A short summary of the snorkel excursion to Kealakekua Bay: unique seascape, beautiful fish, and great service.
The drive to get to the port where the Fairwind docks is not too long from the Hilton. There is a free parking lot a minute walk away. Unfortunately, our adventures began before the excursion even started. When we arrived at check-in, we learned that the ship was having mechanical issues and that everyone was being re-booked for alternate days, or leaving slightly later in the day on a smaller ship. The crew was very courteous during the whole process. Then miraculously, after half of the patrons left, the ship was suddenly fixed, and the original tour was back on, albeit delayed by half an hour. This was unfortunate for those who left, but it meant the rest of us had a lot more space to roam around the boat.
The journey to the Captain Cook monument is just long enough to take in the beautiful coastal scenery. Once you arrive, you’ll hear about the history of the island and how Captain Cook was killed nearby due to tensions with the native populations. You’ll also get warnings about not getting venturing out of the water onto land, not touching any corals (which will subsequently die), and staying away from some of the spiky sea dwellers that could cause you a lot of pain. Then, you’re off into the water! Be warned that there are a lot of hot and cold currents that mix there and, aside from giving you jolts of cold once in a while, they create a lot of fuzziness and cloudiness that affect the water clarity. When the currents pass, however, the waters are crystal clear. There are so many colorful fish in the coral reef near the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay (Kona, Hawaii). One of the most beautiful snorkeling sites in the world.
There are so many different schools of fish there. We found huge schools of surgeonfish and yellow tangs. You won’t find it difficult to find and swim with them.
The coral reef itself is also very beautiful. There is a huge drop-off where the floor goes from a few feet to hundreds of feet in a very short distance. Parts of the movie Finding Nemo were inspired by this seascape (mainly the large drop-off).
Amongst the many beautiful fish, you will see lots of parrotfish. We mostly saw rainbow parrotfish, but there were other species there as well.
We had a couple of extra treats on the snorkeling excursion: we saw a really big bluefin trevally that continuously patrolled the shallows, and we also so a big octopus change colors a few times as it tried to camouflage itself in the coral reef.
The stop at the bay is long enough to leave you exhausted and hungry after the swim. Fortunately, the crew provides delicious food. They grilled great burgers and even had homemade pickles. The service on excursions on the Big Island is definitely much better than what we experience during Caribbean excursions; more specifically, a lot more attention to detail and much better food (with vegetarian options).
In short, if you enjoy snorkeling and seeing fish, this excursion is an absolute must. One of the top 5 snorkeling sites we’ve been to around the world. The seascape, and the variety and quantity of fish will definitely leave you feeling satisfied as you return to your hotel to rest after a full morning of swimming.