Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions answered!

 

  • Chevron down Do I need any swimming or snorkeling experience?
  • No experience is necessary. We provide snorkeling gear, floatation devices (wetsuits, float belts, and pool noodles all help you float) and basic instruction for snorkeling, including some tips for having the best experience possible. You may be surprised by how buoyant you are in salt water compared to freshwater pools or lakes.

  • Chevron down What should I bring with me on the boat?
    • For day trips: hat, sun protective clothing, reef safe sunscreen, towel, camera
    • For evening trips: jacket, towel, camera
    • A small dry bag is recommended as we have limited dry storage onboard and seaspray is normal
    • Kindly leave any extra items in your car or in our storage locker on the dock. Key storage is provided as well, so those don’t get lost!
  • Chevron down Where do I check in?
    • We depart from the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. The easiest way to get there is to follow the Google Maps link in your confirmation email or type Kona Snorkel Trips into Google Maps and follow the directions.  If you know where the harbor is just turn in and follow the road until you come two the store building with a red roof with a gas station.  Park and meet us at the covered picnic tables.  If you arrive at check-in and our boat is not there or no one is present to check you in we are either bringing the boat around or coming back from our previous trip.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to check your confirmation email for the correct date.
    • The address for GPS or smartphone maps is: 74-381 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua, HI 96740 or you can put Kona Snorkel Trips in Google Maps
  • Chevron down What do we see on the morning or afternoon snorkel trip?
    • On our day time snorkel trips we are guaranteed to see an abundance of live coral reef rich with thousands of marine creatures big and small and hundreds of varieties of fish, including many endemic species. Often times we are fortunate enough to see the local spinner dolphins from the boat and occasionally they come into our snorkel spots to check out our snorkeling guests!
  • Chevron down What’s the difference between the sunset and moonlight manta trips?
  • The itinerary for both trips is the same, just the timing is different. On the earlier trip (sunset manta) we check in during daylight hours and catch an unobstructed sunset view from the boat.

    The moonlight trip is a bit more adventurous – we check in at night, and zoom off into the darkness to our manta snorkel location. During both experiences we are snorkeling in the dark, however, the ocean is lit by lighting equipment on the snorkel boards. The mantas aren’t particularly more prevalent on one trip or the other – they’re wild animals so they show up on their own time.

  • Chevron down Do you provide snorkeling gear, wetsuits and floatation devices?
  • Yes! We provide good quality snorkeling gear including masks, snorkels, and fins for our day snorkel trips. Wetsuits are provided for all trips, and we strongly encourage you to use them on our night snorkel trips for buoyancy and warmth! Floatation devices are offered for all of our guests – we provide either a pool noodle or float belt (these are great if swimming is a challenge for you, you’re a first-time snorkeler, or you just want to relax).

  • Chevron down Should I bring swimwear and a rashguard?
  • Absolutely! With the exception of our season whale-watching tours, you’re gonna get wet. Arrive at check-in wearing your swimwear, ready to go! We highly recommend a rashguard with sun protection instead of sunscreen. If you do bring sunscreen – kindly make sure it’s reef safe.

  • Chevron down Do you provide prescription masks?
  • We do have a limited selection of prescription masks available. If you plan to snorkel more than just once, it may be worth your while to purchase a mask with your correct prescription.

  • Chevron down Can I bring my own gear?
  • Yes! We want you to be comfortable and have an enjoyable experience. We welcome you to bring your own snorkel gear or use ours – whatever is more comfortable for you.

  • Chevron down Do you provide food and drinks?
  • On our morning snorkel trips, we provide light snacks (chips, cookies, granola bars)

  • Chevron down Do you serve alcohol?
  • No, our license doesn’t allow us to serve alcohol. For your safety and the best experience for all guests, please don’t consume alcohol prior to your snorkel trip. You’re welcome to bring your own and enjoy beverages once you’re done snorkeling and out of the water. Cheers!

  • Chevron down Does the boat have shade?
  • Yes, we have plenty of shade on board.

  • Chevron down Does the boat have a restroom?
  • At check-in there is an opportunity to use the facilities on land, however, we do not have a restroom on board.

  • Chevron down What can I do to prevent seasickness?
  • The great thing about our boat is that it’s fast-moving and open-air. This means guests are less prone to seasickness. When we’re moving quickly, we avoid the swaying and sloshing movement that often causes that icky feeling. With that said, there are people who are more susceptible and we still want you to have a great time. We recommend looking into over-the-counter options like Bonine, Dramamine, ginger chews, sea bands, etc.

