Overview of Leleiwi Beach Park

Leleiwi Beach Park

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For the intermediate diver, Leleiwi will offer something new on every dive. Rugged coast line and wonderful underwater vistas await you!

Directions: Beginning at the intersection of Kanoelehua Ave and Kalanianaole Ave at South Hilo Bay, heat East toward Leleiwi Point on Kalanianaole Ave. Travel 3.3 miles to the entrance below.


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09/27/2013 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.26 Review) - After many dives on the west coast of the Big Island I decided to see what the east side has to offer. They call this 'The Wild Side' for diving as it's much more exposed to the trade winds and the surf that is unimpeded for a couple thousand miles! That said, Leleiwi (pronounced lay-lee-vee) is a very nice dive site and is somewhat protected from high surf. The entrance and exit are quite easy and it's only 25 meters or so to a decent place to submerge. There are freshwater springs near the shore so the water temperature feels a bit chilly initially, but warms up as soon as you gain some distance from shore. There is abundant hard coral and much of it is finger coral. The coral below 20 meters appears to have been damaged, but above that it looks healthy. We were advised to go to the right at the entrance point due to the possibility of strong currents to the left (although later we learned there is a turtle cleaning station to the left). There are a few scattered arch swim-throughs and some of the largest Green Sea Turtles I've ever seen! It's a good dive if you find yourself in the Hilo area. The visibility on this side is going to be influenced by the amount of recent rainfall. It was 50-60 ft. when we dove it and it had been relatively dry. Check for current details with one of the (2) local dive shops when you rent your tanks.

12/31/2012 Bill H from Hilo (Avg: 4.17 Review) - The iconic Hilo diving site.

12/27/2009 Liz Heim (Avg: 3.56 Review) - This is our first shore dive here in Hilo. Not ever diving a reef from shore was a little challenging with the surf and coral, but totally worth the view once out past the break/surge. My husband and I found the surges to be a little difficult at time especially when returning. I think with a little more familiarity of the site, navigation would be a breeze. The sea-life was great. Lots of turtles, some very large. Many tangs, wrasse and butterfly fish. We will dive here again before our vacation is done.

02/07/2009 Jay Hansen (Avg: 4.20 Review) - I live and grew up in Hilo and let me tell you about Leleiwi. I mostly dive there at night and will be doing so tonight. Just to the north of Leleiwi proper, there is a small bay where 3 small pavilions line up along the highway. If you get to the 3 pavilions that go out toward the sea, you went too far. The little bay I speak of is by far the best shore dive in Hilo. The water can be very dangerous so make sure you are up to the task. This bay is the first place I heard the humpback whales singing in Hawaii. A very incredible experience that just makes you want to cry for what we have done and are doing to these incredible animals who sing songs to each other just as we do. The terrain under water is just as breathtaking. Deep canyons and cliffs that drop off into the blue. It's like diving over the craggiest mountains you can imagine. There are arches, caves, cliffs, canyons, fish, coral, inverts, lots of different eels. It was here I saw 2 hermit crabs the size of large grapefruits. Occasionally this beach has tiger shark sightings but I spend many many hours in the water here at night free diving for lobster and have never seen a shark. In fact I've seen only 2 white-tips, one on the Kona side and one here at Puhi bay a few miles north of Leleiwi. This site will not disappoint but remember, beginners beware. The locals call the sea on this side of the island 'man-eater' and for good reason. My friends and I dive when it's treacherous and always at night so just be aware of your abilities, never go out alone and go home after an incredible dive. This place is for beginners at Leleiwi proper up to the most advanced either direction up or down the beach. You're gonna love it. Trust me. I know the bottom from Kings landing to the Hilo breakwall like the back of my hand and this place is the best!

03/31/2008 Joe Foster (Avg: 3.81 Review) - Dove here on March 26th, 2008 with my 2 boys. The Surf was up pretty good, but with the advise of a local, we had no troubles getting in and out. You should enter just to the left of the shower (there are stairs on the outside of the rock wall). There were so many turtles here, we were never out of sight of at least one! This was the one dive we did on this side of the Island, but it was well worth the extra effort.

01/04/2008 Gerald Zemke (Avg: 4.15 Review) - I live in Hilo and have dove most of my 44 dives this year in The Hilo area. The 15 dives at Leleiwi continue to hold my interest. It offer a wide variety of marine life (always seeing at least two digit numbers of Green sea turtles) and is good for all experience levels. Stop in and talk to Bill at the Nautilus Dive Shop down by the bay front. It's not the only place in Hilo to dive, but may be the best!

