Captain Zodiac - Kona Hawaii’s most experienced rafting company - invites you to join us to tour Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii’s finest marine snorkel preserve and the site of Captain Cook's Monument.

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During our adventure we often sight marine life and this becomes a part of the tour. The captains will share their knowledge of the type of marine life, their habits and they will describe the type of activity and possible reasons why.

We have a resident population of Hawaiian spinner dolphins that frequent our shores. We see them most of the time. It is rare not to see the spinner dolphins, but occasionally there is that rare day so we can not say everytime! The dolphins are a marine mammal and are protected under the marine mammal protection laws. They are a curious animal and it is quite common for them to seek out our boats, play in our wake and perform aerial acrobatics. Usually when the dolphins come along side they actually "put" on a show for us! Hawaiian spinner dolphins get their name because of the aerial acrobatics they perform. They can jump 10 to 12 feet above the water often doing a "corkscrew" type spin. They also will do tail over head flip, slap the waters with their tails, swim upside down and at times they appear that they are actually trying to splash our passengers! We have been doing these tours for almost 30 years and still never tire of interacting with the dolphins!

Another animal we encounter are the humpback whales. They are awesome! Every year they migrate from the cold Alaskan waters to Hawaii. They come here to mate and have their calves. During the mating seasons the males will "show off" to impress and win over the females. This gives us opportunities to see the many activities during this mating phase. The 40+ ton males will breach (almost completely jump out of the water and spin), slap the water with their flukes (tails), head butt each other and slap the water with their pectoral fins several times (as many as 50 -60 repeated slaps on the water). When several males are involved they will carry on in this manner while the female will watch from a distance. The most impressive gets the female!

When the mother gives birth she is usually accompanied by an escort and they will help the calf along while it learns to breathe, swim and eat. The calves will generally start experimenting their skills of breaching shortly after birth and that gives us a lot of above the surface whale watching.

The experience of watching 40+ foot and 40+ ton whales from a 24 foot Zodiac raft is something you will never forget! We do follow the laws of stopping 100+ yards away from these magnificent animals, but it is not uncommon for them to be curious about us and come right under the boat! Do not worry they are non-aggressive to us and our rafts do not intimidate them or scare them away. It is an adrenaline rush when we have close encounters!

The zodiacs are the perfect craft for observing these animals.

1. They are fast so that enables us to get to the whales quickly when we see their activity level increase. The speed also enables us to see different pods of whales when the pods are spread out. Slower boats tend to find one whale and stay with it the whole tour.

2. We are at water level so you are RIGHT THERE when the whales are around us, not 15 feet above them. We have even felt the mist of their blows.

3. The whales are not intimidated by our smaller quieter boats.

4. The captain and crew are right there with you in the small group of passengers and they will be explaining the various activities you are viewing!

5. We have hydrophone listening devices on board and when the whales are singing you will hear the incredible humpback whale songs LIVE!

Besides lots and lots of colorful fish and corals we also see turtles, flying fish, manta rays, pilot whales and even occasional whale sharks are among the many other marine animals we see above the surface of the ocean. Photo opportunities abound and video cameras are the best for filming the marine life around the calm waters of Kailua-Kona.



A Real Treasure