Our family rents a home in Puako for vacation. On walks along the water, I have seen people bringing paddle boards into shore or going out. We go down to the end of the road where there is a small "beach area". Early morning before the waves and tide kick up is best. I think it is great snorkeling because of the reefs. We went scuba diving the other day. Saw an eel, ray, several species of fish, turtles, etc. We went as far out as to where a dive boat was, but think our dive was better because we enjoys the reef along the way. Once, with a guide, we went down 100 feet to an "eel garden". Since we know the spot to enter the water, going diving or snorkeling here is easy. if you end up there, someone will probably be around at the entry spot and you could follow them in. This is not a sandy beach. I'm not local, so I don't know of the other places mentioned.
Puako is known for being tricky.
Malinowski, for example, calls it for experienced and cautious snorkelers only.
The main problem explained is that the reef is at a very shallow depth for a ways out, and the surge is strong, so it can push you into the reef (which kills coral and scratches you up), keeping you helpless. Also there are currents.
They do recommend early and at high tide to add depth, but they really recommend that this area be accessed by boat. The Malinowskis know the entry points, but they still do not recommend for beginner or even intermediate snorkelers.
What is your level as a snorkeler, Ian?
I took a friend out last year who had not been snorkeling in a long time. We went out a bit later in the day, so the sand was a bit churned up in the water. Earlier is better. Going in and out of the little cove area was still ok. She did fine. The small area at the end of Puako Rd. that I am talking about would not be accessible by boat. You would probably need to be 50-100 feet away from the shore. However, it is always best to stay within your personal limits. We have to walk down a few rocks to the cove. I then put my fins on while standing on the sand in the water. When the current flows out of the "cove", I follow it out over the reef. For someone not steady on their feet, this would not be the best place. My mother-in-law in her late 70's went snorkeling here too. She is probably an intermediate snorkeler.
I am wondering if this is summer month conditions or includes winter conditions?
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