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“great way to get close to the lava”

Captain Gene's Lava Boat Tours
Ranked #4 of 12 Tours in Pahoa
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“great way to get close to the lava”
Reviewed August 16, 2013

Aug 4, 2013 - it was an early morning, but we were fortunate because the skies were clear and the water was pretty calm. Capt. Gene got us on the boat quickly, and we were off. He wasn't very talkative, but his first mate spoke with us on the ride out about what we were seeing on the coast. He was interesting and informative. The lava was flowing pretty well, and we were able to stay for a good amount of time. I was impressed with Capt. Gene's ability to keep us close to the lava without crashing us on the rocks. At no time did we worry about our safety, but we did marvel at the lava flowing out into the water. The steam was amazing, too. On the way back we saw several flying fish - also amazing. We would have enjoyed hearing more about the area on the way back, but I must admit that we were pretty quiet ourselves. We'd seen surface flow on a previous trip, and this was an interesting and beautiful way to see it again. We got some really nice pics.

Visited August 2013
5 Thank P H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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21 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“An incredible experience”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

This was a truly incredible experience, and Captain Gene and his one-man crew made it even better. The price was reasonable compared to competitors and a better value than we could have imagined based on what we actually experienced. We set out before dawn, just me, my wife, and our two kids (12 and 8). The boat could take two or three more. The stars were magnificent until the sun began to rise (sunrise in the middle of the Pacific is a treat in itself). My wife spotted a flying fish sailing above the water next to the boat. Later we saw another--I couldn't believe the sight as it sailed along next to us for what might have been 4 or 5 seconds. I didn't catch the first mate's name, but he told us about the various lava flows and features along the shore, including hikes we could do and places we could see. We were worried that the lava flow would be small and unimpressive, but we were wrong to worry. There were six major (say footwide?) flows and several other smaller ones. You see the tip of the earth's forge. Unbelievable. And Gene took us in close, seemed like less than a boat length away at points, maneuvering around to maximize viewing but staying safely away from the fumes and the explosions of lava rock generated by big waves. The crew indulged us by taking a lot of family pictures. We stayed twice as long as the boat that arrived after us. We headed back closer to the coast and saw that second flying fish I mentioned, and as we were approaching the harbor, we saw a pod of spinner dolphins. Gene stopped and let the dolphins swim to us. They swam around us and a few put on a show, splashing the water with their tails. All in all, not a bad way to start your day.

Visited August 2013
4 Thank MDL828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Worth the $$”
Reviewed July 31, 2013

Capt Gene & 1st mate were great! Boat was built for just what it does. Seats were comfortable & it carries a small group, everyone gets to see. Of the 3 or 4 boats out at sunset we got to the lava 1st, stayed the longest & got closest to the lava flows. We were very pleased & felt it was well worth it. We highly recommend Gene's Lava boat tours!

Visited July 2013
Thank Nealou812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Georgia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“I wouldn't leave the island without doing this tour.”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

I have hiked out to the lava before and seeing it from the ocean really can't be beat. Captain Gene is such an awesome guide. We got really close to the flow yet the whole thing felt very safe. The water is bumpy but it's the ocean! I had never been on a boat in the ocean and I felt totally fine, in fact the waves and dips were really fun, and Gene clearly knows what he's doing . The smaller size of the boat made the whole experience that much more special. The seats are wicked comfortable and it was easy to talk to everyone onboard. Once we got to the flow it was difficult to stop taking amazing pictures. Captain Gene was so thoughtful and made sure we saw as much as the flow as possible, he drove the boat close to all the points where the lava was. He turned the boat so that people on all sides got great pictures and views and he constantly checked in to see how everyone was feeling. Gene's assistant is full of awesome stories about the history of the coast as well. Just seeing the coastline from the water is an adventure in itself. The lava is one of those indescribably beautiful things, it was absolutely exhilarating to see all these elements coming together. I can't imagine having a better experience or a better host.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank Amanda I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Excellent adventure! We were the only tour boat at the lava ocean entry sites! (We took the 5:00 P.M. departure tour.) Captain Gene made MANY passes towards the 2 lava flows. We got about 15 feet from the lava. We felt the heat and saw the lava spewing and oozing and exploding. WOW!! The ride was choppy, but not unbearable at all. (We did take a low dose chewable Bromine that we picked up in the local drugstore in Pahoa.) The seats were padded and comfortable. We have no negatives about this experience.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank bob d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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