Kealakekua Bay Snorkeling
Kealakekua Bay is located on the west coast of the Big Island, and is just south of Kailua-Kona, roughly 12 miles. It is known to be one of the best snorkeling spots on the Island. On the opposite side of the bay stands the Captain Cook monument. The history behind the monument is that Captain Cook and his crew laded in the Kealakekua Bay in 1779 and were welcomed by the native Hawaiians. However, soon after he died in a conflict that began between the natives and his crew. The monument is surrounded by the most abundant sea life on the entire island. There are three ways to get to the bay. You can park you car in one of the free parking lots located near the bay and swim, you can rent a kayak from one of the many men that linger in the parking lots, or you can hike.
When I drove into the parking lot instantly a man wearing a bathing suit and playing a ukalele approached me. I had heard that some of the men were pretty aggressive in heckling you to rent kayaks. I was truly more interested in the hike to the other side of the bay, but the guy renting the the kayaks was extremely informative and helpful whether I chose to rent from him or not. He said the hike would take roughly 45 min there and 1 hour back. The big sell was that there were spinner dolphins playing around in the bay. I rented a kayak, a dry bag for my belongings, a life vest, and a paddle for $20. He helped me get in an out of the water.
I dropped into the water and it took me about 30 min to get across the bay at a casual pace. Along the way the dolphins played around in the water and swam next to me as I paddled by. Some people jumped into the water to snorkel with the dolphins. I regret not doing so. The water was quite choppy, and when I pulled up to the reef it was very difficult to tie the kayak to any of the trees that bordered the coastline. Because this island is the newest of the Hawaiian islands, coral reefs aren't as abundant as they are on some of the others. This is the only location I experienced unique colorful coral and a large variety of marine life.
I snorkeled for roughly an hour, and then climbed up on the captain cook monument and hung around for a little while. There were multiple excursion companies there with tourists. The water was not overly crowded, but the high season is most likely twice as busy. The ride back was just as good as the ride there, and the guy I rented from was waiting by the dock to help me out of the water. I highly recommend renting a kayak , and swimming with the dolphins!