101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - WATERWORLD -

Go Snor­kel­ing

Snor­kel­ing the Big Is­land’s crys­tal-clear water is an easy way to spot marine life.

Kealakekua Bay, an un­der­wa­ter marine pre­serve that is a rest­ing area for dol­phins and the site of the Cap­tain Cook Mon­u­ment, is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion. So are the pris­tine wa­ters off the Ko­hala Coast and Pawai Bay.

Snorkel gear can be rented or pur­chased. In ei­ther case, all you’ll need is a mask, a snorkel and some fins. Gear comes in many sizes and shapes, but be sure you have a good fit.

You can also go snor­kel­ing in style, aboard a cata­ma­ran. This typ­i­cally in­cludes plenty of food, cock­tails, re­strooms, and lots of flota­tion equip­ment.

Here are a few safety tips:

1. Never snorkel alone. Hang with a buddy. 2. When­ever pos­si­ble, snorkel in the morn­ing, when fish are

more ac­tive and water clar­ity is at its peak. 3. Marine life tends to con­gre­gate around struc­tures, so

stick to reefs for a face-to-face en­counter. 4. Don’t feed the fish. 5. Even on the cloud­i­est of days, use wa­ter­proof sun­screen. 6. Take a small cooler with bot­tled water, snacks and food. 7. Snor­kel­ing isn’t so much about swim­ming as it is about

float­ing. Stay re­laxed, float and kick only when nec­es­sary. 8. Be re­spect­ful of the ocean. Avoid stand­ing on co­ral, as

bro­ken co­ral takes many years to grow back. 9. Don’t com­bine snor­kel­ing with al­co­hol or drugs.

• Big Is­land Kayak (800) 979-3370 • Ad­ven­tureX Raft­ing (808) 937-7245 •Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868 • Body Glove (808) 326-7122 or (800)-551-8911 • Cap­tain Zo­diac Raft Ex­pe­di­tions (808) 329-3199 • Dol­phin Dis­cov­er­ies (808) 322-8000 • Fair Wind Cruises (808) 345-0244 • Hana­mana (808) 936-5855 • Lava Ocean Ad­ven­tures (808) 966-4200 • Ka­manu Char­ters (808) 329-2021 • Sea Quest Raft­ing Ad­ven­tures (808) 329-RAFT • Snorkel Bob’s Kona (808) 329-0770 or

Mauna Lani (Ko­hala Coast/Waikoloa) (808) 885-9499

Track the Un­der­wa­ter King­dom

Hawai‘i Is­land’s cerulean wa­ters are teem­ing with life. Liv­ing co­ral can be found in 57 per­cent of the wa­ters sur­round­ing the is­land—the high­est per­cent­age in the main Hawai­ian Is­lands. And where there’s co­ral, there are fish.

At least three is­land tour-boat com­pa­nies spe­cial­ize in un­der­wa­ter views.

Blue Sea Cruises in­ves­ti­gates the view down un­der in its glass bot­tom boat. View­ing wells pro­vide live screen­ing ac­tion while nar­ra­tors fill in the de­tails. Ex­pect to see schools of fish, dol­phins, manta rays, tur­tles—and, in the win­ter—hump­back whales. Nat­u­ral­ists shed light on his­tor­i­cal sites along the coast­line and a hula show tops off the ex­cur­sion. Bet­ter yet, their Evening on the Reef tour pro­vides not only manta ray view­ings but a pre­mium din­ner and hula show package along with stun­ning sun­sets

At­lantis Ad­ven­tures, a 65-foot, air-con­di­tioned sub­ma­rine with 26 large port­holes, con­ducts tours off Kailua-Kona. The sub cruises past hun­dreds of trop­i­cal fish that pop­u­late an 18,000-year-old, 25-acre fring­ing co­ral reef that lies some 100 feet be­low the sur­face. The com­pany also of­fers package tours, in­clud­ing a com­bi­na­tion sub­ma­rine/vol­cano air tour and, from De­cem­ber through April, whale-watch­ing tours.

Kailua Bay Char­ter Com­pany runs 50-minute reef tours in a glass-bot­tom boat, which af­fords up-close views of un­der­wa­ter features like “ship­wreck rock,” where the reef rises to within inches of the glass, then plunges to more than 100 feet. Ex­pect to see tur­tles, frol­ick­ing dol­phins and sea­sonal whales. You can also char­ter their boat to cre­ate your own tour for you and your friends.

