Sea Paradise and Snorkeling boasts an illustrious reputation as being the original premiere scuba diving operator in Kona, Hawaii. Since its launch in 1985, this company has offered the best scuba diving tours in the area. Sadly, in March 2011, when a tsunami hit the Keauhou Bay pier housing the company’s store and scuba center, all their scuba equipment was lost. This effectively put an end to the diving operation portion of their business and left them to focus only on snorkeling. Today, you as their guest can enjoy the very best snorkeling tours and activities aboard the sailing-vessel Hoku Nui, all with a rich history born of sailing the waters off the Kona coast for decades.
Hoku Nui, which translates in the Hawaiian language to “Big Star” is a 50-foot catamaran sailing vessel. Its spacious design provides a 360-degree view of the Kona coastline. There is a bimini top situated over the main cabin, which provides welcome shade during the hottest part of the day. Finally, the wide steps with a handrail provide easy water access to guests. This vessel, the newest of the bunch, is a welcome addition to the snorkeling and sailing tours offered by Sea Paradise.
There are a wide variety of snorkeling and sailing opportunities to enjoy with Sea Paradise and Snorkeling. The most popular tour offered at present is the First Manta Ray Night Snorkeling Tour. This two-hour experience takes guests to the World Famous Manta Ray Village, which Travel Channel describes as “It’s one of the top ten things to do in your lifetime.” This truly unique experience allows guests to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures, the manta rays. Hot cocoa, chocolates, local juices, soft drinks, and waters are provided as part of the tour.
After reaching the Manta Ray Village, snorkeling guests will prepare to use the company’s state of the art “manta flotation devices” Guests with experience can hold onto this float and rest silently above the majestic rays as they feed on the microscopic plankton below that rises from the bottom of the ocean at night. Snorkel time is approximately 45 minutes. Guests who aren’t snorkeling but who are riding along can also experience the views of the underwater feeding from the comfort of the catamaran.
Another tour option with a different experience altogether is the Afternoon Sailing and Snorkeling Tour. This three-hour expedition takes guests sailing down the Kona Coast before arriving at the Marine Sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay. This locale is also well known and appreciated. Hawaii the Big Island Revealed guide book said “snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay near the monument is perhaps the best you will find anywhere in the state.”
While traveling to the snorkeling destination, it’s not uncommon to see spinner dolphins or even humpback whales. Guests can also observe the World Famous Captain Cook Monument during the 45-minute sail. After arriving at the destination, guests will be able to see all sorts of beautiful underwater activities including colorful schools of fish, spinner dolphins, and more. There are even ancient lava flow edges to explore. The captain and professional crew will share site briefings and historical facts, along with snorkeling tips and basic instructions for guests of all ages and experience levels. Snorkel time is approximately an hour. Soft drinks, local juices, water, and snacks will be provided during the tour. Adult beverages are also available for credit card purchase after all water activity is over.
Other tours offered by Sea Paradise and Snorkeling include the Morning Sail and Snorkeling Tour, lasting four hours, and the Second Manta Ray Night Snorkeling Tour if the first tour has reached capacity. There are also corporate and group charter tours available.
-Sea Paradise has a shoe-less boat policy. This means that guests should wear sandals or slippers that can be easily removed when boarding.
-Gratuity for the captain and crew is not included in the price of the tour.
-Reef-safe sunscreen is available aboard the vessel for all tours.