You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to enjoy the waters of Hawaii. I’m not a brilliant swimmer, I am more of a floater, but when the opportunity comes up to go snorkeling in Hawaii I jump at the chance. Located just a short five-minute walk from the Sheraton Kona is Fair Winds Cruises. They’ve been guiding adventurers like me to some of the best snorkel locations the Big Island has to offer for over 40 years. A morning spent sailing on a 50 ft Catamaran, swimming with the fishes and then a BBQ lunch as we sail back to Kona. What could be better than this day spent in paradise?
Hawaii boasts some of the best snorkel and diving locations in the world. Diving may take some skill and lessons before you are certified, but anyone can snorkel. All you need is a pair of flippers, goggles and a breathing tube called a snorkel and you are set.
I’ve signed myself up for the Morning Snorkel Cruise & BBQ. Registration and check it starts at 9am sharp with boarding of the Fair Wind II at 9:30. Before we board we get a quick safety talk and an invitation to sign up for the optional SNUBA dive. I decline the SNUBA option as I am quite content to just float along and enjoy a snorkel.
We are now ready to board. It is a one hour sail to Kealakekua Bay where we will anchor for our snorkel. The Bay is an underwater state park, marine sanctuary and site of the Captain Cook Monument and rumoured to be the best snorkeling destination in all of Hawaii. I can’t wait. A cup of Kona coffee and some fresh fruit while we sail and of course just a wee bit of excitement as I want to get in the water.
Once we arrive at Kealakekua Bay it takes just a few minutes for the crew to anchor us and get us ready for the water. We’ve already been outfitted with our gear on the way here so now all we have to do is get in the water.
I must have swam for at least an hour or more. I could hardly take my eyes off the colourful corals and amazing varieties of fishes that swam under and by me. These shorts were captured of me by Abbey Koshak of The Love Waters. If you are like me and don’t have an underwater camera then you’ll be thankful Abbey was there. She is independent of Fair Wind, but joins the cruises and takes photos and videos of you that you can purchase afterwards. She is also a shark whisperer because she spotted a Reef Shark lying camouflaged on the sandy seafloor. That was very cool to see in real life.
After snorkel time, it is lunch time. While we swam and snorkeled the crew that wasn’t with us as our “lifeguards” were busy preparing our BBQ lunch. Burgers, Maui Chips and pasta salad, just what I needed after all that snorkeling.
After lunch, it is time to get back in the water. Some SNUBA, some snorkel and some of us jump off the top deck. WEEEEEEE!
It is time to return to Keauhou Bay, but man that was a fun morning.
We arrive safe, sound and with just a bit more Vitamin D than we left. Remember to apply sunscreen, especially to your back as it is exposed when you snorkel. What a great day! Thanks to Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides, her crew and to Abbey Koshak of The Love Waters.
Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Cruises has been around for over 40 years and it shows. They are a well-run company and our 4.5-hour adventure was exactly as advertised. The snorkel location was pristine and the crew were knowledgeable and helpful. You don't need breakfast or lunch as both are included. Perfect for all ages and if you don't have an underwater camera not to worry, you can purchase shots taken by one of the crew underwater.
Value for $8
Crew Service and Knowledge8.5
Good for all ages10
Would I go back?10