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“A unique experience”

Captain Gene's Lava Boat Tours
Ranked #5 of 13 Tours in Pahoa
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
68 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“A unique experience”
Reviewed 21 September 2013

Captain Gene and his team are very professional and customer oriented. They run his little business with flexibitity and honesty. I fully recommend them.

They are the only ones that take you to the lava flow entry point in Saturdays. For us, it was the only option and I truly appreciate them willing to take us. It was great because their two boats were the only boats that there which gave us a fantastic and unique experience. It was luxury!! The pictures are amazing. You are there on your own, without the awful crowds spoiling the view and the awe...

They never take money in advance because they are subject to the weather conditions... If it is not safe, they cancel and organise another day for you if possible. They only charge you after the ride, they don't even take a deposit, to avoid you any hassle. They also took the trouble to notify us when the had got enough people in the trip so we knew that, apart from the weather, we had confirmation of going. You don't go from Spain to Hawaii that often so that gave us the opportunity to react and look for alternatives in advance, which I truly appreciated.

They are the only ones that stay there for as long as 40 minutes when the other companies don't go further than 20 and believe me, after having to endure a bumpy ocean for one hour each way, it is good to maximise the time there...

It is true that the ocean is rough. And you can feel sick. But it is like that, all boats are the same... Think of the unique experience and decide. But you cannot blame the company that takes you there. I used a trick that always work: keep your sight on the shore. Your brain needs a fixed reference to stabilise and not get dizzy. Don't look at the sea or the boat because you may end up throwing up!! :-)
It's also true that you can get wet. Just bring a raincoat and shorts. You may get a few splashes but it is not that terrible.
Believe me, it is not that bad and the experience is amazing... How often can you be so close to live lava??

Another good point is that they take you around sunset (leaving at 5 intead of 6 when the sun goes down at 7, considering it takes an hour to get there. Most companies sunset tour leave at 6) so you don't come back in the absolute darkness, which I have been told it can be terrifying.

Isaac Hale beach in Pohoiki Bay, were the boats depart from, is a charming place where locals go to spend the day with their families and surf. It has a lot of flavour and I would recommend going for s stroll before launching. There are public restrooms there which is convenient before a three hour trip in a boat.

Visited August 2013
13 Thank xenale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
100 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Excellent Communication throughout”
Reviewed 18 September 2013

What impressed me was - I was due to go on a dawn Lava boat triip - specifically to do some photography of the lava entering the sea.

These were professional enough to email me to tell me that the lava had stopped and what did I want to do. Other boats companies were still taking people out under the pretext of lava into the sea.

How professional and how honest were they........would use them again and again and again when the opportunity arises.

Pity it didnt happen this time ......but big and I mean a big thank you to captain Star for his customer service

Visited September 2013
13 Thank Jaktam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Gene makes the trip fabulous”
Reviewed 23 August 2013 via mobile

We had a group of 6 and did the 5 am ride. We got in the boat in the lot and drove us to the water we went with a full moon. Great ride out to the lava flows. Amazing. Where else can you see this. Then the sun rose and it to was beautiful. Gene and his crewmen are experienced and longtime boaters. The boat seats 7. Great choice. I highly recommend them. You won't be disappointed

Visited August 2013
4 Thank Loryfinno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“great way to get close to the lava”
Reviewed 16 August 2013

Aug 4, 2013 - it was an early morning, but we were fortunate because the skies were clear and the water was pretty calm. Capt. Gene got us on the boat quickly, and we were off. He wasn't very talkative, but his first mate spoke with us on the ride out about what we were seeing on the coast. He was interesting and informative. The lava was flowing pretty well, and we were able to stay for a good amount of time. I was impressed with Capt. Gene's ability to keep us close to the lava without crashing us on the rocks. At no time did we worry about our safety, but we did marvel at the lava flowing out into the water. The steam was amazing, too. On the way back we saw several flying fish - also amazing. We would have enjoyed hearing more about the area on the way back, but I must admit that we were pretty quiet ourselves. We'd seen surface flow on a previous trip, and this was an interesting and beautiful way to see it again. We got some really nice pics.

Visited August 2013
5 Thank P H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“An incredible experience”
Reviewed 8 August 2013

This was a truly incredible experience, and Captain Gene and his one-man crew made it even better. The price was reasonable compared to competitors and a better value than we could have imagined based on what we actually experienced. We set out before dawn, just me, my wife, and our two kids (12 and 8). The boat could take two or three more. The stars were magnificent until the sun began to rise (sunrise in the middle of the Pacific is a treat in itself). My wife spotted a flying fish sailing above the water next to the boat. Later we saw another--I couldn't believe the sight as it sailed along next to us for what might have been 4 or 5 seconds. I didn't catch the first mate's name, but he told us about the various lava flows and features along the shore, including hikes we could do and places we could see. We were worried that the lava flow would be small and unimpressive, but we were wrong to worry. There were six major (say footwide?) flows and several other smaller ones. You see the tip of the earth's forge. Unbelievable. And Gene took us in close, seemed like less than a boat length away at points, maneuvering around to maximize viewing but staying safely away from the fumes and the explosions of lava rock generated by big waves. The crew indulged us by taking a lot of family pictures. We stayed twice as long as the boat that arrived after us. We headed back closer to the coast and saw that second flying fish I mentioned, and as we were approaching the harbor, we saw a pod of spinner dolphins. Gene stopped and let the dolphins swim to us. They swam around us and a few put on a show, splashing the water with their tails. All in all, not a bad way to start your day.

Visited August 2013
4 Thank MDL828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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