Fair Wind Cruises

Phone (808) 322-2788
5 stars from 5 reviews
Address 78-7130 Kaleiopapa St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Fair Wind Cruises offers morning and afternoon snorkeling cruises, Manta Ray night snorkel, SNUBA and group and private charters on Big Island.

• General: Cost: Paid • General: Equipment Rentals
• Tours: Boat & Submarine • Water Activities: Boats / Sailboats
• Water Activities: Snorkeling • Water Activities: Snuba
• Water Activities: SUP

Full Description
Fair Wind Cruises offers 4 types of snorkel cruises on two different catamarans, Fair Wind II and Hula Kai.

The Fair Wind II offers the Morning Snorkel Cruise & BBQ and the Afternoon Snorkel Cruise at the Kealakekua Bay. The morning cruise departs Keauhou Bay at 9:00 AM and returns at 1:30 PM. It includes breakfast, BBQ lunch, snorkel gear & instruction, underwater view boxes, inner tubes and flotation devices, two 15-foot water slides and dive platform. It also has no-host bar, personalized video and SNUBA at extra cost. The afternoon cruise departs Keauhou Bay at 2:00 PM and returns at 5:30 PM.

Hula Kai offers Deluxe Morning Snorkel Cruise and Manta Night Snorkel. The Deluxe Morning Snorkel Cruise on Hula Kai takes 5 hours and includes tropical breakfast buffet, BBQ lunch, two snorkeling destinations, snorkel gear & instruction, flotation gear & viewing boxes, SUP. It also offers no host bar, SNUBA, and sea rockets.

Their Manta Night Snorkel adventure is offered at night for the best viewing of the manta rays feeding on plankton. The Manta Night Snorkel adventure is booked up every night. It's recommended that you book the trip at least one week in advance.

Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
Fair Wind Cruises have been around for over 40 years, and they know how to bring the goods. They expertly combine fun, food, education, activities, and perhaps partying.

The Hula Kai is comfortable yacht, arguably the fastest tour boat that departs from Keauhou Bay. The “Hula Kai” is large and spacious and it can fit over 60 people. There was plenty of room for our tour group of about 20 people as it was a low season. Nobody was bumping into each other or fighting for space. I can tell this is a new vessel because everything feels new. The seats are comfortable and shaded on the upper and lower deck, which is a necessity for haoles like me.

We were cruising along really quickly and you could hardly feel it since the boat was smooth. This is really impressive, since a storm had recently passed, and the swells were somewhat large.

We came across a pod of pilot whales while on our way to Kealakekua Bay. I spoke to the captain later, and he told me that one of the other boat captains had spotted them and gave him a heads up to check them out. I love to hear about that type of comradely between the captains. In a way, it makes you feel safe that the other boats are there to help each other.

Now unfortunately, my experience was different than the others I came with on this trip. The day before, I was checking out the conditions at a snorkel spot called Two Steps in Honaunau Bay, when a wave knocked me down and I scraped up my knee and shin. It was bad enough that I couldn’t go in the water and risk a staph infection. So lucky me got to sit on the boat and watch everyone else jump in the water and have fun.

However, I’ve swum at Kealakekua Bay several times, and I can tell you this – It’s one of the most beautiful spots to snorkel in Hawaii. The variety of sea life is spectacular, with an abundance of curiously tame fish. The reef is colorful, although recently some of the corals are turning white or “bleaching” because of changing environmental conditions. I’ve heard it was because of the unseasonably warm waters due to the 2015 El Niño, but I’m no expert. I do know this – corals are known to bounce back over time when water and environmental conditions allow.

My inability to swim with my group allowed for an opportunity to watch behind the stage at how Fair Wind runs the show. First thing I notice is that there are always eyes in the water looking out for their guests. The captain and the crew that remained on the boat were keeping a guarded eye on the groups.

Captain Kirk – that’s his real name – shared stories of his 2 decades taking groups out around the bay. You can tell that he enthusiastically loves his job. It was funny to watch his crew push him off the boat after lunch. On the surface, it looks like it would be fun to captain a tour boat. But no doubt, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to make it seem everything go smoothly.
SNUBA and snorkel gear needs to be checked, the food needs to be prepared, the boat needs to be properly maintained and cleaned, the Sea Rockets need to be charged, etc.

Since Fair Wind is one of the oldest tour companies on the Big Island, they were grandfathered in to secure their boat to a mooring at the Captain Cook Momument. All other tour boats are not allowed to drop an anchor for risk of damaging the reef, but Fair Wind does have the privilege to secure the boat with a rope to a concrete block about a hundred yards away from the Captain Cook Monument.

The food on the Hula Kai is more impressive than the other tour boats. Most of the tours offer sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks. The Hula Kai is equipped with a grill allowing hamburgers, chicken, and veggie burgers to be cooked up. In my opinion, the Hula Kai wins for “Tour Boat with the Best Breakfast AND Lunch on Kealakekua Bay.” I mean, they have an on-board grill, for goodness sake!

On the way back, Captain Kirk made a good effort to find humpback whales, but it was too early in the migration season. The ride back was smooth, with epic views of crashing waves on the coastline.

Loved the experience. The crew with Fair Wind was able to balance professionalism, safety and fun. The food wasn’t bad either.
Consensus Guy
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 11148
Likes Received: 27
Fair Wind received an overall rating of 4.5 stars from over 100 reviews.
Pauly A
Joined: Nov 2015
Reviews: 4
Likes Received: 1
The 60' Hula Kai was the largest boat of the several tours I booked. It was the most comfortable...clean, really comfy seating, ample shade and upper and lower decks. Even if you chose not to go into the water, this craft afforded a pleasurable way to spend several hours.

