Sailing the Kona Coast on the Big Island

By Hawaii.com Team

One of the best ways to fully experience the fabled attributes of sailing the Kona Coast is to book a catamaran or sailboat tour and spend some time snorkeling.

The Kona Coast is a fine place to sail, protected as it is from the prevailing, blustery east-northeast tradewinds by thee 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. During the day, the heating of the landmass by the sun causes warm air to rise, pulling the ‘Kona Breeze’ in off the ocean, and providing the gentle winds for sea breeze sailing.

At Pawai Bay when you put on your snorkel gear and join the fish, you won’t have to look hard to find a variety of reef fish swimming through coral encrusted lava formations. Sometimes huge manta rays, spotted eagle rays and green sea turtles appear in the bay, which is inaccessible by car and protected by government regulations.

There isn’t much ‘white knuckle’ sailing on this tour nor do you have to be an accomplished swimmer or diver to enjoy the trip. In fact, many charters specialize in non-swimmers and first-time snorkelers. Many offer daily morning and afternoon snorkeling tours and some provide beverages, snorkeling equipment and half-day, full-day, sunset or personalized sails.

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