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Big Island in December - Questions and Recommendations

Big Island in December - Questions and Recommendations

Old Oct 13, 18, 8:24 pm
  #61  
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Thanks! I'll have to figure out what to do about rain gear as I really only have a cotton windbreaker for light jacket. I wear a rain mac in the city when needed but I would never bring that to Hawaii. I'm going to try and find an old 1940s USN waxed canvas anorak on eBay if I can. That should protect against rain but also be breathable enough that it's not a sweat box.

On a related note, I understand that Hilo is not really a 'beach destination' but the two main beaches look pretty enticing nonetheless... can we still swim/snorkel if the weather is rainy or is that generally not safe?

Also, should we anticipate normal rain on the Volcano side or are we talking torrential downpour?
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Old Oct 13, 18, 11:30 pm
  #62  
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
Thanks! I'll have to figure out what to do about rain gear as I really only have a cotton windbreaker for light jacket. I wear a rain mac in the city when needed but I would never bring that to Hawaii. I'm going to try and find an old 1940s USN waxed canvas anorak on eBay if I can. That should protect against rain but also be breathable enough that it's not a sweat box.

On a related note, I understand that Hilo is not really a 'beach destination' but the two main beaches look pretty enticing nonetheless... can we still swim/snorkel if the weather is rainy or is that generally not safe?

Also, should we anticipate normal rain on the Volcano side or are we talking torrential downpour?
If you're having trouble finding cheap / portable rain gear and don't want to haul it from the UK, after you land in KOA, take your rental car to the K-Mart, Walmart or Target in Kailua-Kona and pick something that's reasonable and gives you the option to leave it behind if you decide you don't want it. That being said, the rain you'll get on the Big Island is going to be a heck of lot warmer than anything that will blow in from the North Sea. Since you will most likely not need a rain coat on the Kona side anyway, you could wait until you get over to Hilo before picking out some coverings. Or buy a $1 umbrella from a dollar-type store.

If it is raining, the issue is more the runoff/effluent from the island could make the water less than healthy for swimming and then the turbidity of the water may make it very hard to see anything underwater anyway. And remember that both the lava and coral (if any) are sharp.

WRT Volcano and Hilo, you could also ask your hosts what they'd recommend.

David
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Old Oct 15, 18, 3:26 pm
  #63  
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Thanks so much David.

For the record, I live in San Francisco

Can anyone offer some advice for Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park + Captain Cook Monument?

We'd love to drive down from Mauna Kea Beach Hotel one morning to snorkel in the reefs but I've heard that there's some controversy surrounding that (overcrowded, people not respecting ecology of the reefs, etc). I understand there's a pretty rigorous hike in to access the monument, which we're only interested in getting to for the snorkeling opportunities. I'm admittedly not in the best shape; a couple of years of suffering from plantars fasciitis has wreaked havoc on my back and made it very difficult to do much exercise. I haven't really been on any extensive hikes for some time and I'm pretty out of shape. I've read about Kona Boys kayak rentals, which is something I might be interested in. My only concern is w/r/t safety in the open sea. I'm a seasoned lake paddler but not so with ocean and big waves. My wife is a novice. I'm also uncertain about the need for permits in the area and I certainly wouldn't want to participate in any activity that could jeopardize the coral and ocean life. I understand some locals are not happy with paddlers venturing out into the bay on their own as they've been causing irreparable damage to the reefs. I'd prefer to not go out with a guided tour because we're already planning to book a dolphin swim and evening manta ray snorkel and it's just too much (cost and time). I'd much rather explore the bay on our own, if that's a possibility. Can anyone give me some advice or more info that might help with this decision?

Thanks!

UPDATE: From all my research, I've decided to go with Kona Boys kayak rental (double for me and my wife) but I'm still uncertain whether we'd need a permit to paddle solo and I can't seem to figure out where the landing is. I've read that you are not allowed to enter the water from Nāpō’opo’o Pier. I've left a voicemail with Kona Boys but if anyone can answer these two questions, that would be a big help!

2nd UPDATE: According to gov website: "Visitors do NOT need to acquire their own permits when renting a kayak, but must confirm from the vessel owner that the vessel they rent possesses a valid permit for transiting the bay." I'm just waiting to hear from Kona Boys to verify that their rental kayaks are all permitted for transit in the bay. I've sent in a permit application form nonetheless, just to be extra safe. I still don't understand where we can actually access the water as it seems we're unable to use any of the landings in the bay. If anyone can answer this question, it would really be helpful. Thanks again.

