Fair Wind Big Island Kealakekua Snorkel Cruise review

Note: The Big Island is tourism-ready and Fair Wind is open for business after Hawaii’s recent lava flows.

Snorkeling on the west coast of Hawaii (the Big Island) is always a hit due to the incredibly clear water on the dry side of the island, and there’s nowhere better than Kealakekua Bay. This calm, sheltered bay is the home of the Captain Cook Monument and is well known for its clear water, pods of dolphins, and the multitude of fish. However, it’s hard to get here on your own!

Fair Wind Big Island Kealakekua Snorkel Cruise review:

Visitors can hike into the Captain Cook Monument (a four mile round trip hike, often hot and exposed), kayak across the bay (with the proper permits only; keep in mind that you are not permitted to dock your kayak at the monument, so you’ll have to have it attached to you while you snorkel), or join a boat tour such as the Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides. We chose the latter, and couldn’t have been happier with our choice!

Upon arrival at the Fair Wind offices in Keauhou Bay, we were fitted for masks and snorkels (fins were supplied on the boat) and provided with plenty of reef-safe sunscreen. If you don’t have your own, don’t worry—there was plenty available on the boat before, during, and after snorkeling. Once on board, we had a continental breakfast of muffins, quiche, fruit, and coffee while we cruised toward Kealakekua Bay. We even had a pod of spinner dolphins escort us around the point and into the bay! After a brief safety talk with info on where and where not to snorkel, we headed into the water for two and a half hours. Of course, because we had kids in our group (7 and 9 years old), they couldn’t resist trying out some of the other entertainment options on board. The Fair Winds II has two slides off the back of the boat that send the rider flying about 6 feet above the water. Needless to say, this was a big hit! There’s also a high dive off the top deck (my favorite!). Because we had so much time to spend in the bay, we found that we had plenty of time to enjoy the slides and high-dive without feeling like we were missing out on snorkeling.

Lunch was served near the end of the snorkel time, and gave us a chance to come in from the water for a little break. I found that one of the best things about having breakfast and lunch included was that we didn’t have to worry about lugging a cooler, sandwiches, etc. onto the boat and were able to pack light and enjoy the ride.

We had a great time on the Morning Kealakekua Snorkel and BBQ Cruise with Fair Wind; I would even say that no trip to the Big Island is complete without a snorkel experience in Kealakekua Bay.


The morning cruise (2.5 hours snorkel time, plus breakfast and lunch): $149/adult; $89/child, + taxes and fees

For a less expensive option, consider the afternoon cruise to Kealakekua Bay (1.5 hours snorkel time, snacks only, same boat as the morning cruise): $89/adult; $49/child + taxes and fees

Disclosure: we experienced this snorkel cruise at a discounted media rate, for the purpose of review.

About the author

Kate Lepore AUTHOR: Kate Lepore is Pit Stops for Kids' east coast editor and a mother of two preschool-aged children. Kate makes her home in Western Massachusetts when not traveling. Find Kate at Google.



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