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Keauhou Bay


Keauhou Bay is located in beautiful South Kona on the Island of Hawaii, fronting the Sheraton Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Sea Paradise is located just north of Keauhou Bay at the Keauhou Shopping Center. This historic area was the birthplace of King Kamehameha III in 1814. He was the second son of Kamehameha the Great, who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.

This area was once a hideaway for Hawaiian royalty and today, there are many restored heiau (Hawaiian temples) and sites in Keauhou that should be treated with the highest of respect.

If you’re looking for things to do in Hawaii, Keauhou Bay is best known for being a gathering place for manta rays. The graceful manta rays are harmless to humans and come out at night, feeding on plankton. Sea Paradise was one of the original manta ray tours in Hawaii, helping guests experience swimming with the Keauhou manta rays since 1985.

Kealakekua Bay


Snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay has always been one of the top things to do in Kona, Hawaii. But Kealakekua Bay is so much more than one of the best snorkel spots in Hawaii.

Located on the Kona Coast on Hawaii Island, a dozen miles south of Kailua-Kona, Kealakekua Bay area is home to many historical sites, like the ancient village of Ka‘awaloa and the Captain Cook Monument. In 1973, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places and was also named a Marine Life Conservation District.

Shielded from winds by Mauna Loa, Kealakekua Bay’s waters are calm and clear, making it perfect for Kona snorkeling. Plus, as a Marine Life Conservation District, its waters are full of colorful varieties of fish and sea life. Sea Paradise offers morning snorkel tours and afternoon snorkel tours to Kealakekua Bay departing from Keauhou. When it comes to things to do in Hawaii, snorkeling Kealakekua Bay should be at the top of the list.

Captain Cook Monument


Although there are theories that Spanish or Dutch sailors might have stopped here much earlier, the first documented European to arrive was Captain James Cook. He and his crew on the HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery sighted Kealakekua Bay on the morning of January 17, 1779. He estimated several thousand people lived in the two villages. On January 28, he performed the first Christian service on the islands at a funeral of a crew member.

“Ka’awaloa in 1779” by John Webber, artist aboard Cook’s ship, documents Cook entering the bay during the Hawaiian celebration Makahiki. This was a traditionally peaceful time of year, so he was welcomed and given food. Cook and his crew stayed for several weeks, returning to sea shortly after the end of the festival. After suffering damage during a storm, the ships returned two weeks later, on February 14. This time relations were not as smooth.

After the theft of one of Resolution’s small boats by a native Hawaiian, Cook attempted to lure Hawaiian chief Kalani’opu’u aboard to hold as hostage until the boat was returned. A skirmish ensued during which Cook was struck in the head and stabbed, near the spot where he had first set foot on the island. This death was depicted in a series of paintings “Death of Cook.”

A large white stone monument was built on the north shore of the bay in 1874 on the order of Princess Likelike and was deeded to the United Kingdom in 1877. The chain around the monument is supported by four cannons from the ship HMS Fantome, each placed with their breaches embedded in the rock in 1876. It marks the approximate location of Cook’s death.

The monument is unreachable by road; this remote location is only accessible by water or an hour-long hike along a moderately steep trail. Many visitors have rented kayaks and paddled across the bay, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from its southern end, however as of February 1, 2013 a moratorium prevents kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, surfboards and bodyboards from entering the bay. The pier at Napo’opo’o can be accessed down a narrow road off the Hawaii Belt Road. The beach sand was mostly removed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins frequent Kealakekua Bay, especially in the morning. The bay serves as a place for them to rest and feed, and as a nursery for mothers and their calves. Due to the calm water conditions, extensive coral reef, and thriving underwater life, Kealakekua Bay offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in Hawaii. The shallow waters adjacent to the monument are best for snorkeling and scuba diving. About 180 acres (0.73 km2) around the bay was designated a State Historic Park in 1967, and it was added as a Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 as site 73000651. The 315 acres (1.27 km2) of the bay itself were declared a Marine Life Conservation District in 1969.

Humpback Whales


During the winter months from about December to April, humpback whales can be spotted in the waters as you sail to your snorkel site.

North Pacific Humpback whales migrate from the Gulf of Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii every winter. Called “Kohala” in Hawaiian, humpback whales have great cultural significance to Native Hawaiians and should be treated with respect.

During whale watching season, we often see these Kohala, ranging from 40-50 feet and weighing up to 45 tons, breach the surface of the ocean, giving our Sea Paradise snorkel tour guests an unforgettable show. Book a Hawaii snorkeling package with Sea Paradise during the winter months and you may get a humpback whale watching tour included for free!