Last edited by OliverB; Oct 15, 18 at 4:51 pm
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Old Oct 15, 18, 5:07 pm
  #64  
 
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The kayak rental company will provide you with the permit to enter the bay. You can NOT land at the monument but you can snorkel right in front of it. It is a very strictly enforced regulation that you may not land on the monument. Only certain tours are permitted to dock on the monument itself. With a rental, you just enter and exit the water directly from your kayak. Just tie the mooring rope from your kayak around your ankle so your kayak stays with you as you snorkel. So yes, you can access the water from your kayak but you can not land anywhere.

Edit: one more thing. That is quite long day to drive from Mauna Kea, sort out your kayaks, spend the day paddling out to the monument, snorkelling, paddling back to return kayaks and driving back up the coast. Kealakekua is in South Kona. That will be a long, tiring day.

Last edited by Finkface; Oct 15, 18 at 5:17 pm Reason: Added info
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Old Oct 15, 18, 6:07 pm
  #65  
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Thanks so much for clarifying; I just spoke with Kona Boys and confirmed this info as well!

I understand it will be a long day but we're spending a full week at the Mauna Kea and we definitely want to explore the South Kona coast so it's inevitable that we're going to be doing a lot of driving on this trip. The reason we're staying at MK for 7 nights is to ensure we have a good balance of active and leisure days. We'll just plan to leave the hotel early in the morning and from what I can see on Google Maps, it's approx. a one-hour drive to the kayak rental. I'm told the dock/landing is nearby (I forget the name of the beach but they said they'll provide detailed instructions and that it's easy to reach) and then it's about a mile paddle into the bay. If we get an early start (leave hotel before 8am) and spend several hours paddling and snorkeling in the bay, I think it can pleasantly be done. I'm working on a rough itinerary now and will post it when finished for feedback, logistical suggestions, etc. just to make sure it's efficient and sensible.

Btw, I've read that you can apply for landing permits and the gov issues 10 per day.

Could you please explain how this works and what that essentially means?

Thanks again!!

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jul 22, 19 at 5:39 am Reason: consecutive posts merged
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Old Oct 15, 18, 6:23 pm
  #66  
 
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
Btw, I've read that you can apply for landing permits and the gov issues 10 per day.

Could you please explain how this works and what that essentially means?

Thanks again!!
If you want to land at the monument, you must take a guided tour offered by one of only three authorized vendors. You cannot land at the monument unless you are on one of these special guided tours. As I said above, you cannot land at the monument just by renting a private kayak rental. It is very strictly enforced.

Division of State Parks | Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park

KA‘AWALOA (KEALAKEKUA BAY) PERMITS FOR 2018-2019
In order to access the land at or visit Ka’awaloa Flat (the location of the Captain Cook Monument), visitors have only two options:

Hike from the uplands via the historic Ka’awaloa Trail.
Take a guided kayak tour through one of the three permitted commercial vendors listed on this page.

Transiting the bay by individuals is allowed so long as the vessel has a valid permit (both private and commercial rental vessels). Permitted vessels are prohibited from landing at Ka’awaloa flat, or launching from Napo’opo’o wharf. Visitors do NOT need to acquire their own permits when renting a kayak, but must confirm from the vessel owner that the vessel they rent possesses a valid permit for transiting the bay.

There are currently 3 authorized kayak tour companies that may launch from the Napo’opo’o wharf and land at Ka’awaloa – with strict requirements that include site stewardship and the management, containment and subsequent removal of any human waste while at Ka’awaloa Flat.
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Old Oct 15, 18, 6:31 pm
  #67  
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Oh I understand that and I think it's great that this is being enforced. I'm not interested in landing at the monument, however, I'm a bit confused by this landing permit application:
http://sbhawaii.com/hawaii/kona/keal...ing_permit.pdf

It indicates that non-commercial vessels (incl rentals) can apply for a landing permit and that only 10 permits are issued per day.

I'm not suggesting that this refers to landing at the monument; in fact, I'm trying to figure out what it means. Is this just an outdated form?

Thanks again!!

To answer my own question: it's an outdated form, which is why I was confused. The above process is no longer in place.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jul 22, 19 at 5:41 am Reason: consecutive posts merged
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Old Nov 27, 18, 7:37 pm
  #68  
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We're leaving in a little over a day (Thursday morning to be precise) and I can't wait!

I should have posted this sooner but any input or comments on the attached itinerary would be appreciated; it looks pretty packed (I'm OCD about travel plans, lol) but really, it's just a rough guideline and the only things we're locked into are the tours we've booked and dinner reservations. I'd love to read your thoughts.
Attached Files
File Type: docx
Big Island Itinerary.docx (2.00 MB, 47 views)
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Old Nov 27, 18, 11:27 pm
  #69  
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OCD, no kidding. BTW, it's 'shave ice' (no 'd'). Locals have killed for that, I believe.
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Old Jul 21, 19, 10:43 pm
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OP, how was the manta ray snorkel? Which tour operator did you go with?
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