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hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

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hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

I figured since you warned me off of captain beans' I'd ask you about the snorkeling (one of the the top three of why I come to the islands) My husband is pretty proficient at canoes and kayaks.I've done it only twice,and not in the ocean. He puts me in front on a two man and pretty much does all the work! We've done an excursion to Molokini and it was so crowded,big boats,many people in the water.

Should we spring for an excursion or just rent a kayak and go?

Kohala Kayak Club
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Hawai'i Surf and Kayak
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Anelakai Adventures
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1. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

Aloha,

That is a tough question as I dont know your water skills and experience.

Also how many will be with you.

I will assume for safety sake that you are a beginner and know the minimum about Hawaiian waters. First is your safety and second is the safety of the bay.

I like captian Zodiac that leaves Keahou bay. Thy are small and they take you to a ton of other places as well. Fairwinds is a bigger boat and offers more space and comfort but sees less.

Fairwinds has a water slide for fun.

I suggest this for you first time and then think about Kayaks.

This may sound stupid but you should wear 3 things other than your Mask/snorkel. 1. A t-shirt to avoid burns, 2. A BC vest for flotation 3. Thin rubber dive gloves so anything you touch wont hurt you or you it. Touching coral kills it.

You might consider a dive light mounted on your wrist. Red color cant be seen below 5 ft. Your light will show you all sorts of colors you might miss.....

I went out last week to Capt. Cook and the water was 78.3F

It warms to 85 in Sept. The bay is very deep in the center

130 ft but along the shore are 8-15 ft sections. The warm water will allow you do easy 15 to 25 foot free dives in the 100 ft visability. This is better than anywhere in Hawaii . None comes close

After that experience go to 2-step beach at city of Refuge Natl Park. It is called 2-step cause' you take 2 steps to get to the deep. Ask localy at the dive shop ot with the rangers.

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Hawaii
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2. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

People seem to have good things to say about the excursion boats, and it sounds like they have some nice amenities. We have been to the Big Island twice, and only went out on a night dive/snorkel with a dive company (Captain Jack's out of Kona who we very highly recommend--go with Kellar Laros if you go, he's amazing)--we were hoping to see manta rays on that trip and did we ever! It was incredible! Well worth the $85 per person--a real once in a lifetime experience, and snorkeling in the dark with only some lights on the floor of the ocean and everyone's diving lights is just too cool to describe adequately.

We really love snorkeling on the Big Island--the Captain Cook Monument is fabulous and we have rented kayaks both times. It is pretty easy--we rented a double from Adventures in Paradise in Captain Cook (right along the highway) last time, and were very impressed. The man at the shop put the kayak on our rental car for us (they provide strapping and foam pads to protect the car), fitted us with great life vests, provided a cooler, etc. and it was about $45 for the entire day. (We did reserve the night before). We have always snorkeled there in the morning, and like the freedom of being able to stay as long as we want--we generally are there for 4-5 hours. I loved the experience of kayaking across the bay, even though we had previously just canoed on lakes and rivers--it was very easy going both of our trips, not heavy waves at all--about a 1 mile trek and only about 20-30 minutes. Last time, we were surrounded by spinner dolphins and they played in the water around our kayak for about 20 minutes--it was fun to be able to just sit and watch as long as we wanted. Remember to take plenty of water and snacks--there are no facilities/food/bathrooms at the Monument, so that is a consideration for some. It is a gorgeous place to snorkel, and the water clarity is incredible. Whales are often in the area, so listen for them--so much fun to listen to their conversations while snorkeling, which we were able to do on our first visit. The advice about the diving gloves and sun protection is very important--we wore SPF 50 rash guard tops and bottoms on our second trip and didn't have the nasty sunburn experience of the first trip (SPF 30 sunscreen applied only twice in 5 hours is not enough! Take my word for it!)

Two Step at the Place of Refuge is another fun place to snorkel--no shallow areas there though, so I wouldn't want to be doing my first snorkeling there. There are, however, green sea turtles...Have a fun time and enjoy the Big Island--so far it's our favorite spot on Earth!.

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Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
The Captain Cook Monument
The Captain Cook Monument
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Captain Cook
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3. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

I know some might disagree with me, but here's our experience:

We rented kayaks from Kona Boys, who helped us load them on our SUV's and gave us detailed directions on where to go, etc. There were a few 'locals' at the place you put your kayaks in the water, and for a few bucks they will help you unload your kayaks, get everything situated, and get into the water. They'll help you out when you return, also. That made things so much easier!!

As for kayaking to Captain Cook - my husband and I are both very athletic, and we are certified Scuba divers. We absolutely loved the snorkling at Captain Cook and are convinced it's the best visibility we've had snorkling OR diving at the 3 Hawaiian islands we've been to. That being said - we didn't like the kayak trip. Although he was in back and did most of the work, it just seemed like so much effort just to cross the 1 mile Bay to get to the monument! After snorkling for an hour or so we were a little tired and looking across at the 1 mile trip back was a bit deflating.

