We had an absolute blast kayaking across the bay to the captain cook monument and back. Once we got to the other side, the snorkeling was very good - though be careful getting in and out of the water - the rocks are slick with many sea urchins. You MUST wear reef shoes or watershoes, etc. Also, be sure to lift your kayak in and out - no sliding on the rough volcanic rocks as it scrapes the kayak and leaves plastic in the water which is bad for the fish and reef. There were quite a few tour boats there, but it did not detract from our snorkeling.
For me, the highlight of the whole trip though was the dolphins. They rest in the bay during the day and circle around. Now please don't be one of the clod tourists and go off chasing the dolphins in your kayak...for one, they are 5 times faster than you and you won't succeed and secondly its considered harrassment of them. Heres what we did... we went out in to an area near where they seemed to circle (in big circles) and just jumped in off our kayak....there wasnt a dolphin within a 100' at that point... and then we just waited patiently and eventually they circle around and come back around you, under you, etc. I could have floated out there for hours just watching them swim every so often. We got some great pics with our underwater camera. You can also just float out there in your kayak - they will occassionally jump and flip out of the water, putting on quite a show. Many times they did it right near someones kayak... it was truly an amazing experience!
I had to think to myself that people spend two or three hundred bucks at dolphin encounters to swim with a captured trained dolphin. I think being in the bay around wild ones was way more thrilling personally - and it only cost me $25.
As far as renting kayaks, there were guys renting them right there at the end of napoopoo road for $25 a person. I don't know who they were - locals for sure, but it was very convenient and they had everything you needed (life jackets, drybags, etc). I know theres a lot of discussion about using kona boys as they are the official company allowed to rent in the bay - but I can't imagine having to deal with loading kayaks on your car when you can just park at the launch point and get one right there.
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