Somehow we tend to luck out when booking tours on vacation. We have at several times arrived to discover we are the only people with reservations, meaning we essential get a private outing! This is what happened with our whale watching tour through Kona Ocean Adventures. I was expecting a small group of six, including us, but we were pleasantly surprised!
In addition to seeing lava, I really wanted to spot some whales during our Hawaii trip. They migrate to the Hawaiian islands from November to about April, so we’ve never seen them during our trips; all of my visits to Hawaii have been in September.
I had no idea what to expect from our whale watching tour. I was told that if we happen to not see any whales we could go back out with them another day, so that made me nervous that the tour wouldn’t be worth the $130 per person price tag.
But we got so much more than we were expecting, though I wasn’t able to capture much of it on my camera. (More on that later.)
The first part of the tour involved heading away from shore for a while. I will say I was not expecting how bumpy it would be, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to ride on a boat while pregnant. You can always ask them to go a bit slower, though.
We quickly spotted a whale and her calf.
Then we heard a call over the radio that there was a manta ray feeding frenzy nearby. Our captain asked if we were interested in seeing it and we quickly said yes. When we arrived, she asked if G wanted to swim with them, too. He quickly grabbed his snorkeling gear and jumped in the water. The captain gives tips on how to swim with them. The mantas are used to people, from what we were told. I, too, quickly got into the water to peek underneath the surface and see them swim from afar. It’s an incredible sight!
After a while, we moved on. We next heard a radio call about spinner dolphins and instantly said yes to seeing them, too. Only one other boat had discovered the dolphins, so it was not crowded with people at all. It was amazing! I have never in my life seen so many dolphins at once, and they were quite active!
I had to take the opportunity to swim with them as well. As soon as you pop your head underwater you can hear them. You might even hear whales nearby as well. We spent quite a bit of time snorkeling here, though I only lasted a few minutes. In my current pregnant state I don’t have the energy to swim for as long as before, though using a noodle helps.
After our dolphin snorkel we went back to whale watching. We traveled pretty far north of the coast and even made it to where we could see Maui! This is where we spotted a breaching whale from afar. I was unable to capture photos because it happens to quickly and unexpectedly.
We also saw a shark fin!
As you can see, our whale watching was much more than just whales. It went from a two-hour tour to one that lasted more than three hours! However, had we not also been able to snorkel I would not have thought this was worth the money. But the unexpected adventures made this adventure worth it! It’s one of our favorite memories of the trip!
Have you been on a whale watching tour?
Note: If you’re pregnant you should check with your doctor about what is safe for you to do. Every pregnancy and person is different.
Watch a video of our whale watching and snorkeling tour: