Kealakekua Bay on the western edge of Hawaii’s big island is a precious gem of marine sanctuary that earns its reputation as a premier snorkeling destination. Sheltered from the ocean, this rare spot of crystal blue water filled with coral and fish is not to be missed for anyone visiting Hawaii. And there is no better way to see the sights than a Fair Wind cruise!
Kealakekua Bay is a little over an hour drive south from the big resorts of Kailua-Kona. But driving there won’t get you a front row seat to this marine sanctuary wonder. There is no beach to speak of, likely part of why this stretch of protected coral remains so pristine. So the best way to get there is by boat.
Fair Wind is a large cruise company based out of Keauhou Bay, several miles north of Kealakekua Bay. It’s easy to reach Keauhou Bay by car, and once you jump on their huge catamaran it’s nothing but fun for the rest of the day!
On the way out to Kealakekua Bay, a nice breakfast is provided. The crew gives basic safety information and reminds everyone that the bay is a protected marine sanctuary. There is even a little fishing from the back of the boat for those interested!
I made the trip on the Fair Wind II, and there is a second even larger boat named the Hula Kai, operated by the same group. On our catamaran, there were two levels, including a large indoor area with lots of shaded seating where the food was served. This was great for a sunny Hawaiian day, as it gave some respite from the heat. There were also dual water slides from the back of the boat for use once we had arrived at the destination!
We spent several hours at the site, getting on and off the boat as we pleased. Lunch was served, and there were plenty of flotation devices and snorkel equipment for those that don’t own such things. The water was calm enough that my 1-and-a-half-year-old daughter was able to float comfortably in an inner tube while we snorkeled around her.
The boat ride back was calm and quiet, and the sun was starting it’s way towards the horizon. We even saw a humpback whale in the distance!
I’ve done this cruise on two separate trips to the big island now, and I doubt any trip to Kona will ever be complete without a cruise to Kealakekua Bay!