Megan Shute for Only In Your State on the beautiful Kealakekua Bay. Let us take you on the Hoku Nui to this beautiful bay for a memorable snorkel experience.
On the Kona coast of Hawaii Island, a dozen miles south of Kailua-Kona, sits a picturesque bay with crystalline turquoise waters and epic snorkeling. While Kealakekua Bay is no doubt absolutely jaw-dropping, it also happens to be one of the state’s most historic bays.
On January 17, 1779, Captain James Cook, of Great Britain, sailed into Kealakekua Bay. The native Hawaiian welcomed the Captain and his crew with open arms, believing them to be returning gods. A massive feast was held in their honor, however, a month later, upon realizing that the Captain and his crew were mere mortals, Cook was killed in a conflict.
One can certainly understand why the Hawaiians mistook the Captain as a god – he not only arrived during the religious festival of Makahiki, but Kealakekua translates to “the god’s pathway” in Hawaiian.
Approximately 99 years later, a 27-foot white obelisk was erected to honor the famous seafarer who first set foot on Kauai a year earlier. It is on the northern tip of the bay that you will find the iconic Captain Cook Monument.
To reach the monument, you can take a boat tour, paddle approximately a mile across the bay, or opt for a scenic, yet strenuous 4.25-mile hike.
If you opt to kayak, you should go through a tour group in order to procure a permit. Speaking of kayaking, the reef-filled bay is an incredible destination for water sports of all kinds: snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.
The sheltered bay is a marine life conservation district and is home to tropical fish and manta rays. It is even a known dolphin hangout.
The picturesque spot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 as the Kealakekua Bay Historical District.
On the eastern side of the bay, you will find the sacred Hikiau Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple dedicated to Lono, the god of fertility, agriculture, rainfall, music, and peace.
Kealakekua’s crystalline turquoise waters will entrance you, while the cliff faces surrounding the bay are sure to make a dreamer out of you.
While these 13 bays are also quite picturesque, they will never live up to Kealakekua’s beauty. If you are on Oahu, we think you’ll love Hanauma Bay, a world-class snorkeling destination that was recently named the best beach in America for 2016 by Dr. Beach.