All of th­ese tours de­part from the Kailua-Kona pier.

• At­lantis Ad­ven­tures (800) 548-6262 • Kailua Bay Char­ter Co. (808) 324-1749 • Blue Sea Cruises (808) 331-8875

Catch a Wave

Leg­ends about surf­ing are found in the ear­li­est sto­ries of an­cient Hawai‘i. Around 400 A.D., a form of belly­board­ing on small wooden planks was in­tro­duced. Later, Tahi­tian ex­plor­ers brought their tra­di­tion of rid­ing waves with ca­noes. The Hawai­ians merged the two tech­niques to cre­ate the sport of surf­ing.

Learn­ing how to surf is a re­ward­ing ad­ven­ture. Stu­dents gen­er­ally be­gin their train­ing by rid­ing soft long­boards and are in­tro­duced to surf­ing fun­da­men­tals, safety, and ocean-aware­ness rules in a land les­son be­fore en­ter­ing the small surf to give it a try.

Ocean Eco Tours, lo­cated in Honoko­hau Har­bor, spe­cial­izes in begin­ners’ train­ing. The com­pany holds the only surf per­mit for Honoko­hau Na­tional Park and of­fers lessons at the pop­u­lar Ka­halu‘u Beach Park on Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona.

Ka­halu‘u is a pop­u­lar surf­ing site par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive to begin­ners. The park’s reef-pro­tected la­goons at­tract crowds year-round, and the beach is guarded and pop­u­lar with both snorkel­ers and surfers.

One of the most pop­u­lar and con­sis­tent surf spots on the east side of the is­land is Honoli‘i Point, near Hilo. This is a great place to watch surfers and body-board­ers.

• Ocean Eco Tours (808) 324-7873

Pad­dle to the Capt. Cook Mon­u­ment

Bri­tish Sea Cap­tain James Cook, thought to be the first West­erner to set sight on the Hawai­ian Is­lands, spot­ted the is­lands of O‘ahu and Kaua‘i on Jan. 18, 1778. Al­most a year later, on Jan. 17, 1779, the ex­plorer found his way to the Big Is­land. He an­chored his ships in Kealakekua Bay, where the an­nual Makahiki Fes­ti­val was in progress. Think­ing Cook might be the god Lono, Hawai­ians wel­comed him with a great feast.

On Fe­bru­ary 4, Cook left the Big Is­land only to re­turn about a week later, af­ter a se­vere storm dam­aged one of his ships. This time the Hawai­ians, who had dis­cov­ered Cook was not a god, were quite hos­tile. Cook and four of his sailors died in the bat­tle that en­sued.

A small bronze plaque at the north­ern end of Kealakekua Bay marks the spot of his death. Near the plaque is a 27-foot obelisk erected by Cook’s coun­try­men.

Kayak­ing Kealakekua Bay is a great way to see the mon­u­ment and ex­plore the sur­round­ing reef. As Kealakekua Bay is a Marine Life Con­ser­va­tion District (MLCD), it presents a unique aquatic ex­pe­ri­ence. Land­ing a kayak is only per­mis­si­ble with a per­mit, of which there are only 10 avail­able per day. Aloha Kayak Com­pany, in ad­di­tion to rent­ing kayaks and snorkel gear for your trip, makes the link to the land­ing per­mit avail­able on their web­site at www.alo­hakayak.com.

• Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868

Snorkel, Dive at Pawai Bay

Pawai Bay is an ex­quis­ite spot for snor­kel­ing and scuba div­ing. A pro­tected marine sanc­tu­ary, the bay is pop­u­lated by more than 600 species of trop­i­cal fish, mo­ray eels, manta rays, green sea tur­tles and the oc­ca­sional dol­phin. Ledges, caves, shal­low shelves and steep drop-offs make for in­ter­est­ing ter­rain in crys­tal-clear water.

Though it is lo­cated near the old Kona air­port not far from Kailua-Kona, Pawai Bay is not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, which is one rea­son a lot of peo­ple pay for a seat on a cruise boat equipped with snorkel and div­ing gear.

Body Glove gets you there in style on a state-of-the-art 65-foot cata­ma­ran, fea­tur­ing fresh­wa­ter show­ers, a 15-foot high dive plat­form and a 20-foot water slide. The com­pany of­fers both snor­kel­ing and div­ing.

