- What should we bring with us?
Bring everything that you would bring for a day at the beach, including: swimwear, towels, a change of clothes, footwear that can get wet, reef-safe sunscreen, your phone or camera, and your adventurous spirit!
- Do you have lockers or a place to leave valuables?
No, unfortunately we do not. We can keep car keys in our office, but only keys. Due to liability reasons, we cannot hold onto any other personal items. We do rent waterproof dry bags to take things with you that cannot get wet.
- Can we go to the Sandbar from your location?
The sandbar is one possible destination from our location at He'eia State Park. However, keep in mind it will always be the most advanced, most difficult destination to reach because of how far offshore it is. When the wind is stronger, sometimes the combination of the wind and the distance make the sandbar not a reasonable destination for beginners or anybody who isn't capable of being a very strong, effective paddler. We may recommend closer destinations for beginners or families with kids on such days.
- When is the best time to go to the sandbar?
It is always a good time to go to the sandbar! But if you want to experience the sandbar when it is a dry, exposed beach, that only happens during the lowest tides of the day right around full and new moons. The time of day that occurs changes throughout the year. You can always call us when planning your adventure to get an update of the tide predictions.
- Will we see sea turtles?
While we can never guarantee any wildlife sightings, Kane'ohe Bay is home to many Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. There is a good chance of seeing turtles and a lot of other marine life, but you have to be in the right place at the right time.
- Are there sharks/will we see sharks?
Your chances of seeing a shark are very, very slim. While Kane'ohe Bay is known for its hammerhead population, they are very shy, timid, and reclusive. If you are afraid of them, they are more afraid of you. They stay away from people and boats. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you see a shark. Seriously.
- Why are we closed on Sundays and federal holidays?
We apologize for the inconvenience. Kane'ohe Bay regulations prohibit commercial activity on Sundays or federal holidays. And while we ARE NOT a commercial tour operator, we still follow those guidelines.
- Will we get cold out there?
It is never too cold in Hawaii's tropical environment to go kayaking and snorkeling.
But, believe it or not, sometimes even in Hawaii it can get a little chilly out there, especially in the winter months. Especially if you spend time snorkeling or in the water, it can feel chilly when you're wet and in the wind. We recommend bringing a light sweatshirt or jacket, and a light wet suit top or rash guard to have just in case.
- How do we get in and out of the kayaks?
We have sit-on-top style kayaks that are very easy to get on and off. It's easiest from a shallow area like the sandbar or the other patch reefs. The best way is put a hand on either side of the kayak, turn and sit down rear end first into the seat, and then swing your legs and feet in.
- Do the kayaks flip over/capsize?
While all of our kayaks are very stable, recreational style sit-on-top kayaks and flipping over is not likely, it is always possible. If you do flip over, it's okay. You just flip the kayak back right side up and climb back on. Don't worry. It's all part of the fun, and it happens to the best of us! That said, if you are not confident in your ability to pull yourself back into your kayak if you capsize in deep water, we recommend staying around the fringing reef where it is shallower and not attempting to go further out into deeper water.
- Where can we leave the kayak to go snorkeling?/Is there anywhere to land?
There are times when the sandbar is a big, dry, exposed beach that you can land on. However, most of the time the tide covers the sandbar and other reefs. They are shallow enough that you can get out and stand in the sand, but you won't be able to land/beach the kayaks anywhere. We recommend renting an anchor in order to be able to leave the kayak unattended.
- Where can we anchor or stand?
Only in the sand! For your safety and for the safety of the coral reef, never stand on, sit on, touch, or anchor on coral or rock. The coral is alive. It is a very fragile and easily damaged animal, and its exoskeleton is very sharp and jagged. Avoid contact with coral at all costs and only stand and anchor in sand.
- Where do we go to snorkel?
Kane'ohe Bay is home to many different shallow patch reefs that offer amazing snorkeling. Many of those have shallow sandy areas where it is okay to get out of the kayak and anchor in the sand. The best snorkeling is right on the reef's edge where it drops off. If you're renting and going on your own, we will give you a map of the bay and show you exactly where to go.
