Is this the best way to see the Kona Coast?
Yes, the very best.
Can I bring my camera along?
Yes! There are excellent photo opportunities throughout each tour. However, Sea Quest strongly recommends either a waterproof camera or GoPro. Sea Quest rents top of the line GoPro HERO5 at check in. You may reserve and pay for one when making your reservation via the website.
I really want to do the DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER, but I’ve never snorkeled before. Can I go?
Unlike our other tours which focus on snorkeling over a coral reef, the DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER is a wild dolphin swim combined with a coral reef snorkel. A first time snorkeler would be okay for the reef snorkel portion of the tour; however, it could be challenging for the wild dolphin swim portion. On our other day snorkel tours there is plenty of time for one on one instruction. Because of the nature of our wild dolphin swims, the snorkeler has to be ready to slide into the water equipped with all necessary snorkeling gear when it is safest for the dolphins. It becomes difficult to ensure that our guests are having a comfortable first snorkeling experience. That said, snorkeling itself is not difficult. If you are a first time snorkeler and want to swim with dolphins, then we suggest a few practice sessions in either a pool or at the beach to become proficient and acclimated to breathing through the snorkel and kicking with fins. Finally, as we are visitng with the dolphins in their natural habitat the water depth could be 10 feet or 310 feet (in which case you won’t see the bottom). For this reason, it is best that you are comfortable swimming in deep, open ocean water for this particular tour.
Where is the third snorkel spot on the Expedition South Kona tour?
In addition to Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau, we have selected several secluded snorkeling locations for the third spot on our Expedition South Kona tour. These snorkel sights are less protected than Kealakekua and Honaunau; therefore, your captain will select the third snorkel sight on the day of the tour based on the prevailing conditions. Regardless of the location the captain selects that day, you’ll know you will be in areas typically not snorkeled by any other tour companies and that you wouldn’t have visited any other way.
What are the chances that the trip will be canceled due to poor weather or sea conditions?
This is very rare as the Kona Coast is blessed with the best weather, least rain, and calmest seas in the state. The occasional gloomy sky can quickly turn sunny as well. For this reason, should the need arise, Sea Quest reserves the right to determine whether or not the trip will be canceled at the scheduled time of departure. If the trip is canceled, you may reschedule for a later date (subject to availability) or receive a refund.
What if I make a reservation and then my plans change?
Since we do not overbook our vessels and we specialize in small groups, Sea Quest enforces a 48 hour cancellation policy. As long as you cancel your reservation at least 48 hours prior to your tour, you will receive a full refund. If you need to reschedule, we ask that you do so 48 hours prior to your tour as well to avoid a penalty. This gives us an opportunity to rebook your seats.
How far in advance should I make reservations?
We suggest at least a week ahead unless you will be here during one of the busiest seasons (Summer, Spring Break, and the Holidays). During these busy times, Sea Quest can book up a few weeks in advance. You are welcome to make your reservation as far ahead as you like. For large groups, advance reservations are strongly recommended regardless of your season of travel.
I get seasick sometimes. Will I get sick on this raft trip?
We have fewer problems with seasickness than regular boats and large catamarans because of the open air, fast-moving nature of our vessels. We don’t have that swaying motion that can sometimes cause problems on a large catamaran. However, while the rafts will affect far fewer guests, there are still people who are strongly susceptible and will become seasick no matter what. We suggest an over-the-counter medication for those people to ensure a fun adventure.
How deep is it? Can I stand up?
The best snorkeling is found in 5-10 feet of water. Kealakekua and Honaunau Bays feature beautiful coral bottoms. However, to stand would damage the fragile coral you have come to see – not to mention your feet. If you would feel more comfortable wearing a snorkel vest for added floatation, just ask. You’ll float like a cork!
How do I get in and out of the raft?
Getting into the water is easy – just slide over the side. Thanks to a substantial aluminum ladder, getting back in is also easy. And the Captain and crew are there to help.