03/30/2007 Jacob (Avg: 3.84 Review) - I am a student at the U of Hawaii at Hilo I dive a lot out here. The best diving on the Big Island is on the Kona coast, but if you do make it to Hilo and want to dive in Hilo, Leleiwi is the only place to dive. It offers a lot of sea turtles (one dive I did here I counted 10 and on a snorkeling trip I counted 13), and several different kinds of fish. The entry can be a little of pain but it is well worth it (don't be scared once you get in the water; it is freezing until you get out over the reef due to fresh water streams). Once you get over the ledge, head right past two large coral heads and look down. After the third one, you will find a lava arch to swim through, and, if you take a 90 degree right, you will find two more-- a tight squeeze for a big guy like me but they are there. Before you jump in, check the conditions first since it can be kind of nasty...you can always stop by the only dive shop in town to ask about the site. GET WET AND ENJOY!!!!!

08/22/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.39 Review) - Easily the best overall site of the four I dove near Hilo, though Puhi is a close second. Leleiwi sustains interest for multiple dives and is a great place to take snorkeling friends to see turtles big and small. The entry is easy at low or mid tide IF you use the concrete steps and lava bench just down the bulkhead from the shower and kiosk. Ask Nautilus dive for a map since it's worth it to get a map, especially if the waves come up while you're under. I liked diving all three directions from the entry, but heading right after 50 kicks to see the arch and the turtle pinnacles just beyond it is probably the most interesting direction. Lots of mushroom top coral formations to visit and a great collection of butterfly fish species, especially ornates. Mornings here have very few cars in the parking lot and even in the afternoon there is a far better chance of securing a space than at Richardson Beach Park a quarter mile away.

04/29/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 3.99 Review) - Good site for Hilo diving!

04/04/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.88 Review) - Great place and near town.

01/22/2003 Sam Utah (Avg: 3.69 Review) - I dove this site in July of 2002. Great coral and plant life. I saw many turtles, and even a dragon eel. Entry is a little tricky and you want to be careful of the swells. I had two great night dives. Visibility was great. I've seen the biggest turtles and lobsters on this side of the island at Leleiwi. Highly recommend this site.

11/07/2002 Suzanne D'Aunoy (Avg: 3.81 Review) - Completed training (OW) dives there, but had some more experienced friends who dove at the same time and also loved it. Easy diving once you get past the rough beach entry. We had good vis, lots of wildlife (more than on subsequent dives on Kona side), and no crowds to deal with.

12/17/2001 Rich Hauben (Avg: 3.73 Review) - Great shore diving near Hilo. Expect to see over a dozen sea turtles here (I average over 20 sightings each dive). The drop off is close to shore - the reef stretches from about 20' to below 60'. There is a nice sea arch about 50 meters from shore that you can swim through. Lots of smaller fish and good coral. Entry and exit via lava shelf on the water - watch for the tides and sea swells - exiting is a bit tricky, just time it with the incoming sets. Enjoy this dive site year round and say Hi to the turtles.


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Site Photos

Maps
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Photo
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Comments
Entrance

 Map     Sat
GPS: TB2001
N1943.9938'
W15501.0356'

 

Entrance at Leleiwi Beach Park 

It's easy to find.

Parking

 Map     Sat
GPS: TB2002
N1943.9938'
W15501.0356'

 

Parking at Leleiwi Beach Park 

You can gear-up right here in the parking lot.

Overview

 

 

Overview at Leleiwi Beach Park 

There is a picnic area for between dives, and a shower right by the exit.

Entry

 

 

Entry at Leleiwi Beach Park 

Find a comfortable entry spot, and remember the landmarks for when you return.

Last Verification: July, 2001  

 

Diver Averages for  Leleiwi Beach Park  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.15
Bottom Conditions:  4.00
Reef Conditions:  4.00
Animal Life:  4.31
Plant Life:  3.08
Facilities:  3.54
Solitude 3.77
Roads:  4.62
*Site Average:  3.81
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.08
Beginner Scuba:  3.92
Intermediate Scuba:  4.54
Advanced Scuba:  4.08
Night diving Scuba:  4.00

Number of reviews for this site: 13

248-1-2-20


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