Shark's Cove

by Justin

Shark's Cove is one of the most popular snorkelling spot on the north shore. This cove is located just 5 minutes north of Waimea Bay and 5 minutes south of Pipeline. Although Shark's Cove is protected by a natural rock wall, the strong north shore waves can make this snorkelling spot dangerous during the winter months. During the other months, Shark's Cove is often rated as one of the top shore dives in the world.

This cove is a very photogenic spot on the north shore, especially if you have an underwater photography system to take advantage of the reef and marine life available at this spot. Even above water, this cove provides photographers with many different photography opportunities. The ones that are discussed in this post include, tide pools, sunsets and the power of the ocean.

Tide Pools and Sunsets

Shark's Cove is comprised of a 75' wide rock wall that protects a 200' X 500' cove. To the north of the cove is a rocky surface nearly 1,000 feet long that leads to Keiki Beach. This rocky surface is very sharp, with many small pools filled with water. These tide pools make for an excellent foreground subject. First, if you move further back from the ocean you will find pools that are stagnant and calm. Calm pools of water, allow for you to use the pools as a mirror to reflect the background and sky above it. If you move closer to the ocean, you can capture the movement of the ocean through the pool. Remember that the tide pools are typically just the bottom 1/3 of your frame, be sure to include the upper 2/3 of the frame with color and depth. Get color by shooting at sunset and get depth by positioning your camera to face south, so you can get the distance coast in the background.

At Shark's Cove, the power of the ocean is visible as shown as the waves crash upon the rocks. As a photographer, you have two options on capturing the power of the ocean. First, you can use a faster shutter speed to capture the splash and spray of the ocean as it crashes on the rocks. This type of shot exemplifies the speed and power of the ocean. Be sure not to get too close, to protect your camera gear and yourself. As always, this is just 1/3 of your frame, be sure to complete the frame with depth and color. The Second opportunity is to use a long shutter speed, which displays the elegance and long term power of the ocean. A shutter speed of longer than 1 second, will result in white silky, smooth streams on the rocks of Shark's Cove. This type of photograph, creates the feeling that the ocean is eroding away the rocks and displays the long term power of the ocean.

Best Time to Shoot

The best time to shoot is at sunset, during this time you should also have your choice of parking stall.

Local Tips

Please do not leave valuables in your car. There is limited parking at Shark's Cove, so either come early in the morning or come later near sunset, to ensure there will be parking available.

How do I get there?

Parking Address: 59-727 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

From the airport:

  • Head west on the H1 for 8.0 miles
  • Stay to your Right. Take the H2 North Towards Mililani/Wahiawa
  • Follow H2 for 8 miles.
  • Take Exit 8 toward Wahiawa.
  • Proceed through Wahiawa Town on H1-99 Kamehameha Highway
  • Follow Kamehameha Highway for 8.5 miles. Staying to your right.
  • At the traffic light, proceed through and onto HI-83/Joseph P. Leong Highway
  • Follow the HI-83 for 6.4 miles, after you pass Waimea Bay you will reach a traffic light at Pupukea Road with Foodland on your left.
  • Shark's Cove will be to your left.
  • Park in the parking lot before Pupukea Road or proceed pass Pupukea Road and you will see the one-way entrance to a smaller parking lot.