About KeĀhole Point

Nestled on the North Kona coast, Keāhole Point is a convergence of rich history, unique marine environments, and nature's wonders. It's precisely these attributes that make it the chosen location for HOST Park. Dive into the serene landscapes of Hawai'i and discover the strategic significance of this iconic landmark to HOST Park's mission and operations.

HOST Park hydrogen facility
HOST Park coastline
A golden sun sets off the coast of HOST Park
HOST Park coastline
HOST Park wide aerial view looking south
Coconut trees provide shade
View of Mauna Kea and Hualalai off the Kona coast
Blue Ocean Mariculture offshore facilities
HOST Park Keena Hana
north coastline view from HOST Park


Welcome to Keāhole Point in North Kona, Hawaiʻi! This stunning locale is situated west of the Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway and neighbors the Kona International Airport. As you stand at the very tip of Keāhole Point, you might spot a metal post light maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, marking the western extreme of Hawaiʻi Island. 

Keāhole Point is part of the majestic Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Known as the youngest member of the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island boasts a landmass almost double the sum of all the other Hawaiian islands. Birthed from the power of five volcanoes, this island continues to grow with each volcanic eruption. Among these magnificent volcanoes stands Mauna Kea, visible from the point and towering at 13,796 feet, watching over the northern regions.

For those seeking a touch of nature and history, the coastline is adorned with quaint beaches, perfect for leisure. There's a scenic jeep trail starting from Wawaloli Beach Park, which meanders along the ocean, taking you all the way to the famous Pine Trees surf spot. As you explore, you might stumble upon ancient Hawaiian archaeological treasures. These sites, rich with history, are cared for with utmost respect. Today, you can still observe traditional cultural practices along the shoreline, especially those tied to age-old fishing techniques.

HOST Park Aerial View looking towards Hualalai


Welcome to the coastal areas of North Kona, where you'll experience a semi-tropical, semi-arid climate. Here's a brief overview of what to expect:

  • Temperatures: Averaging at a comfortable 75°F, days can reach up to 83°F with nights cooling down to around 67°F.
  • Humidity: It remains stable year-round, averaging between 71 to 77 percent.
  • Rainfall: While Kailua-Kona receives about 25 inches annually, Keāhole Point gets just over 13 inches.
  • Sunshine: You're in for a treat with clear, sunlit days estimated 95% of the year!

The North Kona Coast benefits from a unique weather pattern. Shielded by the mighty Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualālai mountains, the area remains largely protected from the usual trade winds. Instead, by afternoon, a gentle wind known as the ‘Kona Sea Breeze’ forms, owing to the area's topography and heating patterns.

HOST Park coastline with monk seal

Marine Environment

The marine environment around Keāhole Point stands out for its unique characteristics, making it a sought-after spot for marine activities and research.

Sea Surface Temperature

Visitors and researchers can expect the sea surface temperature around Keāhole Point to remain relatively stable, generally oscillating within the 24-28°C range. Such consistency is favorable for various marine studies and activities.


Marine currents in the region are driven predominantly by two factors. On one hand, tidal oscillations generate reversing currents, often reaching typical speeds of 3/4 to 1 knot. On the other, large-scale eddies from the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel can momentarily mask these tidal currents, producing even stronger flow rates up to 2 knots.


The Kona coast's wave climate is generally characterized by 2 to 4-foot waves with periods lasting 9 to 15 seconds. However, during the winter or due to specific storms, the waves might surge past their usual height.

Offshore Bathymetry

One of the most striking features of Keāhole Point is its dramatic offshore bathymetry. The coastal region boasts a rocky and steep underwater terrain. Just within a mile from the shore, water depths can plummet to an astounding 2,500 feet. The rapid descent starts from a rocky shoreline that leads to about 15 to 20 feet, followed by a more gradual slope until about 40 to 50 feet. Beyond this, between the depths of 500 and 2,500 feet, the incline sharpens to approximately 30 degrees. Interspersed within this basaltic expanse are passages of white sand, as well as remnants of the 1801 Hualālai lava flow, which can be found in thick beds down to depths of 420 feet. HOST Park leverages this unique bathymetric feature by having cold water pipes tap into the profound depths of 2,000 to 3,000 feet, while warm water pipe intakes are positioned between 30 and 80 feet below sea level. This rare combination of deep and shallow water access in close proximity is a key reason why Keāhole Point was selected for HOST Park, providing an unparalleled opportunity for deep-sea and surface seawater pumping applications.

Blue Ocean Mariculture offshore facilities

Water Quality

The pristine water quality off Keāhole Point was instrumental in establishing the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority (NELHA) at its present location. The high-quality waters in the area are a testament to the advantageous circulation patterns and an almost non-existent presence of major pollutant sources.

Nutrient Layers

The quality of water can be assessed through the concentration of essential plant nutrients, notably forms of nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients are pivotal in determining water quality, primarily because they form significant parts of waste discharge and can foster excessive algal growth given adequate light. Researchers have discerned three distinct nutrient layers in the offshore depth profiles:

  1. Surface Wind-Mixed Layer (up to 150 meters): At this level, nutrient concentrations are uniformly low. The rapid absorption of these nutrients by phytoplankton, which are single-celled algae drifting passively in the water column, is responsible for this consistency.
  2. Intermediate Zone (approximately 150-600 meters): Beyond the reach of sunlight (post 150 meters), nutrient concentrations see a swift rise. This surge results from the absence of algal uptake, the decomposition of organic matter descending from the layers above, and the diffusion from deeper waters.
  3. Deep Waters (below 600 meters): This layer harbors the highest concentration of nutrients, making it rich and vibrant.

Classification and Monitoring

The State Department of Health (DOH) classifies the coastal waters off Keāhole Point under the AA category. Such waters should ideally be as close to their natural pristine state as possible, experiencing minimal alterations in water quality due to human activities or sources. However, the intricate hydrology of this region defies simplistic monitoring. Given the substantial volume of groundwater seepage along the coast coupled with the ever-present wave and current actions, tidal fluctuations, and variations in freshwater inflow, the waters off Keāhole Point present a highly dynamic hydrological regime. Consequently, traditional monitoring techniques fall short. The monitoring program hence employs mixing plot models to capture this variability.

The NELHA Comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Program plays a pivotal role in observing water quality at various coastal stations. Their efforts ensure that the waters around Keāhole Point continue to adhere to the highest quality standards set by the DOH.