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Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

Houston, Texas
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37 posts
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Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

I believe I have narrowed down my choices to these two, but cannot decided which. I would appreciate any comments regarding the overall experience on either, as far as how you liked the itinerary/experience, advantages of one over the other, the ride/ vessel, is one generally less crowded than the other. We are 2 adults and 2 children 10 &12. Thank you.

washington
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for Maui
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1. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

Hula Kai is a smaller boat and a little more geared toward serious snorkelers. With kids I'd pick the Fair Wind, great trip every time...we went back to it after our one outing on the Hula Kai.

2. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

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Removed on: 9:47 am, July 23, 2012
Edited: 9:47 am, July 23, 2012
Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

We enjoyed Fairwinds, haven't done the other. I bet your kids would love the slide off Fairwinds!

4. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

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Removed on: 6:45 pm, August 13, 2012
Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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5. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

In addition if you are ecologically minded, the Hula Kai generally stays out of Kealakekua Bay, which many of us residents would prefer that visitors do, as the Bay and its ecosystem are suffering from overuse and need to be left alone.

I actually prefer the places the Hula Kai goes to as they will offer you experiences you aren't as likely to get from shore. It is a less crowded boat.

Edited: 3:01 pm, July 01, 2012
6. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

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Removed on: 9:47 am, July 23, 2012
Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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7. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

Honu Ohana!

What, you show up and make me happy, and then you leave? nooooo ...

It's so good to see you.

FWIW, I agree that although Kealakekua has been overused, that it is not realistic to think enough visitors are going to avoid it to make a difference, by ceasing to recommend it here.

It will be visited every day by visitors much less sensitive than our typical forum poster. There are countless brochures at the airport, and it's in every guidebook and lodging. At best we succeed in pointing those away who would respect it more, while doing little or nothing to reduce the numbers of people who trash the coral.

Similar with the kayaking guided tours. The tours comprise a tiny amount of the traffic there, and the tour guides encourage responsible visiting, so I would rather recommend one. It is the thoughtless hordes who grab whatever kayak they can and head out who do the damage.

That is just my opinion. Shea does what she feels right, as do we all.

I am only posting this because I think that Honu makes a very valid point that the deeper water in more exposed conditions may not be the best choice here, depending on the experience level of the children and parents.

Perhaps the OP could help us out by describing more about that.

Thanks Honu for mentioning some alternate sites that the OP may not have considered.

We all want to protect Kealakekua Bay. It's such a shame that the various personal and commercial interests keep over-riding the attempts to limit the usage.

Big Island, Hawaii
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8. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

I don't think that people need to go on boat tours as alternatives to the shallower reef conditions of Kealekekua Bay. I thought I was clear about thay but perhaps I wasn't. Shore snorkeling at places like Honaunau Bay, Makaiwa Bay, Honoka'ope Bay, and Waialea Bay would be my proposed alternatives to Kealakekua Bay. Just as good and free, plus nice beaches in the case of the latter three. I also recommend Kohala Kayak which does a kayak and snorkel tour around Puako as an alternative.

I don't agree that alerting visitors to the problems of overuse here is useless or doesn't make a difference. I've had several people tell me they decided against going to Kahaluu or Kealakekua because we alerted them to the ecological issues, and that's good enough for me.

I'm reminded of the starfish parable.

http://www.starfish-project.com/parable.aspx

And please don't butt out! You are missed around here Honu. :-)

Edited: 5:49 pm, July 01, 2012
Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

>>> I don't agree that alerting visitors to the problems of overuse here is useless or doesn't make a difference.

You are right. As you know, I am behind education and alerting.

I think where we differ slightly is you are more into total "not going to recommend those two places" -- whereas I like the position of educating people but still considering those choices as viable if they ask about them.

But then look at how I am about the dolphins, I am absolutely opposed to the swims and chases, don't care whether people want to do them or not, just see them as illegal and wrong.

Re the shore snorkeling, yes, in summer, but for winter visitors they have those swells to consider that might knock out their snorkel plans.

Some of this is the wide difference between your level of snorkeling and mine. I'm a beginner and not a strong swimmer. I only like calm water, and honestly the reason I'm still a beginning snorkeler is that the water here isn't as calm as what I like. That's why I loved the South Pacific, and I drool over pics of the Caribbean waters. I like shallow, translucent calm water, and I don't like choppy, deep water conditions.

So I can relate to the appeal of Kealakekua Bay. I don't even like the look of Two Step. I remember going there 12 years ago and just looking at it and saying nope, not for me. My husband the former dive instructor went right in of course. .

As for visitors, some kids are like your daughter, but others may not be ready for the deeps or for watching out for the currents involved in shore snorkeling.

Different strokes ...

Big Island, Hawaii
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10. Re: Fairwinds vs. Hula Kai

I'm not recommending things based on my level of comfort, I wouldn't do that. I consider Honaunau Bay fairly easy snorkeling in calm ocean conditions for most people, ditto the other recommendations. Obviously people have to use common sense regarding the swells, etc., and that's true whether they are snorkeling from a boat or from shore. I don't think snorkeling from a boat like the Fairwinds is any easier than snorkeling from shore, frankly, especially if there are swells or other ocean conditions that come into play. You see people drown on those kinds of tours just as you do from shore snorkeling and swimming.

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