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“Hike to monument and snorkel”

The Captain Cook Monument
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Historical Dinner or Lunch Cruise to Kealakekua Bay
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A monument dedicated to Captain James Cook, who discovered the Hawaiian Islands and ended Hawaiian royalty.
Folsom, California
2 reviews
“Hike to monument and snorkel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014

We hiked down to the captain cook's monument as a family with our snorkel gear.

The hike is very strenuous, on the way down and up, especially due to the unkept trail with tall grass everywhere for nearly half the distance. If this is a state park area, I wish the trail would be better maintained as the distance is not that much. Also, a couple of portable toilets would also help.

If you are beginners looking to snorkel, this site has a good reef but you can probably see as much, if not more, fish at the kona coast beaches. You do not need to take a snorkel tour specifically for this.

While we were around, we did see a pod of spinner dolphins in the bay which was wonderful.

Visited July 2014
Thank Adit T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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The Bay Area
Level Contributor
381 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
“Amazing reef”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

We kayaked across the bay, with the spinner dolphins jumping in front of us. This is the site of an ancient alii village where the king used to reside; now no trace remains. The reef portion is amazing - amongst the best I've ever seen, although rather limited in size. Which can be an issue if you are there when the hordes descend down the hill (and which is why the best way to get there is in the early morning, from across the bay).

Cptn Cook was clubbed to death here after having been treated as a divinity. Happens to our celebrities all the time. Enjoy this beautiful place.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank cuckatoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kailua, Hawaii
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Hiking to Captain Cook Memorial and Snorkeling in the Bay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2014

Loved the snorkeling at the site. My second favorite spot on the Big Island, and much better than all the sites on Oahu. The reviews below easily tells you where to go to park and find the start of the trail. I thought the hike was very easy going down and not too bad going back up, which only took me 45 minutes. I would go early, not only because it is cooler, but less snorkelers/traffic in the bay. I got there around 7:30am and I was the first one there. Tour boats started arriving around 9-9:30am. There is shade at the beginning, and by marker #5 you are out in the sunshine until you get back down to the bottom. You don't have to snorkeling deep at all, some of the corral shelf is soooo shallow. Tons of fish. Unfortunately, I didn't see any turtles or dolphins. Here is a link to a video I made of the hike and snorkeling adventure. Enjoy, worth it.

Visited June 2014
3 Thank SFRangerAV8R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
73 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Kayak tour and snorkeling to monument”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2014

We took a kayak tour to the monument and snorkeled when we arrived. Area is calm to easily kayak and the reef was large and full of many fish varieties.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Ronrp56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Captain Cook, Hawaii
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 May 2014

Friday May 23, 2014

The trail access (the long and arduous one down to the Cook Monument) is something to do if you have excess of abundant youthful energy for a rough walk/slide down and a more unpleasant return to your vehicle, guaranteed to be hot and sweaty –and exhausting if you were in the bay swimming. For some who like "roughing it", this is "exciting".

For those who have only a limited frame of reference, seeing some fish and coral in water with 20 foot visibility is a "high point'. This is like someone who lives in a land-locked big city, and goes to the ocean for the first time and likes it. They are not likely to have any frame of reference as to the condition to the marine environment.

The shorter alternate path to K-Bay is similarly "rough" only steeper, around and through various private property --the most direct walk down from Napoopoo Rd. And very steep upon return.

For those who are unaware, there are shoreline access point along Kealakekua Bay, some easier and safer than others – and of course very very little parking for cars which is deliberate of course, otherwise this (ostensibly residential) area would be overrun like Coney Island.

Two days ago the Bay was relatively calm, two pods of dolphins mostly all day (unusual) and from noon on -- no boats and no crowd of kayakers and SUP'ers (stand up paddle boarders). The water visibility was between 30 to 40 ft on average (I usually cover 2 to 3 miles during my swims as I criss-cross the bay). Only 2 kayakers, one SUP person, and the usual snorkel boat at its designated north shore mooring. And few to no no stinging polyps or baby jellyfish, etc. (Even better!)

Yesterday, the "word got out" and there were over 15 kayakers and SUP'ers that filled the general area of the bay where the dolphins like to be on the surface. That drove the dolphins toward the entry of the bay and the increase in motor craft "finished the job" and the dolphins left.

There are too few places for dolphins to rest and feed, etc. This group of about two dozen dolphins – a little larger than some pods –perhaps the combination of two pods by now -- had no babies with them only a few young adults/“teenagers”. One of the older ones had an unusual growth all long the side of its rostrum (mouth/jaw). Not a good sign. Such things are very rare to see.

The bay catches much of wind-current driven ocean “bio matter” and does not “flush out” quickly as the changes in the tidal water level around Hawaii is not very large and this side of Big Island does not get ocean waves. This tends to concentrate marine organisms that tend to flourish in poorer quality ocean water and ground and sub-marine water runoff from agriculture, roads, septic/cesspools, etc. adds to the contamination.

Soon we will be moving to the north point of Big Island. It has been interesting to see the differences here from what we knew 20+ years ago. The Bay does NOT feature 100ft visibility, the coral reef life is not what it was 20 years ago and the overall water health-quality ranges from “average” (which is not really that great these days) to marginal. It is exceptional to have clear water to 40 feet or more, and it is exceptional not to have mini clouds of stinging organisms everywhere along with an excess decaying biomatter in the surface layers.

Unless you are strong and athletic to hike up and down the steep dirty/stone pathways, or a very good swimmer to go a half to one mile from shore (each way), dolphin swims at K-Bay are mostly a Quixotic like myth.

It would do the marine environment, the tourists, and the dolphins a great service if the (mostly absentee) property owners who control the crowded residential pockets above and around K-Bay would cease promoting dolphin swims, “magical-like” healing cures, alien encounters, and all the rest of this to justify charging exorbitant rental rates for what is more a matter of “civilized camping” for urban tourists.

The ocean are dying and this is directly linked with the conditions off shore as well as on island throughout these islands.



The "Captain Cook" mythology is purely that. It was yet one more step to the abyss by an already corrupted culture of "invaders" from Polynesia. And one more step for the spread of western economic-political control . Wonder what the local did after they carefully removed the flesh form his bones for "preservation".

Visited May 2014
5 Thank AKochkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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