We went out on September 16th, on a calm late-summer day. We'd been waiting for a couple of years to do this trip--we usually come to Kohala in January and the waters are too rough for this trip, so they go elsewhere. We particularly wanted to go to this spot, since we had not been there before. It's called Keawaiki Bay (aka the "old Brown place," only realistically accessible for snorkeling by boat).
Although we usually choose to drive ourselves to the boat, in this case we chose to be picked up at the hotel--it's more practical because one is shuttled over to, checks in, and pays/signs at the new Ocean Sports office in Queens Shops and then is shuttled over to the walkway to the beach area.
A-Bay was greatly affected by the March 2011 tsunami, but it's being restored in that they are working to help Nature bring the sand back to the beach. The cut-through from the ocean to the fishpond is covered over now and I expect it to look "almost like new" by next years after the winter storms move more sand. A-Bay is certainly usable and enjoyable now if you are going there.
The boat they use for the Black Sand Snorkel trip is Sea Smoke, a former TransPac race winner that was once owned by James Arness (""Gunsmoke" TV show). It's a nice large catamaran with stairs leading down into the water for easy in/out when snorkeling. The boat moves very well in the water. Our Captain was Capt. Will; he was very good in terms of briefing us about the spot and the boat.
The spot itself is on a very black sand beach (I think from an 1801 lava flow) lined with palm trees. There's a spot where you can thread thru the coral and go walk on the beach--we did not really do this except to go in and out because we love to snorkel. Snorkeling was OK on the south end of the site but very good with clearer water on the north side. It's very large and we were able to stay in more than an hour, before coming in for lunch. Lunch was fine--I cannot recall much about it because I tend not to be a big luncher anymore :-)
On the way back, they put up the sails and off we went! A real highlight for me was getting to drive the boat. It handles well.
We definitely would do this trip again if we come back in the right weather/water conditions and recommend it highly.
Ocean Sports is very professional and do a really nice job on all their trips--we have also done their sunset sails from Kawaihae and other (winter) snorkels when they go to different spots in the area to get the right conditions for good snorkeling.
If you own or manage Ocean Sports Snorkel Adventure, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.