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“Awesome snorkel trip - And great for every age/level of experience”

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Since 1971, Fair Wind has been the leader in snorkel cruises on the Big Island of Hawaii. Cruises include morning and afternoon tours to pristine Kealakekua Bay aboard the spacious Fair Wind II. Enjoy one of Hawaii's top snorkel locations and site of the famous Captain Cook Monument. Perfect for families of all ages and experience levels. Includes (2) 15-ft waterslides and high-jump platform. *Save 10-15% by booking direct at Fair Wind Cruises official website.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We almost didn't take this snorkeling trip. It seemed like we read so many forum posts about how great the snorkeling was from various beaches and we thought we would save the money by not doing this cruise. But after experiencing high winds that made snorkeling a challenge, we made a last minute decision to go with Fairwinds. Thankfully, I was able to book us the same day on the afternoon cruise. This is a great option for those on a budget as is less expensive. Its also shorter for those with younger kids or others who might prefer/need less time. It still offered 1 1/2 hours snorkel time and both our boys were tired out after that.

The water here is very calm and the way that the boat positions itself in the bay also helps to block wind inside the bay. There is a TON of coral and lots of fish. Someone on our cruise also saw an octopus. We saw an eel. There were dolphins in the bay but we chose not to attempt to interact with them as we know this is their resting area. A couple of them did follow our boat out of the bay and the whole boat appreciated their show!

Staff was friendly and helpful. There were 4 lifeguards keeping watch and at one point we were asked not to go behind a particular rock because we were out of view of the lifeguard. There attention to our safety made me feel very comfortable. Also, I was impressed with the options available for younger kids. They had body boards with windows that younger kids could lay on and look through and they also had these view boxes where you could float in an intertube and look through the box on the surface - no need for a mask or snorkel so that was also a nice choice.
We've snorkeled other places, but I'd never seen those. They also offered snuba. Several were jumping off the boat and using the slides. We were served fresh fruit and drinks. It was a very enjoyable experience and one that I highly recommend.

Thank bgrk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,217 - 2,221 of 2,656 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2013

This was our second time on the Fair Wind II. We visited years ago and had a very good experience. This time, we brought our two teens with us. The boat is well-appointed and serves good food. Really though, it is the staff that makes it outstanding. The service was friendly and efficient and the crew made it a memorable day. The ship is equipped with water slides and a diving board which made it fun for the kids. The cruise stops at the Captain Cook Memorial where the water is crystal clear and the sealife is amazing. It's perfect for less experienced snorkelers but probably works for everyone. It was a great day.

Thank JackieF546
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

My wife and I had taken the Fair Winds cruise twice and really liked it and would, in fact, do it again but we wanted to try something different but with the same company. The Hula Kai cruise, to quote the young 'uns, awesome. The boat is smaller so right away you know it won't be crowded. I was a little concerned about there bein enough shade on the boat but we were fine. Best to avoid the front row of seats on the lower level if you want to stay out of the sun. They serve a nice breakfast but don't be expecting it right away. They serve it after they reach the first snorkeling stop. We had our own snorkeling gear but they have gear for you if you need it. The fish cooperated and were plentiful at the first stop. This is where not having so many people really pays off. When you are with a large group there are people snorkeling across your path - inadvertently, but still a little annoying. Not so here, people naturally fan out for the most part and there's plenty of space. Breakfast was fine - continental but with some little egg frittatas. The second stop had comparable fish. On the way to the second spot we got lucky and were in the midst of a pod of small whales. Very fun. The whales seemed very calm and weren't bothered by the boat. We had lunch during the second stop. I thought the food was good, a little better than the food on the Fair Winds boat. Kids and people were using paddle boards around the boat. The Hula Kai doesn't allow kids under seven. If you have a family with kids, they have slides on the Fair Winds - which I tried last year at 47 years old!!! - so I think kids may find the Fair Winds more entertaining. If your snorkeling is your main focus though, this cruise is hard to beat. On the way back, they stop briefly at the Captain Cook Monument o tell you about Captain Cook but really, by this time we were tired and ready to head back. Great crew - we'd do it again. Don't be put off by the price. You are in Hawaii - enjoy!

2  Thank DTM46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

This was our 2nd time with this company they were great. Once you get bored of snorkeling there is a huge slide, high dive and sun deck and also blow up rings to float around in. The crew is very nice and friendly and willing to help with whatever you need. We were served a BBQ lunch and it was very yummy and they also serve breakfast (if on the am tour) and afternoon tea. The trip is thoroughly amazing

Thank Awesome24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 20, 2013

We went on the morning snorkeling tour with Fair Winds and loved every second! The boat is fantastic -- slides, jumping platforms, cushioned seating, easy ladder access for snorkeling -- and the staff is friendly and helpful. I was concerned about too much sun exposure when we had to sit upstairs (downstairs was full), but, as they promised, there was shade from the sails on the upper deck. Perfect! So glad we were upstairs - the views were great! They provided a lovely light breakfast -- fruit, muffins, bagels, juice -- as well as a BBQ burger lunch. A simple show of hands was all the was necessary to secure a veggie burger if you prefer that. You get fitted for your snorkel mask before getting on the boat, and they fit you with fins during the ride to K-Bay. We were snorkeling for at least an hour -- lots of time to explore the bay. They had flotation belts in sizes for adults and kids, as well as boogie-boards with masks built in if you're nervous about snorkeling. On they way home, they let a few of the kids take turns driving the boat -- a thrill for my daughter. There is a bathroom onboard -- nicer than most boat bathrooms -- and a bar for drink purchases that's open after lunch. They also take a video of the day's families & activities, but it was $75, which I did not purchase. We had a blast and would recommend Fair Wind to anyone interested in a fun, family-friendly snorkel tour!

Thank Christine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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