Kaneohe Bay Amenities
|moorage||Up to 3 nights free||Very dicey bottom – sand on coral. Lots of scope and back down on your anchor for a couple of minutes to make sure it’s set. Coral surrounds every channel here and is constantly growing so that they have difficulty keeping up with it.|
|water||yes||at fuel dock|
|pump-out||yes||at fuel dock|
|ice, groceries||convenience store right at dock||Or go to mall for more diverse supplies|
|internet||various choices at the mall|
|bus||yes||pick up across the street from the marina to go into mall nearest town – about 10 minutes. Or take it all the way around the island in about 2 hours.|
Kaneohe Bay is a large natural bay on the north-east coast of Oahu. It is a spectacularly beautiful place but tricky to get into because of the coral that grows rampantly throughout the bay. We were told that the reef is frequently trimmed to keep the channels open but that the coral grows very rapidly in the clean water. Navigate with caution and do not attempt to enter the bay at night.
There are supposedly two ways to enter Kaneohe Bay, the ship channel and the more direct Sampan channel. However the Sampan channel has less than 10 feet of water in some places so we didn’t chance it. We took the meandering but relatively well-marked ship channel which is a longer path but had a comforting 20-30 feet of water carved amongst coral reefs that were only inches beneath the water along the channel edges. The red line in the chart at right shows our track along this channel.
Our guide-book reported that there are four marina options: one military, one private, one for yacht club members, and one public – the He’eia Kea Small Boat Harbor. The marina there, besides being full, appears too small for most cruising boats but does provide fuel, water, and ice. We anchored off in one of the several small areas allotted for anchoring – do be very aware of the reefs which wend all about these anchorages.
The He’eia Kea Small Boat Harbor has almost all the essentials – ice, fuel, pump-out, beer, rest-rooms – but no showers!
The bay has very precarious holding ground, being sand over hard coral, so leave plenty of scope and back down on your anchor with your engine in reverse for several minutes. We did find we could row our dinghy over some of the reefs if we were careful to look for routes that had a couple of feet of water over the coral. Go around if you have an engine on your dinghy.
The small grocery store at the harbor office has ice and cold beer – and little else, but those were welcome! If you walk across the parking lot to the road a bus goes by every half hour to the mall – about 10 minutes away. This same bus goes entirely around the island in about 2 hours – a good way to get to Honolulu if you have a yearning for the high life.