Sharks Cove is one of those things I put off doing since moving to Hawaii.  I don’t usually spend a lot of time on the Oahu’s North Shore.  However, the month of January had either towards that direction of the Island on the North Shore pretty 2 of the 4 weekends in June.

Three weekends ago, the family and I went to take a stroll and photo walk through the Byodo-In Temple and then we headed over to Kawela Bay, about a mile hike from Turtle Bay resort.

Last weekend I decided that I had to go to Sharks Cove because on the weekend I was at the Temple and Kawela my friend, Kristina, was doing snorkeling with honu.  So, I had to experience it myself.

Marine Life You Can See Snorkeling at Sharks Cove (What I saw)

Maybe my favorite picture of the day. Not great but oh so cool!

Honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle)!! 

See all the photos and video on the Facebook page!


  • Parrot Fish
  • Damsel Fish
  • Yellowfin Surgeon fish
  • Tangs
  • Wrasse
  • Box fish (gorgeous ones!)
  • Needle fish (there were school s of juveniles near the surface)
  • Butterfly fish
  • Angel fish


Shark’s Cove Details

Parking is limited so if you don’t get there early, then its most likely to be packed and you’ll either have to walk pretty far to get there or you’ll just give up.  Get there between 7am and 9am for the best chance at parking.

We got there early so it was very empty at the time, however a scuba group (lessons, I think) was just getting there so we arrived just in time.

Shark’s Cove gets PACKED.  There’s not really a beach here so that room is very limited unless you’re actually in water snorkeling.

The Cove is actually rated as one of the Top 12 Shore Dives in the world by Scuba Diving Magazine way back when.  From the looks of all the scuba divers there, though, it’s still pretty hot.

There are tide pools to the south side of the cove.  The Pupukea tide pools are great for small kids.  I wouldn’t recommend bringing small children into the cove itself.  However, there were some that were doing pretty well.

Getting into the water is a bit tricky.  It’s rocky and it can tear up your feet.  Also, while your gingerly walking even the smallest of swells can knock you over and into a larger rock.  Wear beach shoes if you have them.

Scuba is Popular at Shark’s Cove

(You can check out our recommended snorkeling products, and other Hawaii items!)

The water is about 6 to 20 feet deep and gets  deeper the further out in the Cove you go.

Shark’s Cove Tips

Once you decide to go in the water, get in and snorkeling as soon as you’re deep enough.  You can sit, put on the flippers and then just flip your beach shoes to someone on the shore.  (If you’re not wearing beach shoes, you’ll want to get horizontal and swimming as soon as possible, anyway.

The fish abound.  There aren’t as many fish as there at Hanauma Bay but there’s a bunch.  In my opinion, the water is calmer and clearer at Shark’s Cove, too.

Honu Tips

I love the Honu

Okay, if you want to see a turtle then the deal is to stay close to the rocks.  (Not as you enter but to the right of the “beach area”.

Follow the rocks and edge of the cove all the way around to the wall on the far, right side of the cove.  The honu feed on the marine vegetation that grows on the rocks and, since coral is almost non-existent at Shark’s Cove, the edges is where the Honu hang out and chow down!