- What is considered reef-safe sunscreen?
When looking for reef-safe sunscreen, check the active ingredients. Be sure the only active ingredients are either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Many chemicals found in many popular sunscreen brands have been found to be toxic to coral, which is very fragile and easily damaged. The chemicals to avoid include, but are not limited to: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, and octocrylene. If your sunscreen contains any of these in the active ingredients, it is harmful to coral. In short, if you have only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients, your sunscreen is okay. And even if that's the case, also make sure those compounds are "non-nano". The reducing of those compounds into "nano particles" changes their chemical makeup in a way that does actually make them harmful to coral. Coral is a very fragile animal! Help us protect it by only using reef safe sun protection!
- Can we go to Mokoli'i Island from your location?
No, Mokoli'i is about 5 miles from our location, so that would be a 10 mile roundtrip paddle with the return 5 miles being into the wind and against the current. So it is not a reasonable destination to try to reach from our location. In order to kayak to this destination, you would need to load the kayak onto a vehicle and drive it up to Kualoa Regional Park to launch from there. We do not provide roof rack equipment or straps or rope at all, so you would just need to have the means to secure the kayak to your vehicle.
- Where are you located? / Where do we check in?
We are located at He'eia State Park. Use the name of the State Park when searching for us. Check in at our office located in the main banquet hall building at the top of the parking lot.
- Can we go to Coconut Island from your location?
Coconut Island (aka Moku o Loe) is just over a mile from our location towards the south end of the bay. From our location you can paddle over to Coconut Island, you can paddle around it if you want, but we are NOT permitted to land on the island. It is actually private property, it is run by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and the entire island and surrounding fringing reef are a protected marine research reserve area. Landing on the island or getting out on its surrounding reef is prohibited.
- Are there any islands we can land on in Kane'ohe Bay?
While we have the sandbar and some amazing patch reefs where it is okay to get out and stand and walk in the sand, there are no islands in Kane'ohe Bay that we can land on.
- Do you have 3-person kayaks?
We do not have kayaks that are suitable for three adults. Our tandem kayaks are great for two adults and one or maybe even two very small children, but not for three adults.
- What is the weight capacity of your kayaks?
The weight capacity of our tandem kayaks is 500 pounds. For anybody over 250 pounds, we recommend a tandem kayak set up in a single configuration. We don't recommend going tandem with a partner for anybody over 250 pounds if you are not sure of your stability kayaking.
- Can we take the kayaks offsite to put in somewhere else?
It is possible to do that. However, we do not provide any roof rack equipment, pads, straps, rope, etc. In order to take the kayaks off site as opposed to launching from our waterfront you would need to have all the equipment necessary to secure it to a vehicle. We also do not allow kayaks to go offsite when there are high surf, small craft, high wind, or other marine advisories or warnings in effect.
- Is there parking at your location?
Yes, we do have free parking on site at He'eia State Park.
- How long will it take us to kayak to the sandbar?
We can never tell anybody how long it will take them to paddle to one particular destination or another. There is no average. Everybody is different and every day is different. We can give you accurate ideas of distances, wind and tide forecasts, and relative difficulty levels for any given day. But the wind and tide are different every day. And these factors, combined with your paddling ability will determine the paddling time necessary to reach any given destination.
- What are the pink/red/orange/purple things we see in the sand that look like big worms or tentacles?
Those are conspicuous sea cucumbers! They are endemic to Hawaii, meaning that species exists nowhere else on the planet but here! They are living animals, so please remember to look but never touch. They are very fragile!
- Are there any animals out there that could hurt us?
Kane'ohe Bay is home to a vast amount of marine life, most of which is perfectly harmless. The animal responsible for by far the most injuries to people is coral! That's right, coral. Coral is a living animal even though it may look like rock. It is very fragile and easily damaged. The hard corals of Kane'ohe Bay have exoskeletons made of calcium carbonate, which is very hard, sharp, and jagged, and can inflict painful damage on us. So please be careful to avoid all contact with coral. You will hurt it and it will hurt you. As with any animal you might see, give it proper space, and look but never touch!