Ka­manu Snorkel Sail­ing Char­ters has been tak­ing vis­i­tors to Pawai Bay for 30 years. Ka­manu caters to non-swim­mers and novice snorkel­ers. A wide as­sort­ment of gear is car­ried on board the ves­sel. A brief ori­en­ta­tion will be pro­vided be­fore pas­sen­gers en­ter the water.

Kona Boys Beach Shack takes you on a kayak tour along the Kona Coast to this beau­ti­ful bay. Once there, you’ll take in the aquatic sights via a leisurely snorkel. Af­ter­wards, the guides share the cul­tural and nat­u­ral his­tory of the area with the group.

• Body Glove (808) 326-7122 or (800) 551-8911 • Ka­manu Char­ters (808) 329-2021

Ride the Swells in an Ocean Raft

Rid­ing the swells of the great Pa­cific tucked away safely in a pow­ered, rigid-hull in­flat­able boat is an ex­pe­ri­ence that puts a whole new per­spec­tive on an ad­ven­ture at sea. Com­monly called ocean rafts, th­ese sta­ble, high-per­for­mance boats re­sem­ble res­cue craft, which is one thing they’re used for. They’re also used for fun and ad­ven­ture.

Typ­i­cally car­ry­ing no more than 35 pas­sen­gers, a raft­ing trip al­most al­ways in­cludes snorkel stops in Kealakekua and Honau­nau bays. In a raft, you can en­ter sea caves and lava tubes and get a good look at dol­phins, sea tur­tles and whales. The wa­ters off the South Kona coast are among the calmest in the state, which makes raft­ing here gen­er­ally com­fort­able.

Most raft­ing tours de­part from Honoko­hau Ma­rina near Kailua-Kona and travel along the Kona Coast to snor­kel­ing des­ti­na­tions. Ad­ven­tureX Raft­ing launches from Puako, 30 min­utes from Kailua-Kona. Morn­ing and af­ter­noon tours are avail­able and gen­er­ally take three or four hours to com­plete. Some boats are equipped with canopies for shade and lad­ders to pro­vide water ac­cess.

• Ad­ven­tureX Raft­ing (808) 937-7245 • Cap­tain Zo­diac Raft Ex­pe­di­tions (808) 329-3199 • Dol­phin Dis­cov­er­ies (808) 322-8000 • Sea Quest Raft­ing (808) 329-7238

Walk on Water

Stand­ing up­right on a board and nav­i­gat­ing the surf with a light­weight pad­dle is wildly pop­u­lar on the Is­lands. It’s called stand-up pad­dle surf­ing, or SUP, and it has been re­vived on the is­lands in the past few years, quickly spread­ing to the Main­land and be­yond.

Orig­i­nat­ing in Waikiki about 60 years ago, Beach Boy Surf­ing, as it was known then, was com­monly used to get around the oc­ca­sional flat day in Waikiki and for tak­ing pic­tures of vis­i­tors learn­ing to surf.

To­day, some of Hawai‘i’s surf­ing greats (Laird Hamil­ton, for one) have latched onto the sport tak­ing the idea to a new, more rig­or­ous level.

• Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868

Latch onto an Outrig­ger Ca­noe

Des­ig­nated the state’s of­fi­cial team sport, outrig­ger ca­noe rac­ing draws hun­dreds of paddlers to clubs through­out the Is­lands. How­ever, it is more than a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity—it’s a cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant link to the leg­endary sea­far­ing tra­di­tions of Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i’s first set­tlers ar­rived aboard dou­ble-hulled sail­ing ca­noes that they pad­dled across 2,000 miles of un­charted ocean us­ing only the stars and flight pat­terns of birds to guide them. They found the Is­lands more than 1,000 years be­fore Euro­pean ex­plor­ers ar­rived in 1778. Ca­noes were used for in­ter­is­land travel, fish­ing and sport, to trans­port warriors into bat­tle, and for ex­ploratory voy­ages.

Typ­i­cally, a mod­ern-day outrig­ger is pow­ered by six paddlers in a 45-foot fiber­glass, sin­gle- or dou­ble-hulled ca­noe. The ca­noe features the ama, which is a pon­toon at­tached to one side of the hull to pro­vide added sta­bil­ity.

• Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868

Go Sea Breeze Sail­ing

One of the best ways to fully ex­pe­ri­ence the fa­bled at­tributes of sail­ing the Kona Coast is to book a tour on a cata­ma­ran or sail boat. The Kona Coast is a fine place to sail, pro­tected as it is from the blus­tery eastnorth­east trade winds by the vol­canic moun­tain slopes. The moun­tains cre­ate a wind shadow, or lee, along the west side of the is­land that pro­vides sail­boats and fish­ing boats with pro­tected, smooth-sur­face con­di­tions. The heat­ing of the land­mass by the sun causes warm air to rise, pulling the “Kona Breeze” off the ocean and pro­vid­ing gen­tle winds.

There isn’t much “white knuckle” sail­ing on the Kona Coast, nor do you have to be an ac­com­plished swim­mer or diver to en­joy the trip. And if you’d rather pi­lot your own craft, some com­pa­nies rent small sail­boats and pon­toon boats for sight­see­ing, fish­ing and snor­kel­ing.

• Fair Wind Cruises (808) 345-0244 • Kona Boat Rentals (808) 326-9155

Get High on Kitesurf­ing

From the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances of wind­surf­ing, paraglid­ing and wake­board­ing has come a hot new water sport that some call kitesurf­ing and oth­ers call kite board­ing. This ex­treme sport takes wind, guts, the right equip­ment and a lot of prac­tice.

The surfer stands on a kite­board (a small surf­board with straps) and is pulled across the water by a big kite. Sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled—it could take many ses­sions of kitesurf­ing be­fore a pi­lot be­comes com­pe­tent.

Kitesurf­ing en­thu­si­asts say the sport, though chal­leng­ing and some­times dan­ger­ous, is more fun and not as de­pen­dent on high wave and wind ac­tion as wind­surf­ing. Lessons and ren­tal gear are avail­able all over the is­land.

Soar in a Para­sail

Para­sail­ing in Kailua Bay is an easy-to-master

thrill ride in a gor­geous sur­round­ing. The water in the bay is so clear you can al­most see the ocean floor, and most days you’ll be drift­ing through cloud­less, blue skies.

UFO Para­sail, the only op­er­a­tor in Kona, loads para­sailors in a boat and then at­taches them to a tow­line and a para­chute. As the tow­line is re­leased, you soar into the sky. With a ride run­ning from 7 to 14 min­utes, this is a quick thrill.

Most para­sail­ing com­pa­nies em­ploy state-of-the-art equip­ment, en­sur­ing dry land­ings and safety. You can fly sin­gle, tan­dem or triple. No ex­pe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary.

• UFO Para­sail (808) 325-5836 or (888) FLY-4UFO

Rent a Power Boat

When Mother Na­ture set out to de­sign the Big Is­land, she came up with 11 dis­tinct cli­mate zones rang­ing from tundra to trop­i­cal for­est—and she saved the best for the Kona Coast. In the sum­mer, less than an inch of rain falls a month; in the win­ter, that changes only marginally to 1 to 3 inches a month. The wa­ters off the coast are typ­i­cally calm, cre­at­ing a per­fect set­ting for boat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Kona Boat Rentals has de­vised a great way to ex­plore the coastal wa­ters on your own. The com­pany rents easyto-op­er­ate, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly u-drive boats that ac­com­mo­date up to six adults with room to spare. No li­cense is re­quired.

Kona Boat Rentals, lo­cated at Honoko­hau Small Boat Har­bor in Kailua-Kona, of­fers full- or half-day rentals. The com­pany’s 21-foot cen­ter-con­sole boats are roomy and come equipped with a full elec­tronic package in­clud­ing GPS and fish find­ers. So take the wheel and go ex­plore.

• Kona Boat Rentals (808) 326-9155 or (800) 311-9189

Power a Jet Ski

Look­ing for some ac­tion? Try get­ting wet and wild on a jet ski. This is a safe and fun water ac­tiv­ity for nearly all ages, and any­one can learn to do it. Rid­ing the waves on a per­sonal wa­ter­craft is a good bet in Kailua Bay, where the water is rel­a­tively free from fast boats, water skiers and other ves­sels.

Ren­tal com­pa­nies typ­i­cally rent by the hour, but for some, 60 min­utes may be only the be­gin­ning of a good time. Begin­ners are wel­come, with life vests and op­er­at­ing in­struc­tion in­cluded.

Go Ocean Kayak­ing

Ocean kayak­ing is a great way to slip away from the crowd and get lost in the ir­re­sistible tug of na­ture. Whether you rent a kayak to go or book a guided tour with an ac­tiv­ity com­pany, ex­pect to move through some of the is­land’s most invit­ing seascapes and abun­dant marine life.

