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Frequently Asked Questions

How are you different from other ocean operators?

Our canoe, Kini Kini, is one of only a few accurately recreated, traditional Hawaiian double-hull canoes in the world, and the only commercially licensed Hawaiian canoe in the world!

  • Our small group sizes of 12 or less enable our crew to assist each guest with snorkel gear, answer questions, and help calm any nerves!
  • Our professional crew has eyes on you and your family at all times!
  • Each seat is its own space, we don’t pack you in like sardines!
  • We move freely from our canoe to find optimal manta viewing. Big groups can’t do that!
  • The whole group can hear instructions and manta ray education during the experience!
  • Loading/unloading takes just a few minutes, giving you more time for the good stuff!
  • We launch from Keauhou Pier, just a 5-minute ride to and from the snorkeling site. You’ll only be cold and wet for a few minutes after the snorkel before you’re back at your car!
  • Our 1-hour tour still includes as much snorkeling time as others, but you’ll be back in time for dinner!
  • 3-5 tours per night often means we have last-minute booking options!
  • Get a taste of how Hawaiians navigated vast oceans as you ride in our one-of-a-kind double-hull canoe!

How clean is the vessel?

We take cleanliness seriously regardless of State and Federal mandates.

We appreciate that you have chosen, or are considering, Eka Canoe Adventures for your next excursion and we will take every step to keep you and your party safe and healthy. Snorkel gear is sanitized thoroughly between each tour.

How many other people will be on my tour?

We pride ourselves on offering one of the smallest group sizes out there! Kini Kini (the canoe) comfortably seats 12 guests with plenty of leg and elbow room for each guest. And let’s not forget the 200+ square feet of deck between the two hulls!

Is there a minimum number of customers each tour?

Yes, the minimum number of guests per tour is two (2). Some lucky couples even get a “private” tour sometimes (mostly in the off-season)! We keep this minimum threshold low because we appreciate how stressful it can be when plans get canceled or moved to another day. Since we offer up to four manta ray snorkel experiences per evening, we may ask our guests to consolidate two trips into one on the same evening, depending on bookings.

Is this the best way to explore the Kona coast?

We certainly think it’s pretty awesome! However, unless we are taking guests out on a private charter, we primarily specialize in manta ray snorkels, which include a very short boat ride to the mouth of the bay. If you’re looking for something truly different than your run-of-the-mill boat ride, look no further! If you’re looking for a coastal cruise, please consider our private charter offering.

Can I bring my own camera?

You can! However, we are not responsible if it gets lost at sea, damaged, or destroyed. Please prepare your equipment accordingly. The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. Our professional guides are very capable in the water and might attempt to retrieve your lost item if conditions allow, but we cannot promise recovery.

What are the chances that my trip gets canceled?

We will confirm a trip once the minimum is reached for that tour. Once confirmed, we only cancel due to an infrequent weather or mechanical issue on the vessel. If this happens, we do our very best to coordinate with guests and consolidate trips into days when the weather is safe for us to set sail. If the trip is canceled, you can certainly expect the option for a full refund or rebooking as quickly as possible.

What if I need to change my plans or reservation?

We recommend you book an excursion with us early in your visit to the Big Island in case changes need to be made or we offer a free second snorkel on our “manta sighting” guarantee. If you need to change or cancel your adventure with us, we require 24 hours’ notice for guests to receive a full refund (if booked directly with us). Cancellation policies are set by the third-party reservation platform you booked through.

How far in advance should I book?

You are welcome to book about two (2) months in advance, but we often have last-minute reservations available! We recommend booking a trip with us as earlier in your visit to Big Island. If plans change, you have time to reschedule. If you don’t see manta rays on our manta ray night snorkel trip, we will reschedule you for another free snorkel to visit the manta rays again. As you can expect, we rarely need to make good on this promise because the mantas are almost always waiting for us!

What happens if I get seasick?

If you’re concerned that you will get seasick, we highly recommend you take seasickness medication before embarking with us. On our manta ray night snorkel, you only spend 10–15 minutes on the canoe; the rest is in the water where you are less likely to feel seasick. If you are seasick while on the canoe, we will move you to the back of the vessel where there is less motion.

How deep is the water?

Too deep to stand – about 30 feet deep in most places. We require manta ray night snorkel participants to have at least some swimming experience, though we provide snorkeling instructions and flotation devices. A professional guide is also in the water with you at all times – the first one in and the last one out.

I’m concerned about sharks and other sea creatures.

Manta rays are large creatures, but fear not; they only feast on plankton. Sharks are out there, but they are very rarely seen during our manta ray night snorkel. There are many snorkelers in the water being guided by 8+ ocean operators similar to ourselves. Focusing our lights close together brings the plankton into a large mass which attracts manta rays for everyone to see! There is safety in numbers! You may occasionally spot a playful dolphin visiting some of the snorkeling groups.

Where is the restroom?

We recommend you use the public restroom at the pier (near the trailer parking) before checking in for your trip with us as there is no restroom on the canoe.

What kind of snorkel gear is provided?

We provide high-quality, comfortable masks and snorkels. We also have several prescription mask options that help those who require glasses. You can wear your contacts with a normal mask, but be mindful to keep them from getting washed away by a splash of ocean water.

Is there any shade on the canoe?

Not really; only a little shade from the sail. Thankfully our manta ray snorkel trips take place at night!

What if I have dietary restrictions?

We currently do not supply snacks or food on any of our trips, as they are quite short! You are welcome to bring your own snacks. For your safety, please leave alcoholic beverages on solid ground!

I am not a great swimmer.

We do ask our manta ray snorkel participants to have swimming experience. If you are concerned about your ability to swim, please call us to discuss this. There are certain steps we can take to make you feel comfortable and safe on our trips like the utilization of floatation devices and placing you close to the vessel or our professional guide.

I’ve never snorkeled before. Will you show me how?

Yes! We will get you fitted with a mask and teach you how to position the mask. While breathing through a tube seems a bit weird, it will become more natural after a few minutes. Our small group sizes allow us help guests who need extra assistance with their snorkel gear.