A Guide to Maui: Kaunolu Bay (Shark Fin)

Shark Fin


Location: Southwestern coastline of the island of Lana’i, about 20 minutes past Hulopo’e Bay.

Depth: 10-50 feet

Good for seeing: Parrotfish, octopus, large schools of reef fish, pyramid butterfly fish, and the world’s second tallest-sea cliffs. Kaunolu has two different snorkeling areas, “the bay”, and “the fin”, which is a rock shaped like a shark’s dorsal fin that has earned the area the nickname of “shark fin cove”. Both areas are deeper than many of our other snorkeling spots, and due to its location there can be occasional sightings of manta rays, eagle rays, spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, or even the occasional whale shark!

Best time of year to snorkel at Kaunolu: Due to its depth and the fact there isn’t any sand to be stirred up, Kaunolu offers fantastic snorkeling during all times of the year.

Reasons we might not snorkel here: If the surf has stirred up the visibility or there isn’t enough time to sail all the way to Kaunolu, which is the most remote spot that we visit.  

History: The area surrounding Kaunolu was once the favored summer fishing grounds of Hawaiian royalty including King Kamehameha and King Kahekili. The notch in the cliff in the photo above is known as “Kahekili’s Leap”, where the legendary King of Maui would throw himself off the 65 ft. precipice in an aerial display of his courage. Known as lele kawa, the sport of cliff jumping was reserved for royalty who possessed so much mana, or strength, that they were able to throw themselves off of sacred promontories where it was believed that souls would transfer from this world into the next.


Trips Offered to Kaunolu:  We will also visit Kaunolu during our private and group boat charters.