It’s pos­si­ble to rent one- or two-per­son kayaks rang­ing from a wide, vir­tu­ally un­tip­pable kayak to sleek fiber­glass rac­ing kayaks. Rentals usu­ally come equipped with soft racks de­signed for any ve­hi­cle and are able to han­dle up to three kayaks at a time.

An­other op­tion is a jet-pow­ered kayak that speeds over the water at 15 miles per hour. Th­ese ex­cur­sions be­gin at Puako Bay.

Guided tours range from a lazy pad­dle along the North Ko­hala Coast to more ad­ven­tur­ous tours on the South Kona coast, where sea caves and se­cluded beaches pre­vail.

• Ad­ven­tures In Par­adise (808) 323-3005 • Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868 • Ocean Eco Tours (808) 324-7873

Land a Win­ner

Sport fish­ing on the Kona Coast is big busi­ness. Many an­glers come to pur­sue the sto­ried 1,000-pound Pa­cific blue mar­lin and other hefty catches of broad­bill sword­fish, yel­lowfin tuna, mahimahi and sharks.

Since water depth drops off to 6,000 feet just a few miles off­shore and con­tin­ues to get deeper as you head out to sea, most of Kona’s 1,000-pound mar­lins have been found be­tween just 2 to 5 miles from shore.

More than 60 char­ter boats are avail­able for hire, most of them out of Honoko­hau Har­bor, north of Kailua-Kona.

You can also get a look at Kona whoppers in the lobby of King Kame­hameha’s Kona Beach Ho­tel. Check out a 1,166-pound blue mar­lin, the record catch at the 1993 Hawai­ian In­ter­na­tional Bill­fish Tour­na­ment. Big fish are weighed in daily at Honoko­hau Har­bor’s Fuel Dock at 11 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. The Char­ter Desk is lo­cated just above th­ese weigh scales at Honoko­hau Har­bor.

If you don’t want to hang with the Kona crowd, drop your line in the more re­mote east­side wa­ters, where LavaKat Fish­ing Char­ters, of­fered by Lava Ocean Ad­ven­tures (lo­cated in Hilo), prom­ises some se­ri­ous sport fish­ing. The rule is a guar­an­teed catch, or the crew buys din­ner.

• Hana­mana (808) 936-5855 • Lava Ocean Ad­ven­tures (808) 966-4200

Schmooze with the Dol­phins

There’s some­thing spell­bind­ing about squint­ing into the Pa­cific and spy­ing a pod of wild dol­phins spin­ning like shiny toy tops out of a sun-pol­ished sea. Th­ese marine mam­mals may ap­pear out of the blue and put on a show for you. And when they do, there’s an al­most ir­re­sistible urge to get in the water with them.

A num­ber of Big Is­land tour boat com­pa­nies un­der­stand that

urge and pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to do so. Most of them fol­low self-reg­u­la­tory guide­lines devel­oped to safe­guard dol­phins as well as hu­mans.

Dol­phin Dis­cov­er­ies pi­o­neered Big Is­land dol­phin swims 15 years ago, de­vel­op­ing the guide­lines cur­rently in use by most com­pa­nies that of­fer dol­phin tours. The com­pany spe­cial­izes in small group tours, and their guides are trained marine-mam­mal nat­u­ral­ists.

An­other way to get to know dol­phins is to par­tic­i­pate in the Dol­phin Quest marine re­search and ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram at the Hil­ton Waikoloa Vil­lage.

Sun­light on Water, a tour com­pany with 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in dol­phin en­coun­ters, guar­an­tees dol­phin sight­ings and the op­por­tu­nity to get in the water with them on its Kona Coast tours. You can also swim and snorkel with wild dol­phins on ocean raft­ing tours with Ad­ven­tureX Raft­ing, Nep­tune Charlies and Cap­tain Zo­diac Raft Ex­pe­di­tions.

• Ad­ven­tureX Raft­ing (808) 937-7245 • Cap­tain Zo­diac Raft Ex­pe­di­tions (808) 329-3199 • Dol­phin Dis­cov­er­ies (808) 322-8000 • Dol­phin Quest 800-248-3316 or (808) 886-2875 • Ka­manu Char­ters (808) 329-2021 • Nep­tune Charlies (808) 331-2184 • Ocean Eco Tours (808) 324-SURF (7873) • Sun­Light on Water (808) 896-2480

Learn to Snuba

You’ve seen the pho­to­graphs and films of col­or­ful reef fish un­du­lat­ing in the warm, deep-blue ocean cur­rents, and now you want to ex­pe­ri­ence the sen­sa­tion of me­an­der­ing along­side them. But div­ing with heavy tanks seems a bit much; snor­kel­ing only scratches the sur­face.

