Check in at shop at 7:30am, meet at the harbor at 7:45, launch at 8am.
Snorkeling experience and the ability to swim at least 100 feet.
Snacks, drinks, and towels.
Our whale watch and dolphin charter is an advanced snorkel and freediving charter that puts you on the water with some incredible cetaceans. Join us in the morning as we search for humpback whales & Hawaiian spinner dolphins and several other interesting species. Occasionally we’ll find other rare marine life offshore.
This charter requires confident swimming skills, and launches early in the morning. The dolphins are very active animals, and often we have to swim 50-200 feet away from the boat in water that is 50+ feet deep. We launch early because the dolphins are nocturnal animals, and there is limited opportunity in the morning to interact with them before they begin resting.
Law prohibits swimming with humpback whales, but they treat us to spectacular displays at the surface. We often see breaches, pec slaps, and lots of tail flukes. A photographer's dream!Book Now
$139 per snorkeler
Can I book online?
Yes! Please use any of the ‘Book Now’ buttons to book online via FareHarbor. We ask you to call to book the manta and blackwater charters, due to dive prerequisites.
How long is the charter?
Our Dolphin charter launches at 8am and returns around noon.
What should I bring on the boat?
For day charters, we recommend sun protection and whatever personal items you need. There are dry storage areas on each of our boats. If you’re bringing your own dive gear, our crew will set it up, but we recommend a mesh gear bag to keep everything organized. Cameras are allowed (and encouraged!) and we have freshwater rinse buckets. Ultimately, we recommend bringing as little as possible on the boat, as space can be limited.
What should I do if I’ve never snorkeled before? Can I still go on the dolphin snorkel?
For your safety, we aren’t able to take guests out on the open ocean for our snorkel charters without prior snorkeling and swimming experience. There are many places within 15-30 minutes of our dive shop that are ideal for snorkeling practice. We do rent full snorkel packages for you to practice. Just stop by the shop and we’ll get you set up.
How big are your boats? Do they have bathrooms?
We have several boats. Our largest three, the Honu Iki, Kahanuola, and Moana’olapa are each 36’ dive boats that can accommodate up to 18 guests. The Moana’luu is a 28’ dive boat, and the Nai’a is a 27’ RIB for snorkel and whale watch charters. Our larger boats (the Iki and Kahanuola) have marine heads.
How do I get back on the boat?
All of our vessels have marine ladders that you climb to get back on the boat. If you are diving, you may remove your gear in the water and our crew will bring it aboard. On some of our boats, it is required that you remove your gear in the water.
May I check in for my charter earlier in the day?
Yup! Our shop is open from 8am to 6pm, every day. You can stop by anytime before your charter to check-in. For some morning charters, it is required that you check-in the day before. If you do check in between 10am-1pm, we offer a 15% discount on any merchandise in our retail shop.
If I’m staying in Waikaloa how long is the drive to Kona?
If you’re staying up north, the drive takes 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Certain times of day have particularly bad traffic, and the road to Kona is currently under construction. Please call us if you’re curious what drive time is like from other parts of the island.
Can I check in at the boat, or do I need to come to the dive shop?
We require guests check-in at our shop for gear fitting, waivers, directions, etc.
Can I bring a camera? Do you rent cameras?
Big Island Divers does not rent GoPros or other camera equipment. You are welcome to bring and use your own camera on any of our charters. We ask that when using pole mounts with your underwater camera that you be respectful of sea life and do not touch, harass, or damage any animals or other marine life with your camera equipment.
How much should I tip?
If you enjoyed your time with us gratuities are greatly appreciated. Most guests leave around $20 per person.
Do you offer transportation / pickup / shuttle service?
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any transportation services between local hotels, our shop, or the harbor. Guests are required to come to the shop to check-in for their charters, we will provide a map to the harbor, and guests will drive themselves up to the road to the harbor for boat launch. The harbor is about 3 miles away from our shop. There are several taxi services in the Kona area, and we recommend Kona Taxicab at (808) 324-4444.
Is the water rough?
Ocean conditions are unpredictable and can change quickly. Summer months tend bring warmer and calmer waters, while winter months can bring large northerly swells. If your charter is cancelled due to unsafe ocean conditions our staff will make our best efforts to reschedule you. You will not be charged for any charters cancelled by Big Island Divers due to weather. We do not cancel for rain showers.
Is the water cold?
During the summer months the water warms up to about 80-83 degrees F. In the winter months the ocean temperature cools down to 75-77 degrees F. Most of our guests are comfortable in a 3mm full wetsuit while diving, but we also offer 5mm full suits as well as 3mm springsuits in our rental locker.
Will I get seasick?
Even when ocean conditions are flat and calm you may still be susceptible to feelings of seasickness. If you are at all prone to motion sickness you may consider taking an anti-emetic such as Bonine or non-drowsy Dramamine before your charter.
Can I swim with whales? Touch dolphins?
No. The dolphins are guarded under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and we only allow passive interaction. This means no chasing, harassing, touching, riding, etc.
“I've wanted to do this for years and it was as amazing as I had hoped. We were in the water for 45-60 minutes, with mantas right beneath us nearly the whole time, gracefully looping and over and over, often coming within a foot (or closer!)”Read our reviews