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Hawai`i Site Descriptions

Map of Hawaii Ocean Count Sites

South Shore Locations
Kona Locations
Kohala Locations
Hamakua Coast Locations
 

South Shore Locations

Site 1: Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach Park

Punaluu Black Sand Beach Park

Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach Park
Directions: Site is located off Highway 11 (Mamalahoa Highway) near Punalu‘u, just after mile marker 56. A road sign marks the site. Follow the paved road approximately 1 mile to the coast. Road ends in the parking lot.
Parking: Adequate parking is available in the parking lot.
Facilities: Public restrooms, phones, drinking water, and shade are available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 0-20 feet
Comments: Beautiful location. Easily accessible.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of sea cliffs, 3-10 m above sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of basalt pavement or consolidated rock bottom or outcrops, as well as some massive boulders. The bottom drops off to approximately 15-75 ft. at a distance of 50 m offshore.

Site 2: Ka Lae Park

Kumukahi Lighthouse

Ka Lae Park
Directions: Turn off Highway 11 (Mamalahoa Highway) onto South Point Rd. and proceed to the end. Follow the rough dirt road through the hole in the wall. Park down the hill where the ground levels off.
Parking: Parking is available at the end of the dirt road. Not handicapped accessible.
Facilities: No public facilities available.
Elevation: 20 feet
Comments: Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the U.S. It is visited by many tourists and local fishermen.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of sea cliffs, 3-10 m above sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of basalt pavement or consolidated rock bottom or outcrops, as well as some massive boulders. The bottom drops off to approximately 15-75 ft. at a distance of 50 m offshore.

Site 3: Miloli‘i Lookout

Milolii Lookout

Miloli‘i is a remote, yet beautiful site
Directions: Site is located on a side road off Highway 11 (Mamalahoa Highway). Look for a sign at the top of the road reading "Miloliʻi Beach Park". Approximately 1.9 miles down the road from the highway is the road Awapuhi. Turn left on Awapuhi and you will reach a dead end which is where volunteers will observe from.
Parking: Adequate parking available.
Facilities: No public facilities available.
Elevation: 800 feet
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of very low outcrops, abrasion ramps, benches, and is approximately at sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of basalt pavement with massive boulders, cobbles, basalt or limestone rubble, and small boulders. The bottom drops off to approximately 30-50 ft. at a distance of 100 m offshore.

Site 20: Kaʻena Point (Chain of Craters Road)

Kaena Point

Volunteers conduct the count from the lava rock field at Ka‘ena Point
Directions: Enter Volcanoes National Park. Take the first left and follow the signs for Chain of Craters Road. Proceed to the end of the road. Site is located 100 yards from the main road, over lava rock field.
Parking: Adequate parking is available.
Facilities: Public restrooms are available 5 minutes away. No other public facilities are available. This site is not handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 30 - 40 feet
Comments: Bluff looking southeast, 180 degree view. Can get very hot, be prepared.
Bathymetry: No information available.




Kona Locations

Site 4: Hoʻokena Beach Park

Ho`okena Beach Park

Ho`okena Beach Park
Directions: Site is located at the end of Ho‘okena Beach Road off Highway 11 (Mamalahoa Highway). Road is between mile markers 101 and 102. Take the Oceanside turnoff marked Ho`okena Beach Park and proceed approximately 2 miles to the beach parking lot.
Parking: Adequate, safe parking is available.
Facilities: Public restrooms and pavilions that offer shade are available. Phone and drinking water are available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 20 feet
Comments: Ho‘okena Beach Park is a popular swimming area.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of a dark sand beach. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of cobbles (basalt and limestone), small boulders, and non-consolidated rubble. The bottom drops off to approximately 10-20 ft. at a distance of 100 m offshore.