Can I bring a regular camera?
Yes. This is not white water rafting. Some people even bring video cameras! That said, Sea Quest rents GoPro cameras at our check in location. You may reserve one ahead of time when you make your reservation on our website!
What about bathrooms?
There are no bathrooms on board for our trips; however, we like to say we have the world’s largest restroom available. With that in mind, we suggest you plan ahead and use the facilities near our check in location before you depart. Once onboard, your first opportunity to get into the water will be approximately 30-40 minutes into the trip.
Does Sea Quest provide full face snorkeling masks?
What if we have our own snorkel gear?
If you have equipment that you are comfortable with, feel free to bring it if you like! The snorkel gear we keep onboard is excellent- silicone masks, dry snorkels with purge valves, etc. For your protection, we sanitize the equipment after each use. There is no discount for providing your own equipment.
What is meant by a prescription mask?
These special masks are designed for people who are near-sighted and come in varying strengths. For those who wear glasses, a prescription mask can greatly enhance their snorkeling experience. For those who wear contacts, a special mask isn’t needed. Contacts can be safely worn with a snorkel mask.
What about shade?
The MANTA RAIV and LILIKOI both offer shade and are typically used on our DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER and EXPEDITION SOUTH KONA snorkel tours, but on occasion may also be used on our other snorkel tours. Our other rafts do not have a canopy which increases the number of caves we can explore along the coast. We suggest our guests bring along and apply beforehand a waterproof and environmentally friendly sunscreen, or wearing a rash guard or paddle shirt. We have both available for purchase. For some guests, a hat might be a good idea too. Just make sure it won’t blow off and end up in the ocean. If you take the proper precautions, you can easily avoid overexposure. Kona weather typically is cloudy in the afternoon, so those who are very concerned will often choose our 3 hour CAPTAIN COOK EXPRESS.
I'm a vegetarian. What do your snacks include?
The snacks we serve on our tours vary by trip, but none include meat. The EXPEDITION SOUTH KONA and BLUE OCEAN DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER tours serve a deli lunch which includes a sandwich that does include meat. With advance notice, we order a Vegetarian, Vegan, or Gluten-free lunch. We also offer juices and water for your refreshment. For your safety, Sea Quest is a non-alcoholic adventure.
Will I see dolphins or whales?
Dolphins are frequently seen (more than half the time) on Sea Quest Adventures, but we can’t guarantee them. When we do encounter them, they have been known to approach the raft or surf the wake our engines create. We also will often encounter pilot whales – a smaller species of whale that reside here year round. During Humpback whale season (late December – April), there is a good chance you’ll spot one or more of these giants.
I'm not a strong swimmer and my wife doesn't swim at all. Is this something we can do?
Definitely! All you do to snorkel is float on the surface and look down at the beauty below. You might be surprised at how buoyant you are in salt water. It’s quite different than a lake or a pool. We also have plenty of flotation devices such as snorkel vests and foam pool noodles for extra floatation to put you at ease so that you can enjoy the view. Standing on the ladder is a great place to start. Once you feel comfortable, you can paddle off. However, this does not apply to either the Night Manta Experience or the Dolphin Encounter. Both of these tours require that you be a strong swimmer with snorkeling experience. Feel free to call us to elaborate.
I've never snorkeled before. Will you show me how?
Our specialty! We are frequently recommended for beginners and non-swimmers as we specialize in small groups. Everyone on board gets lots of individual attention and help. However, this applies to our daytime tours only. Snorkeling experience is mandatory on our Dolphin Encounter & Night Manta Experience.
Why do you depart from Keauhou Bay?
Keauhou Bay is the closest commercial boat harbor to the snorkel sites; therefore, you spend more time snorkeling, exploring the coastline, and observing marine mammals and less time just getting there.
How does Sea Quest help protect the ocean?
We envision and work to create a culture that protects and promotes a healthy ocean capable of sustaining life on the planet for years to come. Please visit our stewardship page for details.