Monday, March 1, 2010

Kayaking Kealakekua Bay

One of the most popular South Kona tourist activities is kayaking across Kealakekua Bay to the Captain Cook monument.  The bay is an absolutely beautiful place to snorkel and swim.  It is a marine life sanctuary and boasts some of the clearest water and healthiest reef in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, this pristine environment has started to show signs of wear and destruction due to rampant and uncontrolled use.  

This brings up a question that continuously haunts the State: how to encourage responsible tourism whilst protecting our precious environment.  For years the plan to control kayaking across the bay has been discussed.  Kayaking – like snorkeling - can be damaging to the reef because inexperienced visitors touch/step on/drag boats across the reef, killing the coral.  Finally, the talk has turned into action and as of February 23, 2010, kayaking will only be allowed with a permit in Kealakekua Bay.  This is a wise move by the State and will ensure the reef has time to heal.  Visitors shouldn’t be discouraged by this.  It will be safer and more fun to go as part of a small guided tour, anyway.  This is a historical area and there’s loads of information that would be missed going it alone.  Here are the details:

Permit applications are available online at:

Completed applications can be emailed to:

Faxed to: 808.974.6222

Information line: 808.974.6206


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