Site 5: Hō naunau Lookout

Honaunau Lookout

Binoculars are recommended at the Honaunau Lookout
Directions: Site is located at the scenic overlook off Honaunau Road overlooking Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Park. Take Mamalahoa Highway to the turnoff for Honaunau Historic National Park Road (near mile marker 104). Approximately 3 miles off of the highway at the City of Refuge exit. Once inside the parking lot, go to the south corner and follow the unpaved road to the picnic area.
Parking: Park at the scenic lookout about 1/4 mile above the National Park entrance. Parking available for 8-10 cars.
Facilities: Facilites are available at the park entrance. Handicapped accessible. Drinking water and telphone are located at the rangers station. Shade available.
Elevation: 15 feet
Comments: Good vantage point. A ridge to the south prevents nearshore observations. Binoculars are needed.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of very low outcrops, abrasion ramps, benches and is approximately at sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of cobbles (basalt and limestone), small boulders, and non-consolidated rubble. The bottom drops off to approximately 60 ft. at a distance of 300 m offshore.

Site 6: Keauhou Scenic Lookout

View from the Keauhou Wendy's

View from the Keauhou site
Directions: Site is located at the Scenic Lookout in Keauhou (or just past that at the old Wendy’s restaurant off King Kamehameha Road). Turn makai (downhill) from Highway 11 onto King Kamehameha III Road; a 2-lane paved road just off the main road.
Parking: Adequate and safe parking is available for approximately 6 cars.
Facilities: Public facilities available at nearby Keahou Shopping Center. No shade or water at site.
Elevation: ~450 feet
Comments: The ‘Ohi‘a Cave Historic Preserve is just below the observation point.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of boulders and talus at the base of cliffs. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of cobbles (basalt and limestone), small boulders, and non-consolidated rubble. The bottom drops off to approximately 60 ft. at a distance of 550 m offshore.

Site 7: Keāhole Point / Natural Energy Lab (OTEC)

NELHA

The location at NELHA is a good spot for large groups and families
Directions: Take Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway 19 to the Natural Energy Lab Road (just south of Keahole Airport). Take this road to the end. Turn left onto the dirt access road at the chain link fence. The beach is a little way down the road. Park at the lighthouse.
Parking: Adequate and safe parking is available.
Facilities: Public restrooms available at NELHA facility with permission from operations manager. No shade. Not handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 20 feet
Comments: No information available.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of very low outcrops, abrasion ramps, benches and is approximately at sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of pavement with massive basalt boulders and patchy sand cover. The bottom drops off to approximately 180 ft. at a distance of 260 m offshore.

Site 8: Hualālai (Four Seasons Resort)

Hualalai site

The rocky Hualalai site is located adjacent to the Four Seasons Resort
Directions: Site is located approximately 14 miles north of Kailua-Kona on Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway 19 between mile marker 85 and 86. Site is located between Kona Coast State Park / Cinder Cone and Hualalai Resort. Follow sign to Ka`upulehu. Go straight until you reach the greeter station and then request a pass for the Kuki`o Beach Public Access. Take an immediate left just past the greeter station and drive approximately one mile to the Kuki`o Beach parking area. From parking area there is a short walk to the beach.
Parking: Safe, adequate public access parking is available.
Facilities: Restrooms, phones, drinking water, and showers available. Picnic tables. Shade available. Handicapped accessible to beach area but viewing area is across 250' of sand.
Elevation: 20 feet
Comments: Beautiful sandy beach site in small cove. Site leader will need to contact the Security chief of the resort one week prior to the event.
Bathymetry:The site is in a small shallow water cove. The shoreline at this site is composed of very low outcrops, abrasion ramps, benches and is approximately at sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of coral and large sand channels, as well as limestone and loose sand. The bottom drops off to approximately 10-20 ft. at a distance of 450 m offshore.