  • Chevron down What if we don’t see manta rays?
  • Since manta rays are wild animals their presence is affected by a variety of factors, and we don’t have control over whether or not they grace us with their presence. Because your enjoyment on the trip is a high priority to us (second only to safety), we do everything we can to find mantas for you including making informed decisions on where to go to have the best opportunity to see them. On the rare occasion, we don’t see any mantas, you can come back out with us on a standby seat for free.

  • Chevron down Is it customary to tip?
  • As awkward of a subject as it can be, it’s a question that we get multiple times per day.  While it is fairly common to leave 15-20% on a restaurant ticket, you can bet our crew delivers a lot more on your excursions.  Tips are never expected but always appreciated.

  • Chevron down How does the weather affect the trip?
  • Thanks to our location on the island and protection from Hualalai, the majestic mountain behind our town, we typically have great weather, calm seas, and few rain days per year. Some days cloud over then clear up quickly, or the mountain looks cloudy and we have gorgeous weather on the Kona coast. On the rare occasion the weather is questionable, our team will make a determination whether or not the trip can go out safely. In the event we cancel we will do our very best to rebook you for another time. If we cannot accommodate you, we will give you a full refund.

  • Chevron down Can I bring my camera?
  • Absolutely! What better way to capture your exciting experience than having photo memories to share with friends and family and look back to reminisce for years to come.

  • Chevron down What if there’s an emergency on or in the water?
  • Our captain and crew are prepared to handle any situation that may arise and will instruct you in the event of an emergency. All of our staff are certified with current CPR with AED and Oxygen and have acquired in-water rescue skills as either a rescue diver (or higher) or level 1 freediver or lifeguard certification. Rest-assured, you’re in good hands with our team!

  • Chevron down Do you have first aid and other safety gear on the boat?
  • Yes, our boat is a coast guard certified vessel and complies with all of the requirements for a commercial vessel, and then some. We have a first aid kit, oxygen (O2) kit, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), flares, horn, life jackets, and fire safety equipment on board

  • Chevron down Can I use my full-face mask?
  • Your comfort is important to us. If you will have a better experience snorkeling with your full-face mask, you’re welcome to. Currently, we provide the standard mask and snorkel set up, and do not provide full-face masks

  • Chevron down How many people will be on the boat?
  • In most cases, the maximum number of people on board is 16 guests plus 3 crew members. Our coast guard allowed capacity is more, allowing up to 18 guests for a private charter.

  • Chevron down Are there life vests on board?
  • Yes, the coast guard requires commercial boats to carry life vests for all guests in the event of an emergency.

  • Chevron down Can I wear shoes on the boat?
  • We’ll be doing it Hawaiian style – barefoot – for all of our trips. Because stepping on lava is dangerous for guests and stepping on coral is dangers for guests and damages the reefs we enjoy, we will not be stepping or standing on anything except our boat deck and ladder for the duration of the experience.

  • Chevron down Where do I park?
  • Parking is free and convenient. When you arrive at check-in, you’ll see gravel spaces for parking nearby. Park, lock, and come over to start your adventure!

  • Chevron down What is the water temperature?
  • The temperature varies seasonally, but year-round our water temps are relatively warm. During the winter months, it may dip down to 74 degrees. The rest of the year it averages 80-82 degrees.

  • Chevron down Can my friend/family members ride along if they aren’t snorkeling?
  • The seats are available for guests whether they’d like to snorkel or ride along for the boat trip, the cost per seat is the same.

  • Chevron down Are there group discounts?
  • Group discounts are not available, however, often times it’s more financially advantageous for a group to select a private charter depending on the number of guests. Ask us, we’ll be happy to help you choose which option is best for you!

  • Chevron down Can my kids snorkel without me?
  • Kids are welcome on all of our charters (the minimum ages vary) and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

  • Chevron down How long are we in the water snorkeling?
  • The length of time you’re in the water varies by trip. Typically on our Kealakekua Bay Morning Snorkel trips, guests have an hour or more in the water. If you’re done snorkeling before that, you’re welcome to climb aboard and hang out with the captain. On both of our Manta Ray Snorkel trips, guests have 30-40 minutes in the water. We find that’s a good amount of time to view the mantas and have a great experience before guests are ready to get back on the boat.

  • Chevron down Do you provide transportation?
  • Our insurance doesn’t allow the transportation of guests. It’s your responsibility to get to and from the check-in location. Kona does have Uber, Lyft, and taxi services.

  • Chevron down Do you pick up at the Kailua Pier?
  • We do! There are a limited number of pier use permits issued, and we have one. For private charters only.  Please make arrangements at the time of your reservation so we can accommodate and schedule your pier pick-up.

  • Chevron down What kind of boat will we be on?
  • Our boat, Orca, is a 27’ rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) with twin Yamaha 200 outboard motors, allowing us to move quickly down the coastline.