Imagine swimming in clear water that shimmers in alluring shades of blue. A few feet below sits a thriving coral reef that’s home to schools of colorful fish. This is what awaits at Kealakekua Bay when you head out on a snorkel tour with Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Cruises.

“A common comment we get from guests is that it was the best part of their vacation,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Penn Henderson, who’s been with Fair Wind for 16 years. “Often times, people visit Hawai‘i and simply enjoy the beach and pool at their resort. But once people actually decide to take a snorkel cruise, they’re blown away with everything from the beautiful coastline sights while cruising to the magnificent underwater world they get to experience while snorkeling. Plus they’re getting breakfast and lunch, and get to learn a little bit about Hawai‘i’s history from our knowledgeable crew.”

Fair Wind is coming up on nearly 50 years of serving visitors and residents, and has had time to perfect the snorkel tours and optimize their vessels. They offer four ocean cruises—three daytime snorkel cruises to various locations, and an evening manta ray snorkel adventure.

“For first time snorkelers, we always recommend going out on the Fair Wind II vessel to Kealakekua Bay,” says Henderson. “It’s a large boat with easy access stairs to the water. Plus, there’s no better place than Kealakekua Bay, which is renown for its calm and clear waters with abundant marine life.

“We encounter all sorts of wonderful things during our cruises!” he adds. “Depending on the season, we’ll see whales, dolphins and turtles. While snorkeling, it’s pretty much a showcase of various fishes in a kaleidoscope of colors. Sometimes we’ll see eels and octopus too.”

Henderson says they provide a lot of education about what it means to be eco-friendly and eco-conscious, and how guests can take specific steps in their everyday lives to make a difference. He adds, “One of the big things right now is educating people about the importance of using only reef-safe sunscreen and/or covering up with UV clothing when possible. In fact, starting this year, our guests are no longer allowed to use anything but reef-safe sunscreen that only contain zinc and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.”

As of press time, something new and exciting is in the works for Fair Wind.

“We’re very excited to be launching new tours later in 2020 that will provide guests with the opportunity to partake in actual scientific research on the reef and marine life,” shares Henderson. “Documenting the health of coral, taking water samples, identifying fish populations, etc. These will be smaller charters with one-on-one interactions with marine life experts. So stay tuned!”

An exciting ocean adventure is one thing, but Henderson adds that “One of the biggest takeaways for our guests after a snorkel tour is their newfound understanding and appreciation for the environment.” Enjoy an eye-opening experience in more ways than one with Fair Wind!

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