Kohala Locations

Site 9: Puʻukoholā Heiau National Park

Puʻukoholā park

View from Puʻukoholā park
Directions:
From Kona - Take Highway 19 north past Waikoloa/Hapuna and Spencer Park. Turn left at Highway 270, proceed 1/2 mile and turn left into Puʻukoholā National Park.
From Waimea - Take Highway 19 south to Highway 270, turn right or north on 270, proceed 1/2 mile north and turn left into park. You’ll see the National Park sign on the highway – easy to find. Paved road. Turn right into paved parking area.
Parking: Parking is available.
Facilities: Shade, public restrooms (portable), and public telephones are available. Additional facilities can be found at the Kawaihae 7-11 store, approximately 15 minutes away.
Elevation: 120 feet
Comments: Park opens at 7:30a.m. The Sanctuary office will obtain the special use permit that is required to use the park. Dolphins and other marine wildlife are commonly seen at this site.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of very low outcrops, abrasion ramps, benches and is approximately at sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of coral and large sand channels. The bottom drops off to approximately 60 ft. at a distance of 1000 m offshore.

Site 10: Mile Marker 7

Mile Marker 7 site

The Mile Marker 7 site regularly logs good whale sightings
Directions: Site is located off Highway 270 near Kawaihae. Count is conducted from the slope just off the shoulder of the road. Take Highway 19N to Kawaihae Road (Highway 270) just past Kawaihae Harbor. Look for Mile Marker 7, just past Kohala Ranch.
Parking: Parking is available on the shoulder.
Facilities: No shade or public facilities are available at the site. Facilities can be found at the Kawaihae 7-11 store, approximately 15 minutes away.
Elevation: ~180 feet
Comments: Excellent viewing site. This site is used for research throughout the year.
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of outcrops 1m-3m above sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of submerged rocks, extensive lava flow fingers, reef and rubble deposits. The bottom drops off to approximately 30 ft. at a distance of 330 m offshore.

Site 11: Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahi State Historical Park
Directions: Take Highway 270 north of Kawaihae at mile marker 14. Site is located 100 yards past the gate at the top of the hill. Approximately 1/2 mile from shore. Look for the sign on roadway.
Parking: Parking available.
Facilities: Restrooms are available however no shade or public facilities available. Not handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 100 feet
Comments: Lapakahi is a cultural and historical state park. Hot, bring umbrella!
Bathymetry: The shoreline at this site is composed of sea cliffs, 3-10 m above sea level. Offshore submarine bottoms are composed of pavement or consolidated rock bottom or outcrops. The bottom drops off to approximately 60 ft. at a distance of 150 m offshore.

Site 12: Kapaʻa Beach Park

Kapa`a

Although the elevation at Kapa`a is low, the site is comfortable
Directions: Site is located off of Highway 270 (Pule Highway). Traveling north, turn left on the one-lane paved road just past mile marker 16. Site is located at the end of the road.
Parking: Adequate parking is available. Cell reception is poor.
Facilities: Public restrooms and shaded areas are available. Drinking water is not available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: ~20 feet
Comments: Great site for count. Covered picnic pavilions are available. Hiking trails lead off the site. Camping is available on site.
Bathymetry: No information available

Site 13: Old Coast Guard Road

Old Coast Guard Road site

Old Coast Guard Road site
Directions: Traveling north on 270, turn left after Puakea Bay. A white rail fence is visible at the turn. Site is located at the end of the road. The site is approximately 2.5 miles from Hawi and 19 miles from Kawaihae.
Parking: Parking is available for approximately 8 cars.
Facilities: No public facilities are available. Not handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 20-40 feet
Comments: Excellent site for whale watching.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 14: ʻUpolu Point

`Upolu Point

`Upolu Point offers sweeping views of the ocean
Directions: Site is located at the overlook near ‘Upolu Point Airport in Kohala. From Kohala: South on Highway 270, turn right at the ‘Upolu Airport sign.
From Waimea: Take Mountain Road to Hawi, turn left onto Highway 270, turn right at the ‘Upolu Airport sign.
From Kona/Waikoloa: North of Kawaihae on Highway 270 to mile marker 20. Turn right at the ‘Upolu Airport sign.
Parking: Parking is available at the airport.
Facilities: No public facilities are available.
Elevation: 40 feet.
Comments: Excellent whale watching site. There is an approximately 2 mile hike on unpaved dirt road to reach site. The airport fence is locked on weekends but parking is still available. 4WD vehicles can drive on the dirt road around the air strip to get better access to the site.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Hamakua Coast Locations

