Electric/Kahe Beach Dive Guide (Oahu West Shore)
Updated: May 5, 2022
A guide for diving or snorkeling at Electric Beach
Location Type: Shore Entry/Reef Dive (West Shore)
GPS Address: Kahe Point Beach Park, Farrington Highway, Kapolei, HI (Google Maps)
Difficultly: Beginner (in good conditions)
Average Depth: 20 -30 Feet (By the pipe discharge)
Ideal Wave Conditions: 1-3 ft or lower (entry conditions get rough in higher waves)
Entry: Entry is on a beach, about 100 meters from the parking lot. You must step down a series of rocks to get to the beach, but it's not difficult. Those with limited mobility may need a buddy to assist them
Amenities: Small rinse shower, bathrooms, concrete gazebo.
Parking: There is usually enough (free) parking, but it gets crowded on weekends.
Family-Friendly: This beach is small, but usually family-friendly. The waves on the beach can be rough and unfriendly for small children or weak swimmers. Don't bring the family after dark.
Electric (Kahe) Beach is a popular diving and snorkeling site on the west shore, located directly in front of a power plant. Once you enter from the beach, its about a 50 meter swim to get past the breakers and see the wildlife. If you follow the reef west from shore, you'll find the pipe discharge point, where there is an abundance of wildlife that plays in the current. There are reefs to explore off to the left and right, usually filled with plenty of fish and sea turtles. Visibility can range from crystal clear (40-50 feet) to very cloudy (10-20 feet) depending on the wave conditions. Be aware that there are a lot of free divers, spear fishermen, snorkelers, and boats that hang out near the pipe discharge area; stay aware of your surroundings.
At this location you can find sea turtles, spinner dolphins, an underwater Buddha statue, white-tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, manta rays, monk seals, eels, lobsters, octopus, nudibranches, and large schools of fish. Whales breach near the shore during the winter (you can see them from the parking lot). We've ventured out about 250 meter beyond the pipe outlet (snorkeling) and spotted pods of dolphins, a massive stingray, and could hear breaching humpback whales.
Locations to Explore:
The pipe line is easy to follow out west. You won't really see the underlying pipe at first, since the coral has grown over top of it. Just follow the coral strip west and you'll start seeing the pipe. On the top side of the pipe, you'll find tons of wildlife (including a lot of crabs and lobsters at night). On the sides, there are starfish and schools of fish that hang out. In front of the pipe discharge, you can watch the fish playing in the current. There are usually a few turtles and puffer fish that hang out their too. Be mindful of the discharge; it is extremely strong, and it will push you out and up rapidly (not a great thing for SCUBA divers). Stay low along the small wall in front of the pipe, and you shouldn't have any issues.
If you swim to the north, you can find the shark caves, reefs, and secret Buddha statues. The best way to navigate to this area is to drop down at the 2nd bubbler (the round pylon with a bunch of bubbles coming out of it) and take a heading of about 305 - 315 degrees. Stay around a 20 ft depth (deeper = too far west; shallower = too far east). You'll see an underwater buoy that boat tours will tie off to, which means you're in the right area. Make sure you stay low; there are a significant number of tour boats, private boats, and occasional jet skis that frequent that area. The white-tip reef sharks that hang out in the caves are generally good-natured, but don't get too close or corner them.
South (Tech) Reef
The south reef is an easy route for beginners when the water is calm. After you clear the entry cove, drop down and turn south. Keep an eye on your distance from the rock cliff and make sure you stay at a depth of around 10 - 15 feet. If you go too far east, you'll end up in a very shallow, rocky, and surging area. If you go to far west, you'll end up in a very open, sandy, and boring area. There are a lot of small turtles that hang out in these shallow reefs, napping under rock outcroppings. Stay away when water conditions are rough, because you can easily end up against the rocks.
Pro Tip: Get there early in the morning (right after sunrise) for the best chance of seeing monk seals, dolphins, rays, and other wildlife. The schools of fish will hang around, but the more exciting wildlife will move away once the packs of snorkelers arrive. This is also a great spot to do your first night dive (with the right training and buddies). The pipeline makes navigating in the dark easy, and the reef on top of the pipe has some brilliant colors
Useful GPS Coordinates
Mooring Ball (Underwater):
Mooring Ball (Underwater):
After the Dive:
Since we normally go to Electric Beach in the morning, we like to grab breakfast right after our dive.
Eggs 'N Things (Ko' Olina): A short drive from Electric Beach, this restaurant has some of our favorite brunch foods and drinks. Although it's a little pricier, it's well worth it for their delicious waffles and eggs benedict.
Kountry Style Kitchen (Ewa Beach): Another great brunch spot, it's a bit farther of a drive but the food is well-worth it. They have massive portions or delicious pancakes and local-style breakfasts.
Electric Beach: If you don't feel like driving, you can always stay at Electric Beach! Just be warned that the beach area is small and fills up fast on the weekends.
Ko'Olina Beach Coves: There are several beach coves at Ko'Olina that are open to the public. Be warned that parking on the weekends can be an absolute headache.
Makaha Beach: Right down the road (further up the West Shore) is a beautiful and large beach with a stunning mountain backdrop.
Ko'Olina: There aren't very many tourist attractions on the West side of the island besides Ko'Olina (resort area). If you head to that area, you can walk around the beach coves and enjoy the restaurants and bars in that area. Obviously everything will be pricier due to it being a resort area.