Captain and crew were polite, efficient and competent. They served us a fresh and delicious breakfast. It was nice to have the choice of snorkeling before eating or eating before snorkeling; this cut down on the line to eat. Lunch was served after our second snorkel. Wow! They had a grill on board! Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, teriyaki chicken, even vegetarian burgers. And with all the trimmings. Salads too. When you're in the water and the aroma wafts by you...well, hard to decide to stay with the beautiful fish or head for the food. And nice to be able to shower off the salt water after getting out of the ocean.

Extra special was the opportunity to hop on the stand up paddleboard they had (free) or trying out the SNUBA or motorized "travel" device (not free).

And last, but certainly not least, were the lavatories on board. That really makes a difference on a long boat ride!

We cruised around looking for whatever might be out there and were so lucky to come across a pod of pilot whales and a pod of dolphins.

This is a really comfortable boat to spend several hours on. The only reason I'm not giving the tour 5 stars is my purely personal preference for small, less crowded tours. If you're ok with bigger and more folks, this is the way to go. Would I book with them again? Yes.
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 168
Likes Received: 4
We went on the Deluxe Morning Snorkel Cruise aboard their 50 foot catamaran, Hula Kai and departed from the Keauhou Bay. It was helmed by the real life “Captain Kirk” and a fun crew. The Hula Kai is their newest boat and it can accommodate over 60 passengers but we probably had about a half that on our tour. The seats were the most comfortable of all the boats we have been on and the ride was very smooth. There were ample shaded seats too.

When we arrived at the first snorkeling site, they served breakfast with croissant, muffin sized egg frittata, yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits. It was yummy! After the breakfast, we snorkeled on the right side of the Captain Cook Monument. I’ve never snorkeled on that side so it was nice to see a different area.

After that, Captain Kirk took us out to the sea to look for humpback whales but we didn’t see them as it was early in the migration season. However, we discovered a small pod of pilot whales which was a big treat for me because I have never seen them in person.

Because of high surf, we weren’t able to explore another snorkel spot the boat would normally visit. So instead, we returned Kealakekua bay at the Captain Cook Monument for our second snorkel site. By the time we came back, most of the snorkel tour boats were gone. By the end of our tour, Hula Kai was the only boat. It was so nice to be able to have the whole area to ourselves for over an hour.

I saw a moray eel about 4 feet long swim in the exposed area above the reef instead of hiding in the rocks. The eel swam for a long time and I was able to follow it for about 3 minutes before it swam out to the area that we were not supposed to go. The eel must have felt that it was safe to come out with nobody around in the water. And I didn’t dive down to get close to it with my camera. I just floated over the eel and swam with it. When it was time to get back on the boat, I ended up being the last one snorkeling – it was so beautiful I didn’t want to get out.

Back on board the boat, they served us BBQ lunch with shoyu marinated chicken, hamburger, veggie burger and salad. They actually have a BBQ grill that they cook the meat. I think they must serve the best food on all the snorkel tours. We ate directly in front of the Captain Cook Monument.

The Hula Kai seemed like a party cruise for me. It wasn’t like a rowdy party cruise but more like “put you in a good party mood” type of cruise. They had fun music playing the whole time and the crew were jumping in of the bow and pushing each other in the water. We could also cannonball off the boat.

They provided free SUP “Stand Up Paddle boards” if you felt like trying them out. For an extra fee, you can have an instructor take you SNUBA diving or rent a “Sea Rocket”. SNUBA is similar to SCUBA, but the tank is on the surface, and you breathe from a 30 foot tube. The Sea Rocket is a propulsion device that will scoot you quickly around in the water.

The crew was conscientious about the safety of the passengers, and made sure everyone was instructed properly. They had one of the crew in the water on a sea rocket to patrol and make sure we were safe. When we were back on the boat, a crew member would come around and check our name off a list to make sure nobody was left behind.

We were on Big Island for a week and it was a fun way to end our trip with a big smile.
Joined: Oct 2015
Reviews: 5
Likes Received: 1
Morning snorkel with “Hula Kai”, the Big Island’s newest snorkel vessel according to their website, was the most comfortable cruise so far in Kealakekua bay snorkel. It was really smooth ride with for faster speeds.

I sat in the front at first but it was a bit too sunny so I moved to the shade. It was a very comfortable seat with enough space.

They offered the various activities such as Stand-up Paddle boards, SNUBA, and Sea rockets. Also, the amount of time you can be in the ocean snorkeling was the longest with this cruise. So those who want to snorkel as long as possible, this cruise is the one for you. Although this morning snorkel doesn’t come with dolphin encounter, we were able to see a pod of dolphins in Kealakekua Bay. Not only that, we were very lucky to see many pilot whales.

Captain and the crew made sure that we could enjoy as many sea animals as possible. One thing I would request is turning off the music when we see whales or dolphins as some of us want to be in tune with them.

Throughout the cruising, all the staff was friendly, attentive, and helpful.

Also, their breakfast and lunch were the most delicious too. Breakfast was tropical breakfast buffet. BBQ lunch after a long snorkel was truly a wonderful treat. They asked us to use only one plastic cup with your name on it for your drinks. This shows that they care about our environment.

After the cruise, I dropped my slipper in the water when I was landing. Immediately, one of the crew lay on his stomach and stretched his arm to pick my slipper. I was so grateful for his help.

If I were asked which cruise I would come back with my family, I would definitely chose this one. So far, this offers the best value for each category.

I highly recommend this cruise, especially for those who value comfort, safety, good food, and various optional activities.
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