A manta ray night snorkel is an exhilarating experience, but you may ask, “What are manta rays and are they safe?” Called “Hahalua” in Hawaiian, manta rays are one of the largest animals in the ocean, ranging from 2 to 20 feet wide.

Manta rays are gentle giants of the sea and DO NOT have stingers so they are harmless to snorkelers. Manta rays come out at night year-round to catch microscopic plankton in their wide, cavernous mouths. Many manta rays reside in the Keauhou Bay area on the Kona Coast, at the dive site called, “Manta Ray Village.”

Sea Paradise offers manta ray snorkel tours to safely snorkel with these amazing creatures. Manta rays, attracted to the plankton that are drawn to the lights from the boat, gracefully glide and loop through the water, sometimes coming within inches of awe-struck visitors. Manta ray snorkeling with Sea Paradise is a once in a lifetime experience and is often the highlight of visitors’ trips to Hawaii.

Spinner Dolphins


The spinner dolphin is a small cetacean with a slim build. Adults are typically 129-235 cm long and reach a body mass of 23-79 kg. This species has an elongated rostrum and a triangular or sub-triangular dorsal fin. Spinner dolphins generally have tripartite color patterns.

The dorsal area is dark gray, the sides light gray, and the underside pale gray or white. Also, a dark band runs from the eye to the flipper, bordered above by a thin, light line. However, the spinner dolphin has more geographic variation in form and coloration than other cetaceans. In the open waters of eastern Pacific, dolphins have relatively small skulls with short rostra. A dwarf form of spinner dolphin occurs around southeast Asia.

In these same subspecies, a dark dorsal cape dims their tripartite color patterns. Further offshore, subspecies tend to have a paler and less far-reaching cape. In certain subspecies, some males may have upright fins that slant forward. Some populations of spinner dolphin found in the eastern Pacific have bizarre backwards-facing dorsal fins, and males can have strange humps and upturned caudal flukes.

In certain regions, such as Hawaii and northern Brazil, dolphins spend the daytime resting in shallow bays near deep water. At dusk, they travel offshore to feed. They travel along the shore during foraging trips, and the individuals that occupy the same bay may change daily. Some individual dolphins do not always go to a bay to rest; however, in Hawaii, dolphins do seem to return to the same site each trip.

Spinner dolphins live in an open and loose social organization. The spinner dolphins of Hawaii live in family groups, but also have associations with others beyond their group. Mothers and calves form strong social bonds. Spinner dolphins seem to have a promiscuous mating system, with individuals changing partners for up to some weeks. A dozen adult males may gather into coalitions.

Vocalizations of spinner dolphins include whistles, which may be used to organize the school, burst-pulse signals, and echolocation clicks. The spinner dolphin has a 10-month gestation period, and mothers nurse their young for one to two years. Females are sexually mature at four to seven years, with three-year calving intervals, while males are sexually mature at seven to 10 years. Breeding is seasonal, more so in certain regions than others.

Marine Sanctuary


Habitat conservation is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range. It is a priority of many groups that cannot be easily characterized in terms of any one ideology.

The MLCD (Marine Life Conservation District) extends from the highwater mark seaward to a line from Cook Point to Manini Beach Point. A line from Cook Point to the north end of Napo’opo’o Beach divides the district into Subzone A to the north and Subzone B to the south. Kealakekua Bay’s waters are nearly pristine, and its diversity of marine life is spectacular. The northern coastline is bordered by a sheer cliff (Pali-kapu-o-Keoua). On the pali’s face numerous lava tube openings are visible, some of which are ancient Hawaiian burial caves.

Permitted activities:
Within Subzone B only, to fish for, take, or possess any finfish with or by the use of hook-and-line and thrownet, provided that any legal fishing device or method except traps may be used for the taking of akule, `opelu, and crustaceans.
To possess in the water any knife and any shark billy, bang stick, powerhead, or carbon dioxide injector.
With a permit, to engage in activities otherwise prohibited by law for scientific, propagation, or other purposes.

Prohibited activities:
To fish for, take, or injure marine life (including eggs), except as indicated in “Permitted activities” above.
To take or alter any sand, coral, or other geological feature or specimen.
To engage or attempt to engage in fish feeding.
Note: anchoring of boats is prohibited in Subzone A. In Subzone B anchors may only be dropped onto sand, or in such a way as to avoid damage to coral.

The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. It is a member of the family Delphinidae of toothed whales.

Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the waterfront first and twists its body as it rises into the air. When it reaches its maximum height, the dolphin descends back into the water, landing on its side. A dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap; the swimming and rotational speed of the dolphin as it spins underwater affects the number of spins it can do while airborne. These spins may serve several functions. Dolphins may also make nose-outs, tail slaps, flips, head slaps, “salmon leaps”, and side and back slaps.