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Snorkel sites

Illinois
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Snorkel sites

Are Kealakekua Bay near Captain Cook monument and Kahaluu beach the two best snorkeling sites on the Big Island?

Gilbert
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1. Re: Snorkel sites

Yep. Captain Cook is probably THE BEST snorkling we've found to the three Hawaiian islands we've been to. The visibility is incredible, and not only will you see tons of fish, we saw one of the biggest eel I've ever seen (we also SCUBA dive - but heck, I don't think I've even seen one that big at Sea World!). Pretty cool stuff. There are often spinner dolphins in the bay as well.

Kahaluu is also good, and we also were treated to whales jumping in the distance at this site.

Palm Springs...
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2. Re: Snorkel sites

Aloha

Just south of Captain Cook is the city of Refuge and some of the best snorkeling at 2- step beach its in a national park site.

But Captain cook is the best in all Hawaii.....but wou need a boat to get there.

Saugatuck, Michigan
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3. Re: Snorkel sites

I highly recommend the Four Winds snorkel cruise which leaves daily from Keaohou Bay and heads down to Captain Cook/Kealakekua Bay. The morning cruise is preferable and includes breakfast, barbeque lunch and 2 1/2 hours of snorkel time. They inlcude all the gear, provide instructions if needed and also offer scuba for an added charge. This company has a morning spot in the bay adjacent to the Cook Monument. The water is crystal clear and the amount of fish and marine life is amazing in this bay. This is one of the best snorkel experiences in Hawaii and rivals some of the snorkeling I have done in the Carribean.

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Snorkel sites

Has anyone ever kayaked across the bay to Captain Cook monument area? I seem to remember reading that this is possible. I would appreciate any information about this: i.e. where to rent kayaks, best place to launch from, paddling distance to monument, etc.

Thanks!

Anchorage, Alaska
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5. Re: Snorkel sites

My family and I are going to Kona this summer and I have been doing tons of internet research. There are several companies that offer kayak trips to Captain Cook monument, if you type in Big Island of Hawaii in your search engine, or Big Island of Hawaii Activities, there are lots of good companies. Here is an example of a company that we have used. hawaiiactive.com/bigisland/htmls/category/ca… We have been to Kona before, and love it. We bought a timeshare and are going for 2 weeks from Alaska and I can't wait. I bought some good books on Hawaii travel (Snorkel Hawaii is reallygood) from EBay and Amazon (used books). Have fun, I know you will!!!

Keno, OR
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6. Re: Snorkel sites

We have rented a kayak and gone across the bay to the Captain Cook monument on two different occasions. We rented from Adventures in Paradise the last time, and would recomend them (they are up on the highway, near the town of Captain Cook). We rented a double kayak for an entire day for about $45. The man at the rental shop provided excellent life vests, had a cooler available for us, and loaded the kayak on the car for us (they provide the padding and straps so your rental car is o.k.). We had no difficulty getting the kayak off the car at the parking lot--it is a slow drive down there because the paved road is a narrow two lane and quite curvy, but not a big deal. The trip across the bay is about a mile, and took us about 1/2 hour. We were treated to close up encounters with a large pod of spinner dolphins on our trip back from the monument--when they surface and jump right next to the kayak it is quite exciting! Be careful about taking along enough water and snacks--there are no facilities (including no toilets) at the monument. Also, being protected from the sun was an issue for us--we got a pretty bad burn the first time we went because we were in the water for about 4 hours and our sunscreen wasn't adequate. The second trip we wore SPF 50 clothing and coated our exposed skin with SPF 50 sunscreen--don't forget your ears!--and we were fine. We are only minimally experienced in snorkeling, but had a wonderful and easy time of it at Captain Cook--it is an exquisite spot. (The kayaking was our first experience with ocean kayaking, and it was very easy and fun both times--we had only canoed before). Kahalu'u is a wonderful place to see green sea turtles, it has full facilities at the park, including a life guard and showers, and is very shallow and easy to snorkel in. Two Step at the Place of Refuge is just that--two flat volcanic rock "steps" that you can walk right into the ocean from, however, it is deep there right away. One of the men snorkeling near us had lots of difficulty, swallowed alot of water and had to be towed to shore by his family members. I wouldn't try snorkeling there unless I had some experience and was a good swimmer, and was comfortable being in water over my head the whole time. The Place of Refuge is off limits for snorkeling, so you have to stay near Two Step and not wander over into the Refuge area. We loved it though. No facilities right near Two Step except for porta potties. Be sure to take lots of underwater cameras/film--you will not have enough film, believe me, so take lots more than you think you'll need--the water clarity at Captain Cook makes that an especially cool place to take pictures. (We heard a whale while we were snorkeling there the first time--that is such a neat thing to listen to while you're swimming around!). Enjoy your trip!

