Easily fitting the list of some of America’s best beaches according to a survey taken in 2004, Honaunau is also my favorite, and I will tell you just why; it is the best place for snorkeling and just relaxing. Over the years, the residents have named it the City of Refuge. There is a beautiful story as to why it acquired that name.
The Honaunau bay is a calm, almost quiet place where one can go to, to seek peace of mind and relaxation. The main reason is the fact that its inner shoreline is predominantly hidden from the other coastal areas. This fact also ensures that if you are a lover of snorkeling, you get excellent visibility most of the year.
The story behind the name City of refuge lies behind the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park. This park covers an area of 182 acres and is essentially the place where ancient sacred law breakers ran to for refuge, hence the City of refuge. Some of these ancient sacred law-breakers included defeated warriors and even non-warriors who fought for civil right of the local citizens. The powerful ancient chiefs known as alii, also resided around this historic park, making it a culturally rich area.
The shore of the bay is covered by smooth large lava rocks. Any lover of snorkeling will find this to be such a convenient arrangement for them as they will have a place where they can sit as they dress and prepare themselves for snorkeling.
The water near the shore is also only about 10 feet, and given the fact that this bay has little disturbances, the sunrays manage to reach great depths of the waters. The advantage to this is that there are magnificent, lavish and healthy corals that grow along this bay.
The fact that there is abundant healthy coral around the waters of the bay means that there are all sorts of fish life flourishing here. Fish have been known to be attracted to coral plantation, and the fact that it is available means that a snorkeler can come across such fish as tang, moray eels, parrot fish, turtles, surgeon fish, jacks, just to name but a few.
Offshore, the water levels dramatically drop to about 100 feet. Now this might be scary to some people, but there are those who love such challenges. If, for instance, you are an expert skin diver, this can be an amazing challenge for you and maybe your team. If you are visiting, you may even find local skin diver clubs, as you are going about your business, and you can choose to join them or not. The fun gets even better if you are a scuba diver. Amateur and expert scuba divers enjoy this bay in ways that you may not enjoy in other bays.
The Honaunau bays left and right sides have different depths, each with a different set of advantages. As a new diver, you may want to experience both sides so as to site as much as possible, but if unable to do that for one reason or the other, then there are guidelines that you can follow.
The left side of the bay is shallower than the right side. The deepest part of the left side averages to 25 feet while the right side goes to well over 100 feet. The left side also has more turtles, but the right side has the dolphins.
Parking is limited because there is not parking space, and afternoons are cloudier hence less sunray penetration to the waters