Site 15: Waipiʻo Valley Lookout

Waipi`o

The breathtaking views at Waipi`o alone are worth the trip
Directions: Turn off Highway 19 towards Honoka‘a. Follow the road to the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Walk down the path to the lookout area near the pavilion.
Parking: Adequate parking is available for approximately 7 cars.
Facilities: Public restrooms, pavilion, and shaded areas are available.Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 600 feet
Comments: Excellent visibility. Beautiful site.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 16: Laupāhoehoe Scenic Lookout

Lapauhoehoe Lookout

Lapauhoehoe Lookout
Directions: Site is located approximately 23 miles NW of Hilo and 15 miles E of Honoka`a on Hamakua Coast Highway 19. Approximately a 25 minute drive from Hilo. The lookout is just off the main highway.
Parking: Parking is available for approximately 7-8 cars.
Facilities: No public facilities are available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 400 feet
Comments: The Island of Maui is visible to the north.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 17: Onekahakaha Beach Park (Hilo Bay)

Onekahakaha site

The Onekahakaha site has easy and convenient public access
Directions: Located at a public beach park, approximately 5-10 minutes from downtown Hilo. Take King Kamehameha Avenue past Banyan Drive to Kanoelehua Street. Continue on Kalaniana‘ole Avenue, approximately 4 miles along coast. Sign for park will be on the right hand side of the road, turn left towards beach. Park, then follow parking lot to the right.
Parking: Parking available.
Facilities: Public restrooms, pavilion, phones, drinking water, and picnic tables are available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 0 feet
Comments: Pavillion could be rented in advance in case of rain.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 18: Kumukahi Lighthouse

Kumukahi Lighthouse

Kumukahi Lighthouse requires travel on a bumpy, unpaved road
Directions: Take Route 132 to Kapoho. At the stop sign, proceed straight on gravel road to lighthouse. Walk to safe viewing spot.
Parking: Adequate parking is available for approximately 10 cars.
Facilities: No public facilities or shade are available.
Elevation: 40 feet
Comments: Rocky area with good visibility.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 19: Kehena Lookout

Kehena site

The Kehena Lookout is a beautiful location to enjoy the Sanctuary Ocean Count
Directions: Take Kea’au-Pahoa Road (130) south. Turn left onto Highway 137 at Kalapana. Kehena is located at Mile Marker 19. Parking: Adequate, safe and free parking.
Facilities: No public facilities are available. Minimal shade is available. Not handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 35 feet
Comments: This site has a nice shaded area available. It is near Kehena Estates. Chairs, umbrellas and 4-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended.
Bathymetry: No information available.

Site 21: Oʻākala

Directions: Site is located about 35 minutes north of Hilo on the makai (ocean) side of the Belt Highway approximately half way between the 29 and 30 mile markers.
Parking: Adequate parking is available.
Facilities: Restrooms, shade, drinking water and telephone are available. Handicapped accessible.
Elevation: 325 feet
Comments: Beautiful site located on a north-facing point with clear views to the west, north and north-east. This site used to be home to the Hamakua Sugar Company, O‘okala (Kaiwiki) Mill from 1887-1984. Here sugar cane, and later the processed "liquor", was loaded down cables directly on to waiting ships to be delivered to California sugar processing plants.
Bathymetry: No information available.

 The above 21 sites are approved sites for the annual Sanctuary Ocean Count on the Big Island. Occasionally other sites may be available. The Ocean Count Coordinator will be able to provide information on additional sites if they are available. Only those sites that are approved by the Ocean Count Coordinator will be included in the annual Sanctuary Ocean Count report.



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