Just north of Ko Olina, along the coastal highway that winds up the western shore of O`ahu lies one of the best worst-kept “secret” beaches around. As you drive past you might not think this small beach park situated on the rocky coast across from a large power plant is worth stopping at, but you would be mistaken!
A Tale of Two Beaches
Better known to locals as “Electric Beach” or “Tracks” due to the neighboring power plant and the old railroad tracks that back the beach park, the beach here has two main water entrances. The first is the official Kahe Beach, while the second, a little farther north, is “Tracks.” In between, there are restroom and picnic facilities, grassy areas and kiawe brush (watch out for thorns), and some sandy patches. The highlight here is not the beach itself, however, but the power plant. Yes, you read that right. “Electric Beach” is a snorkeler’s dream because of what the power plant attracts.
Brave the shore entry and as you stick your head under the surface you might be serenaded by humpback whales (they can be seen breeching offshore in winter). Make your way out to the mouth of the twin pipes, 200 meters offshore, keeping a lookout for resting pods of spinner dolphins. Once you reach your destination, the colorful reef fish will have you laughing-out-loud-underwater (LOLU!) as they play in the strong outflow currents, basking in the warm water as they are tossed to and fro only to come right back for more! The water here is about 20’ deep and strikingly clear thanks to the pipes, and there are thousands of fish everywhere you look. Follow them, if you can, darting through pristine coral heads as they wait for their turn on the warm water rollercoaster.
NOTE: Don’t swim in front of the pipes yourself unless you want to get thrown like a ragdoll! Stick to the surface right above or to the side.
Due to the rocky shore entrance and the offshore swim, this is not a site for beginners (unless you are on a guided tour, many of which come here by boat). Usually calm in summer, the waves can be higher in winter and snorkeling here should be avoided anytime conditions are rough. Grab your gear, sign up for a snorkel charter, or book a SCUBA trip here (it is a great place to get certified), and be sure to tell us all the fish antics you witness!