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Honaunau Bay

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In ancient times, Honaunau Bay was a safe haven where Hawaiians could escape persecution. The adjoining National Historic Park tells the story of this City of Refuge, although visitors today flock down to the shoreline for some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. This turquoise cove is laden with sea turtles and hundreds of colorful reef fish, and the rocky shoreline is largely protected from wind and crashing surf.

The bay is known as “Two Step” to locals since that’s how you enter the water: Step down onto a flat rock that is at the same level of the water, and then launch off of the slippery rock into the marine wonderland below. This is a great spot for beginning snorkelers since it’s shallow, sandy, and calm, although advanced free divers can find steep drop offs of nearly 100 feet. Most visitors stay in the shallows, however, where lazy sea turtles nibble from the rocks and parrotfish fly above corals.

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