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Snorkel sites

Thank you, Polar Bear and Oregon for those informative posts! We are not experienced kayakers or snorkelers either (though we've done both), so your tips (right down to remembering sunscreen) are so helpful! I got the worst burn of my life just a couple of years ago on a boat snorkeling excursion to Fort Jefferson off the coast of Key West. I think I applied SPF 8 or something stupid, and I don't think I reapplied all day, even after being in the water. I was red as a lobster and in excruciating pain for days. Dumb, dumb, dumb. So I will be heeding your warnings!

Kayaking across Kealakekua Bay and snorkeling at the monument sounds like a great way to spend the better part of a day. Can't wait!

Keno, OR
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8. Re: Snorkel sites

Probably the most embarassing part of getting a "snorkeler's burn" is that only one side of you is burned, and there is actually a line down the side of your legs where the water line was--some woman at the Painted Church (a beautiful place to stop and visit while on the Big Island, near Captain Cook) said to me: "that's the wierdest sunburn I've ever seen--what'd you do--forget to turn over?". (However, we weren't the only ones out there with half white, half red legs...it's a sympathetic fraternity--you're all in the Solarcaine and aloe aisle at the drugstore together). Don't worry about not being that experienced in snorkeling or kayaking--we hadn't done either before our first trip to Hawaii, visited the Captain Cook monument on about our 4th or 5th snorkel outing, and it was fine. There were people with more experience, and some with much less, out there with us, and everybody seemed to be having a fine time. The cool thing about kayaking over in the early morning (we got in the kayak about 8:30) was that there were only a couple of other kayaks there to begin with, and we had the place almost to ourselves--pretty neat! Have a great time, and try all of the different flavors of macadamia nuts--we loved the wasabi nuts, and also the chocolate with cayenne pepper covered nuts (the latter are called Donkey Balls and are sold in a small store near Captain Cook on the highway, with a rather obscene name, but yummy flavored mac nuts).

Philadelphia...
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611 posts
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9. Re: Snorkel sites

Thanks again for the great info. Will the rental place give us directions on where to go to launch the kayak for the trip across?

Keno, OR
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10. Re: Snorkel sites

Yes. You just drive down the road to Kealakekua Bay and there is a small parking lot at the bottom. It's all well marked, but the rental place has a map as well. There is a spot on the south side of the parking lot where everyone drops their kayaks in--pretty easy to do--the first time someone helped us, but our second trip we did it all by ourselves. Usually someone else is getting set up at the same time, and you can all help each other. When we came back, there was a college aged guy hanging out at the boat launch--his part-time job, I think--and he pulled the kayak out for us and put it on our car singlehanded! We tipped him $5 and everyone was happy. If you put your kayak on your car yourself, be sure to tie it on right--I was doing it backward and our "helper" at the parking lot said that would be really hard to untie, so he showed me the right way--the guy at the rental place showed us too, but I must not have been paying enough attention. The whole process was a lot easier than I though it would be--I remember thinking "It can't be this simple!", but it is. Enjoy!