Aug 07

Honaunau Bay: aka Two Step on the Big Island

School of FishHonaunau (Ho-now-now) Bay is an excellent and exciting place to go snorkeling.  It is located just a short walk from the Place of Refuge, click on the link to see our review of that interesting National Historical Park.  The reason that this bay is nicknamed Two-Step is because of its somewhat awkward entry point.  There is no sandy beach entry, you can take the boat ramp, but you need to be very careful about incoming and outgoing watercraft or you can take the two distinct bench-like ledges (two steps).  The easiest way is to carry your fins in your hands, go over to the “two-steps,” watch the waves carefully, sit on the first step and hop in during a lull in the waves, swim out a little ways, put your fins on, and then have the time of your life.  If you are a little apprehensive about it, watch other people go in before you take the plunge.

Two-Step is a very popular snorkeling spot on the Big Island so you need to come early, probably before 9 a.m., to make sure you get a roadside parking spot.   If the roadside parking spaces are all full you can always pay the fee to visit the Place of Refuge and walk down the road to Two Step.  Porta Potties are located by the roadside parking and nicer restrooms and water are available at the Place of Refuge.
Heathly Coral

Honaunau Bay is one of the best snorkeling locations in Hawaii.  The water there is as clear as any other part of the island.  The entry is about 5 to 10 feet deep which is wonderful because the amount of sunlight reaching the bottom makes for very healthy coral gardens which attracts an abundance of fish.  Also, the depth keeps people from killing the coral by standing on it so the coral here is much heathier than some of the other locations around the island.  Please, if you ever go here or to any other snorkeling location do not stand, hit, or touch the coral.  Try to leave no trace so others can enjoy it in the future.
Heathly Reef

As we moved away from the lava rocks and towards the middle of the bay the depth continued to grow and did so rather quickly, which can be kind of daunting for first time snorkelers.  The middle of the bay is well over 100 feet deep and you might even see some pelagic (open ocean) fish here.  Being so deep, do not over do it because there is no place to sit in the shallows and rest.  If you are not a very strong swimmer we suggest you bring some sort of floatation device like a noodle to help you.
Eel, Yellow Tang, Parrot Fish

Karen and I saw lots of undersea life including the usual butterfly fish, eels, tangs, honu, and parrot fish.  We did hear that white-tip reef sharks frequent the area, but we did not see any.  Also, if you are lucky there might be Hawaiian spinner dolphins in the area, but unfortunately we did not see any of those either.

Honaunau Bay is an excellent place to go snorkeling and no Big Island vacation would be complete, for avid  snorkelers, without going here at least once, but if you’re anything like us you’ll probably go back many more.
With the Aloha

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1 comment

  1. freda phillips

    Looks like a lot of fun. I think I would have to have several noodles. The coral is very pretty.

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