We took a snorkel trip here, which is well worth it, since most of the snorkel trips go to Molokini (it's like they drop off tour groups there!!), this is an amazing (and, IMHO, better) alternative for a less crowded and more fulfilling experience.
You do not need to go on a snorkel trip, it's easy to access from the Beach (you must park and walk through a beautiful jungle like entrance to get to the bay), but if you go Dec- April a boat trip in is well worth it...We saw 4 Whales on the way in, one came about 25 ft from our boat, unreal. We came in on the HULA Girl boat, which was awesome, and one of the nicest boats I have been on in MAUI.
The reef is full of fish and sea Turtles, we hovered above 3 full grown turtles for about 20 minutes and each surfaced and swam towards us during that time. Was an unbelievable experience! We could have reached out an touched them (do not do this)!
I do agree that unless you come in on a boat, the swim out from the beach is not for the novice or children (unless they are strong swimmers) however, you can probably see some beautiful fish and catch some of the reef closer to the shore, if you choose to...
There is also a surf break a little bit past the reef that has a pretty good left. Definitely worth a trip, and if you are driving and visiting different places, drive about 10 miles north and go visit the Olivine Tide Pools as well!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.