There is a com­pro­mise. Snuba, in­vented in 1988, is a dive ex­pe­ri­ence that com­bines the best of both scuba and snor­kel­ing. It al­lows par­tic­i­pants to go deeper than snor­kel­ing, us­ing a shal­low-water dive sys­tem that makes it pos­si­ble to dive as deep as 20 feet be­low the sur­face for up to 30 min­utes with­out wear­ing heavy air tanks. Divers wear masks, fins and weight belts. What sets snuba apart is the mouth­piece (or reg­u­la­tor) at­tached to a hose that ex­tends to the sur­face, where air tanks float in a raft.

Chil­dren as young as 8 years old can snuba, as long as they are com­fort­able in the water.

• Big Is­land Water Sports (808) 326-7446

Wade in a Tide Pool

Tide pools are mini-ecosys­tems boast­ing ev­ery­thing from Mo­ray eels to co­ral reef life and fish. Th­ese pools tend to be shal­low with calm, clear wa­ters for ca­sual snor­kel­ing or toe-dip­ping, and the Big Is­land has numer­ous great spots to splash around.

Kikaua Point Beach, near Kailua-Kona, is a kid-friendly op­tion with a sand-bot­tomed pool only around 3 feet deep. Ar­rive early, since there is lim­ited park­ing, and check in with the golf-re­sorts’ se­cu­rity so that they can give you a hang-tag and di­rec­tions. Lo­cated on Kukio Nui Road near the 87 mile marker.

Wawaloli Beach is more of a shel­tered swim­ming hole per­fect for when the surf is high. This spot of­fers tide pools that boast fish, anemones and scut­tling crabs. This beach park also features benches, trees, re­strooms, and plenty of space to pic­nic or rest, though it doesn’t have a life­guard. It is lo­cated in Kalaoa on Queen Ka‘ahu­manu High­way near the 94 mile marker.

Waiopae Tide Pools Marine Pre­serve, south of Pa­hoa, isn’t ex­actly a sandy beach here—in­stead, the area is a maze of tide pools full of fish and sea life. It is rarely crowded, since it’s so far off the main drag. To get here from the Hilo side, head south on High­way 132, then go east on High­way 132 to High­way 137. Af­ter 1.1 miles, turn east on Kapoho Kai Drive and fol­low signs to a small pub­lic park­ing lot and ac­cess point.

WARN­ING: The tide pools near the open ocean are fronted by pow­er­ful waves. Never turn your back on the ocean. Don’t walk on rocks that look wet near break­ing surf. Bring shoes or san­dals to wade, since lava rock can be sharp.

Help Pro­tect Hawai‘i’s Marine An­i­mals

The Big Is­land’s shores are alive with wildlife. Some of th­ese an­i­mals, like hump­back whales, Hawai­ian monk seals and sea tur­tles, are con­sid­ered en­dan­gered species and are pro­tected by fed­eral laws. Dol­phins and other whales, though not en­dan­gered, are pro­tected by the Marine Mam­mal Pro­tec­tion Act.

Hawai‘i’s marine mam­mals are fas­ci­nat­ing and eas­ily ob­served crea­tures, which is one rea­son na­ture-based tourism is a pop­u­lar seg­ment of the vis­i­tor mar­ket. Scores of tour boat com­pa­nies and water-based ac­tiv­i­ties on the Big Is­land cater to whale and dol­phin watch­ing. Rules and guide­lines to fol­low when view­ing marine wildlife: 1. Stay at least 100 yards from hump­back whales and 50

yards from dol­phins, monk seals and sea tur­tles. 2. It is against the law to ap­proach, chase, sur­round, touch or swim with marine mam­mals, in­clud­ing dol­phins. 3. If ap­proached by a marine mam­mal or tur­tle while on a boat, put the en­gine in neu­tral and al­low the an­i­mal to pass. 4. Do not ha­rass, swim with, hunt, cap­ture or kill any

marine mam­mal. 5. Feed­ing marine mam­mals is pro­hib­ited un­der

Fed­eral law. 6. To report sus­pected vi­o­la­tions, call the NOAA

En­force­ment Hot­line at 1-800-853-1964.

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