The Pawai Bay State Fisheries Management is a protected Marine Preserve, just north of Kailua-Kona. Located half of a mile north of Old Kona Airport Park, Pawai Bay offers crystal clear water and plenty of area to explore. Dive the caves, caverns, arches, and observe the expansive coral reef and tropical fish.
Pawai Bay is a secluded location - most people reach this spot by joining a snorkel or dive charter. However, if you would like to venture yourself and avoid the crowded tour, you can either hike the short trail from the Old Kona Airport (north end of runway) to the small strand of trees surrounding a sandy beach. Or you can paddle approximately 1.5 miles (each way) by kayak from Kailua Bay. Either way, your trip will be rewarded by amazing under-sea life and beautiful above-water scenery.
About 10 yards from the shore, the reef is shallow enough to snorkel, with a prolific coral reef. Beyond that, the reef curves and descends to past 60-feet in depth. You will see large schools of fish, moray eels, turtles, and the occasional Spinner Dolphin. The shallowest portions of the reef are just to the north of the mooring buoy - this is the best portion of the reef for snorkeling.