Sail And Snorkel

KAWAIHAE, HAWAII — One of the greatest activities in all of Hawaii is going for a long snorkel along the beautiful coast. And on the Big Island, there are many different regions to explore. Just about an hour north of Kona is the Kohala Coast, with many little coves, harbors and nooks to find that ideal snorkeling spot.

Another way to find the best snorkeling spot, and enjoy a morning sail is to book a charter with Kohala Sail and Sea, a wonderful family owned company based out of Kawaihae. What a great way to start your day! Meet the staff and Captain Steve Turner at the new Kawaihae Harbor South small boat harbor, only 10-15 minutes from the Kohala Coast resorts.

Capt. Steve and passengers dockside

Come play in some of the best sailing waters in the world aboard Riva, a classic open ocean 34-foot sloop-rigged sailboat! The prevailing tradewinds of Kawaihae provide plenty of breeze to fill the sails, and the seas swells are usually small and friendly. Take the helm or hoist the mainsail, or leave it to Captain Turner. Come explore the waters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and look for dolphins and whales on the way to one of the best snorkel spots on Hawaii Island.

Riva, nicely making way

One of the crew members is a marine naturalist, and will answer your questions and share interesting facts about the sanctuary and its denizens. You’ll learn that the sanctuary is not only home to humpback whales each winter, but another dozen different types of wild cetaceans (whales and dolphins) live here year-round, including spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and false killer whales.

The serene and crystal clear waters off the Kohala Coast offer some of the best snorkeling in the world. Ethan Tweedie Photography

The snorkel spots visited along the Kohala Coast reveal some of the most pristine underwater ecosystems in the world, and are also within sanctuary waters. (Snorkel gear is provided, or bring your own.) The crew is in the water with you, to ensure that you’re comfortable, and to share information about what you’ll see. A variety of marine life thrives in these clear waters year-round, including Hawaiian green sea turtles, colorful reef fish found nowhere else on earth, invertebrates and corals.

Local coffee, banana bread, island fruits and juice, cheese, salami, crackers, macadamia nuts and Maui style chips will be served as you cruise the Kohala Coast. And to top it all off, you will be back in time to enjoy lunch at one the fine eateries in Kawaihae village.

(For more information on this snorkel sail, or any of the other tours, please visit

Sunset glow

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