About

captain cook monument with swimmers on a sunny day

Kealakekua Bay & Captain Cook Monument

Our featured snorkeling destination is the historic and beautiful Kealakekua Bay! This is one of the best snorekeling spots in all the Hawaiian islands, due to protected, calm, clear, and warm 80 degree waters. Snorkeling above beautiful coral gardens and colorful tropical fish – It’s a relaxing and dreamy ocean world! History buffs will enjoy Kealakekua Bay when learning about the arrival of Captain James Cook of the Royal English Navy and circumnavigator extraordinaire to this spot in 1779 and about Hawaiian Royalty that made it their home.

two dolphins swimming together

Dolphin & Whale Watching

Kealakekua Bay is the home to year-round, resident Hawaiian spinner dolphins and migrating humpback whales each winter. A smaller nocturnal marine mammal, the Hawaiian spinner dolphins are typically seen at Kealakeku Bay resting and sleeping on their way back from feeding out at sea, the night before. The Kealakekua Bay is a marine life sanctuary where dolphins are protected. Humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii each winter to give birth. We enjoy these giants each year from December to April where they are seen surfacing for air or breaching in Kealakekua Bay.

ocean and cliffs with blue water

Lava tubes, sea caves, & cliff jumping

The coastline here expresses a long history of lava flows from Mauna Loa mountain above us. We cruise along the lava flow cliffs that border the Kona coast that make for interesting geology and sightseeing. Among the unique features of Kona’s ocean cliffs are lava tubes that run through the lava layers and reveal themselves as holes on the cliff sides. Another interesting feature are sea caves which are formed by crashing waves, earthquakes and erosion to scoop out parts of the ocean cliffs. When time permits we stop at sea caves where 30′ cliff jump watching is fun to see from the safety of the boat.

boat full of people ready to snorkel

Cruising along the Kona Coast

The boat ride along the beautiful kona coast to our snorkeling destination is a wonderfully scenic place. A 14000′ high Mauna Loa stretches out above us, while a cobalt blue ocean extends to a vast Pacific Ocean to the horizon. The coastline is lava black cliffs fringed in emerald greens and turquoise blue waters that reach right up to the cliff sides. We pass elegant sportsfishing boats trolling for marlin, mahi, and ono. Along our route we keep watch for dolphin dorsals and flying fish that inhabit the nearshore waters.

manta ray mouth up close

Dolphin Swim & Manta Ray Adventures

These trips are very adventurous and not for everyone… but if you want something really interesting that will stretch you, this might be a match. The dolphin swim is a trip that puts you out in the near coastal waters with live boats motoring/drifting while you wait for the dolphins to swim pass. Manta Ray Dives involve a trip into a live boat motoring/drifting situation while you wait for manta ray’s to come near enough to view at night.

Welcome Aboard


Captain Cook Snorkeling and Dolphin Cruises operates a well maintained USCG certified vessel – a 34′
Scarib rigid hull inflatable boat that carries up to 25 guests as well as the USCG licensed captain and
crew. But we generally limit our trips to 22 passengers. Since we sail with as few as 4 guests aboard
our Kona coast snorkel tours, we can offer you a more personalized experience and greater service.
Our advantage over smaller boats is while only 10′ longer we offer big boat amenities: e.g. a smoother
ride, a shade canopy, more comfortable seating for guests, and importantly, with much more space on
board our vessel to stretch than the smaller snorkel boats that sometimes pack their guests like
“sardines in a can”. Captain Cook Snorkeling Cruises’ 34′ Scarib boat is also equipped with 2 ladders
for easy and convenient return to the vessel upon returning from your snorkeling excursion. Seating is
available both in the sun and shade so when guests need the sun to warm up after snorkeling there’s a
place in the sun for everyone. We hope you’ll join us and find yourself immersed in the spectacular
vistas of the Big Island – only seen by boat. You will gain an appreciation of the drama and beauty of
the Big Island and the Kona coast on your trip with us.
All of our Kona coast and Kealakekua Bay snorkeling tours include snorkel gear, snacks, bottled water
and tropical sodas. You bring the sunblock, sunglasses, hat and a towel. Captain Cook Snorkel and
Dolphin Cruises takes care of the rest! Captain Cook Snorkeling Cruises welcomes all skill levels from
beginner to expert snorkelers. Join us!