok, unless you really, really dig long walks with your scuba equipment and equally long surface swims STAY AWAY. I bet this place is a great snorkel because there sure was nothing spectacular about this dive site. I lost my dive knife here too, but thankfully it was a cheapo $15.00 knife.

08/08/2004 Seth Bareiss (Avg: 2.30 Review) - I'm baffled that no-one has mentioned the Winter season waves here. They are spectacular to look at (some of the world's largest, measuring 30'/10m on some days) but of course make Winter diving here an impossibility excepting miracles. The "jumping rock" pictured at left in the photos does, indeed have a Y-shaped short tunnel under its point, but nothing to brag about. It's about 12' long, and it's not worth the risk of being struck by falling jumpers. I've jumped off the rock, which is as exhilarating as a bungee jump, but foolhardy at low tide or if you mis-time and jump into a wave-trough. The water around Jumping Rock is quite shallow. // In other respects, when Waimea is diveable, it's like grandparents: pleasant, well-equipped for guests, but ultimately a bit boring. The shower and bathroom are excellent. Parking fills quickly, even extending far up the road to the cliff overlook. Down the street a very short walk are Hawaii's first mission church, Backpackers' youth hostel, Three Tables dive site, and Sharks Cove dive site (named for its shape, not its contents. No sharks here, folks). // Waimea has occasional small lobsters and 7-11 crabs (so called because they have 7 spots when viewed from the front, 4 more when viewed from the back). Other life is not very plentiful here. If you visit, be sure to see the BIG banyan tree(s) in the parking lot of Waimea Park (free to visit the parking lot, $25-ish to get into the park) across the street.

12/14/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.12 Review) - Nice, and good for the kids. Safe protected area.

08/09/2003 Jensen (Avg: 3.83 Review) - My husband and daughters are kind of crazy swimmers and divers, but they wouldn't consider not jumping off JUMP ROCK. They learned from the locals up there. They also learned of a cave under Jump Rock you can hold your breath and swim from one side of the rock to the other.

05/24/2003 Jake Nelson (Avg: 3.07 Review) - We were looking to dive Sharks cove but the surf was up 2-4 feet and Sharks cove looked a little dicey with the rocks. We drove over to Waimea Bay to see how it looked at the beach. The left side of the beach is recommended for diving on this web site but there was a good sized shore break there which we decided to avoid. The right side of the beach had a standard break and was manageable with the surf. The lifeguard told us there was a reef on the right side of the bay about two thirds the distance out. The reef starts out flat at about 30 feet and continues out to the mouth of the bay where you hit the wall which drops down to about 55 feet. Nothing outstanding about this section of the wall. Saw a few fish but the best part were the 5 turtles we saw. The turtles were swimming around the flat reef at 30 feet. Did not see any at the wall. I don't recommend going all the way out to the wall on the right side of the bay due to the long swim. Overall it was a fun dive. Entry/Exit were pretty easy even with the surf up. Vis was still good. Nice beginner-intermediate dive depending on how far you swim. By the way, we went during a week in May and the crowds were not bad. Many locals did warn us not to leave any valuables in the car (we heard this from multiple sources).

05/31/2002 Anonymous (Avg: 3.60 Review) - First night dive site for the wife and I, great entry and exit (even with knee-high waves). Excellent orientation lighting, especially if the bell tower at the church is lit (and a well-placed traffic light). Turtles, lobster, octopus, long lava trenches to sneak along. Plenty of archways to explore and minimal current if there's no appreciable swell.

01/23/2002 Frank DeCarvalho (Avg: 3.31 Review) - Despite the long surface swim from the entry point, this is an excellent site worth exploring. The many raised "islands" along the shore provide an abundance of sea life to view and photograph. Look carefully within the small rock openings for the elusive Hawaiian Humpback Cowry. Once you make your way down the wall, the shore opens up into a small bay surrounded by rock outcroppings and ledges. The area has many caves and small overhangs. I have seen numerous lobsters hiding within the shadows and several large passing pelagic fish on many occasions. On calm days, the swim out is very relaxing and enjoyable. I love the scenery and beauty of the surrounding hills. Wear your booties when walking over the hot sand to and from the entry point. This is also a very good night diving spot. Showers are available to wash your gear, making this a great place to spend the day. Also look at diving along the opposite side of the bay (Northern side near the church). The point is simply spectacular with depths averaging 50 feet or more. You can thank me later.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: OA0401


Parking at Waimea Bay (wall) 

You can't miss the bay or the parking lot!


 Map     Sat
GPS: OA0402


Entry at Waimea Bay (wall) 

You'll find an easy, sandy entry on the left side of the beach.


 Map     Sat
GPS: OA0403


Entry at Waimea Bay (wall) 

Another view of the entry area, and of the coast line you will explore.




Aerial at Waimea Bay (wall) 
(click photo for details)

Kick out until you reach the outcropping. Drop down and Enjoy! (also, for you snorkelers, that dark patch at the center bottom edge of the picture is a large school of small fish!)

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Waimea Bay (wall)  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.00
Bottom Conditions:  3.64
Reef Conditions:  3.27
Animal Life:  3.45
Plant Life:  2.55
Facilities:  3.18
Solitude 2.18
Roads:  4.00
*Site Average:  3.18

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.64
Beginner Scuba:  3.27
Intermediate Scuba:  3.00
Advanced Scuba:  2.64
Night diving Scuba:  3.27

Number of reviews for this site: 11


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