We watched a snorkling boat pull up with all the riders just lounging on deck. They were getting in & out of the water at their leisure, eating a lunch provided by the boat, and had all their gear provided to them. No paddling 1 mile each way, no hassling with the loading & unloading of all their gear & kayak equipment, and I verified later that the boat tours cost the same price as the kayak rental!

We can say we did it, but next time I'd do a boat tour (but we will DEFINITELY go to Captain Cook again and again!)

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Kona Boys
Kona Boys
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Captain Cook
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4. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

I am going to respectfully disagree about the kayaking vs. excursion boats, although since we haven't taken an excursion boat, this opinion is just based on our kayaking experiences. I am not terribly athletic, and did find the kayaking a little tiring at times--I just stopped paddling and rested, and enjoyed the physicality of it. It was much less expensive than the excursions when we priced them--the $45 for the double kayak for the whole day was very reasonable. We did see the excursion boats enter the bay, with people lounging around on them--they always showed up after we'd been there an hour or so, and left long before we left---I wouldn't like having to leave before I was ready, because that place is just so amazing to spend time in. We didn't find the trip back across the bay any more tiring than the trip over, especially since on our last trip we were surrounded by spinner dolphins. Sitting in a kayak at water level, and having a pod of dolphins surface within a couple of feet of me is an experience I will never forget. Since I am 47 and my husband is 51, we felt so proud of ourselves that we just jumped in the kayak and took off across the bay without much anxiety--maybe not a big deal to others, but I felt pretty adventuresome! Having said all that--and I don't mean to be argumentative with the previous poster--whichever choice you make will get you to one of the most fabulous places to snorkel on Earth--you are sure to enjoy it!

Gilbert
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5. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

yeah, I don't mean to be a nay-sayer. A friend of ours did a kayak trip a month before we were there and loved it. Everyone is different. We thought we'd love it as we are pretty adventurous - but it just wasn't as fun as we thought it would be. I'm ONLY referring to the kayak part, though. The snorkling is incredible!!

No matter what you do, I'm sure you'll have a good time! Be sure to take an underwater (disposable) camera & water to drink.

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6. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

When kayaking in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico, a few years back, we were fortunate enough to have a pod of dolphins surround us and then dive right underneath our kayaks. They were so close we heard their clicks. Maybe they were talking to us? It was awesome!!! We paddled along with them at a little distance for a while until they finally disappeared into the horizon. I am hoping to meet up with the spinner dolphins while kayaking across Kealakekua Bay. To me, that would be as cool as, if not cooler than, the snorkeling.

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Kealakekua Bay
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7. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

The man who rented us our kayak from Adventures in Paradise said the dolphin appearances are about a 1 in 3 likelihood--since we saw them on our second trip to Captain Cook monument, we felt fortunate indeed. (Even though dolphins didn't appear on our first trip across the bay, there was a whale out past the breakwater. It was quite a paddle out there, and the ocean is rougher in that area, so we stayed closer to shore and just went across the bay to the monument. Some kayakers went out to be closer to the whale). We later heard at least one whale, while snorkeling, and she?he? was pretty vocal for about 15 minutes--I loved just drifting around watching the fish (and eels!) and listening to that whale. Keep your eyes and ears on alert--we hope you hit the jackpot and get both experiences in one trip!

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The Captain Cook Monument
The Captain Cook Monument
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Palm Springs...
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8. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

aloha all

The paddle across the bay is like going to Las Vegas. Some win some lose. When the winds shift and a low presure shear -line develops and a tide differential exist on your transit time, then it can be more fun than you bargened for.

Learn the waters and be safe....yah it costs more but having been on a boat with a USCG captqin, you can drink in the experience ratrher than sweating the possibilities.......

Stuff happens in that calm looking ocean.. and the sea is not too forgiving of mistakes made on her. You ge t 2 chances slim and none. Dont underestimate the sea or over estimate yourself. If you have a YEAR OF OCEAN kAYAK experience then you are ready. Dont assume .

King neptune don't give pardons..........

Hawaii Dan

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9. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

Hawaii Dan, have you personally had a bad experience or gotten injured while kayaking in Hawaii? Just curious...you really sound like you're warning us against it.

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10. Re: hawaii dan,(or others) this is about snorkel excursions vs...

I'm w/Dan whether he's had a bad experience or not. There are news stories here, seems almost weekly, about a tourist getting in trouble on/in the water. A scuba diver died here this week.

I think many underestimate the waters here. And, tourist don't hear all the stories since they don't make national news. I'd listen to Dan. He lives there. He knows more about what's going on.