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Snorkeling at Two Step?

Discussion in 'US - Hawaii Timesharing' started by DaveNW, May 4, 2018.

  1. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    During our upcoming trip, I'm finally going to make time to snorkel from Two Step on the Big Island. I've been to the City of Refuge before, but I'm not exactly sure about where the access is for Two Step.

    Google Maps shows it's basically next door, but it's not very clear. There are a couple of markers - one says Two Step, and the other says Beach Road Snorkeling Access. Which is which? A website describes using the two steps to get into the water, but it isn't clear where those steps are. Is it in the cove where the Two Step map pin is, or is it out on the open water side?

    And is parking just along the roadway there? That website said there is "attended parking," but it wasn't clear if it was the parking lot for the City of Refuge, or if it is that parking along the road? Taking the map to Street View doesn't help much.

    Those of you who have been there before, can you tell me what is what?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 6.07.04 PM.png
     
  2. ecwinch

    ecwinch Moderator

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  3. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Eric. That's a different site than the one I saw. It states parking in the City of Refuge parking lot is $5, which must be the attended parking I read about. Parking along the roadway doesn't sound very reliable. (I wonder if my National Park Access Pass would cover the parking? It worked for entrance to the Park before.)

    Now that I see the access is on the open water side, I think I'll do a drive by one day to check the lay of the land before getting ready to go snorkeling and not being able to get in the water. It looks like it could be kind of rough.

    Dave
     
  4. jlp879

    jlp879 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    The access point for getting into the water is just about where your green pin is dropped.

    You can park along the road, or where the cars are parked in your image for free. Otherwise, pay to park at Pu'uhonua National Historical Park and walk 5-7 minutes to the lava rocks at Two Step. Use the bathrooms at the historical site. The beach only has port-a-potties.

    You don't need to worry about finding the access point, just look for everyone else going in to the water. There is only one point and I doubt you'd ever be alone at this popular place.

    The other road by the red pin is a boat launch. It's a busy place.
     
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  5. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thank you! Yeah, a boat launch sounds like it'd be a bit risky to get in the water there. :)

    Dave
     
  6. jlp879

    jlp879 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Now that I look at your green pin closer, the access point is just the next little cove south.

    Still, you won't have trouble finding it when you're there.

    Sure about those Big Island plans? Right now more than the sea is rough; looks like the whole island is rocking and rolling.
     
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  7. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It’s been a few years but we parked in the parking lot for the Place of Refuge and walked over. It wasn’t far but as you go to the water, your walking on lava so aqua shoes of some sort would be best.
    It wasn’t too difficult to find. We got to it and didn’t research it much. Waves were pretty big when we were there so we didn’t stay long but we saw a lot of fish.
     
  8. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    That too. It's still a few weeks away, so maybe things will have calmed down by then. With Kilauea, you never know what to expect. ;) If not, we'll be seeing more time up at the north end of the island.

    Dave
     
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  9. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    When we snorkel at 2-step, we park in the City of Refuge parking, and park right in front of the manned booth in the parking lot for security. You can use a Park Pass. It's the best snorkeling we have ever seen.

    *If you pay for City of Refuge parking/admission, keep the receipt, because it's good for a week, so you can come back and park in the lot for free the next time, and snorkel again.

    Then you grab your snorkel gear, and walk back out the drive way toward the main road, walk a short way to your left past some private buildings, and then take the next left down to the water. Then you walk across the lava to the water - we wear flip-flops and leave them on the lava, before snorkeling. There will be people sitting down and stepping down at the 2-steps into the water - you can't miss it. There is a naturally bench in the lava, and if you sit down and put your feet down, you can stand up on the bench under the water and then push off into the water from there.

    After snorkeling, we go back to the car and drive deeper into the park and to the left, for a picnic lunch.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 6.37.53 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 6.43.52 PM.png
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  10. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Jeff. I've snorkeled in the middle of Kealakekua Bay from a boat before, but never from the beach.

    Dave
     
  11. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Denise. I knew you'd know. :)

    Dave
     
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  12. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Yep, I followed Denise’s instructions when we went and it was easy.
     
  13. jacknsara

    jacknsara TUG Member

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    Aloha,
    The challenge of the normal entry points for some is pulling yourself out. Its like pulling yourself out at the side of a swimming pool without a ladder. Entering is like dropping into the deep end. Without going into the long story why, Sara and I go out and return through the boat launch. The return swim through the channels in the reef wall can be an existential challenge depending on wave height and drain flow if you're not already a strong swimmer with good sprint capability (I am). If you are that strong, you can probably pull out at the side of a pool. I do not recommend the boat launch for anyone who does not regularly work out swimming.
    Jack
     
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  14. Sandy VDH

    Sandy VDH TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    This is my favorite shore dive (or snorkel) on the planet, yes I said the entire planet. I am nearly 400 dives in and this spot is great.

    We have always got lucky and just found parking spot under the trees along the one way road. (Enter right by Place of Refuge, exit back to the main road a bit farther down.)

    The boat ramp can be a bit slippery. But I have gotten that way before because two step was too crowded. I don't usually recommend it.

    Getting out of two step is not as bad as getting out a pool without a ladder, as often time, depending on tide and water levels, the water can up onto the lower of the two steps. This guy is kneeling and the women in the one piece bathing suit is standing on the bottom step of 2 step, the bikini woman the the boy are on the top step. There is also some lava boulders below and it is not deep right there where you get in.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  15. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I imagine it is a lot more difficult when the tide is out and maybe in the winter? When we were there, the tide was in and covered the bottom "step," so you could just float/swim onto the bottom step and sit or kneel on it, and then hold onto the "top step" and stand up. It was summer too, so that probably makes a difference
     
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  16. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It was just like Denise said when we were there also. You will like it Dave. It’s a great spot.
     
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  17. 1Kflyerguy

    1Kflyerguy TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    The tide must have been out when we were there, it was a bit challenging the pull your self back out of the water. The snorkeling was amazing however....
     
  18. tsuspeck

    tsuspeck TUG Member

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    We were just there yesterday. All the info above is correct. We were able to park for free on the road right next to the lava ‘beach’. Getting out of the water is very easy using the steps. Fabulous snorkeling! Several large turtles, small dolphins and countless colorful fish. There is also a very small beach for easy entry and light snorkeling but a coral reef makes it difficult to swim around to the large open water area. Enjoy!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I'm excited to give it a try. The time I went snorkeling from a boat there (three years ago) I got some great pictures, using a waterproof case for my cell phone. (It worked better than it seemed like it would.) This year I have a new underwater camera bought specifically for this, so we'll see how it goes.

    This is one of those cell phone pictures. An iPhone 5S, to be exact, using a Seashell SS-I5 case. https://www.amazon.com/Seashell-Waterproof-Housing-Underwater-iPhone/dp/B00BRQG9CO It was clever, and worked very well, for what it was, but it was limited on what it would do. Now I have a brand new Fuji XP130 waterproof camera from Costco (where else? ;)) We'll see what I can do this time around.

    Kealakekua Bay.jpg

    Dave
     
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  20. happymum

    happymum TUG Member

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    One of my favourite spots too. Was fortunate enough to spend a few hours in the bay with a pod of dolphins and only half a dozen other snorkellers, a few years ago. A treasured memory!
     
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