Snorkeling Captain Cook on the Big Island & Final Days 🐠

Snorkeling Captian Cook Big Island Hawaii

Good Morning, Everyone!

To my American readers, I hope you are holding up well after a night of fireworks, good food, and celebrating the birth of our amazing country! I know a lot of you had to go back into work today (Boo! Can we just have a week of birthday celebrations for this country?), so I thought I’d jump on the blog today and share some photos from my last adventures in Hawaii. Just in case you need some work entertainment. I had so much fun uploading and editing these photos, so I hope you enjoy them!

I’m kind of sad this is my last recap from Hawaii, but I have some pretty crazy and exciting news to share with all of you soon! It’ll make up for the lack of Hawaii posts.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
I had a couple of days in Hawaii after Caitlin left. (You can read about our trip to Green Sand Beach // Swimming With Manta Rays // Surfing, Luau, & Coffee Farm Tour) Even though I was pretty exhausted from all of our adventures during the three weeks in Hawaii, I couldn’t leave without snorkeling. I Β overcame my fear of the ocean during this trip. 🦈  That allowed me to get the courage to sign up for a snorkeling cruise. I usually hate signing up and doing things by myself, but I had to make the best of the last couple of days! After reading many great online reviews, I decided to sign up with Sea Quest Hawaii for a snorkeling cruise at Captain Cook. I’m so glad I did it because it was more than just a snorkeling adventure!Β 
After a morning of Tennis, I had a delicious breakfast and walked Kona before heading out for my snorkeling adventure. I had two eggs, roasted vegetables, and fresh fruit. See that papaya? Yeah, I picked that from a tree…
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii When you (if you) sign up with Sea Quest, you’ll want to screenshot or print the directions they send to your email. You can’t just type it into your GPS because it’ll take you to the wrong location. There is a designated dirt parking lot with a sign that you’ll look out for. Once you park, walk across the sand volleyball court to the pier! You’ll finally see the sign that says “Sea Quest.”

To save time, fill out their forms online before getting there.Β Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
They have a nice dry storage area on the boat for your bags. If I were you, I’d pack water, a camera, a towel, a snack (I bought fresh pineapple), Dramamine tablets just in case, sunscreen, and your swimsuit of course! They provided juice and chips, too.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
The ride out to Captain Cook (Kealakekua Bay) is so much fun. After leaving the pier, it’s about a 35-minute boat ride to the snorkeling spot. And, it’s pretty much a speedboat. My hair was whipping in the wind, water was splashing from the waves, and the water was so gorgeous with its deep blue color. You must experience this if you’re on the Island.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
This is why it’s more than just snorkeling.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii

Dolphins love Kealakekua Bay for resting. Right when we got to the snorkeling spot, we came across a pod of dolphins. There were at least fifteen of them swimming together. A couple of them had to show off for us 😊 Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
Not going to lie, the hardest part of this trip was getting myself to jump off the boat. I made the mistake of watching snorkeling videos before I went, and they confirmed that there are reef sharks cruising around Captain Cook. Luckily, there is so much food down there that it’s safe and they won’t harm you. But still, SHARKS. 🦈 Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
There was another girl hesitating on getting in, and so we looked at each other, grabbed hands, said “1, 2, 3” and jumped. It worked! We were both in and began the hour swim around the beautiful reef.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
This is why it was worth the jump. Look how gorgeous the reefs are!
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii I couldn’t stop laughing at my snorkeling photos when I was uploading them. I don’t think I ever want to see myself in a snorkel mask ever again…But, I had to share the humor. Wait, does anyone actually look good in a snorkel mask?
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Before you apply your sunscreen, make sure it doesn’t have oxybenzone and octinoxate listed as an ingredient. These chemicals are killing our coral reef by sliding of humans. Up to 15,000 tons of sunscreen slides off humans each year! That’s a lot of exposure to harmful chemicals going into our underwater ecosystem causing them to die. Hawaii is starting to ban these sunscreens, which is a great start to rebuilding these gorgeous coral reefs!
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii I saw a lot of yellow tang fish, black triggerfish, parrot fish, and a ton of other species!Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii

Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii

Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Even though the coral reefs are so beautiful, don’t touch them! It’s important to admire them from afar! Simply touching them can cause the death of an entire colony of coral. The oils from our skin can disturb the dainty mucous membranes, which protect the animals from diseases. Walking on the coral can kill the coral polyps which are builders of the reef structure.

Humans are the biggest threat to our oceans and it’s our responsibility to protect them.

After this trip to Hawaii, I was inspired to start making changes to the way I live. I found a great article on National Geographic for “10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean” and I’ll be using it as a guide to start making changes. I tend to always forget my reusable coffee cup, use straws at smoothie spots, and forget my reusable bags. That is just pure laziness, and I need to work harder at keeping this planet safe.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii There is so much history at Kealakekua Bay.

See the Captain Cook monument in the photo above? His remains (what was left of him) was buried before the British set sail homebound.

I highly recommend reading the history of Captain Cook. He changed the Islands for the good and bad. And it’s so fascinating!

Kealakekua Bay is also home to religious temples. The Heiau was built to treat the sick by sacrificing human and animal blood. The cliffs were also a burial site to Hawaiian royalty.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
An hour had gone by, and I was still swimming! Some people had noodles to help them float, but who needs noodles when you have such fabulous flippers?Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
I filmed some underwater videos that’ll upload soon! It was so magical down there.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii I know I’m attractive in this scuba mask. You don’t have to tell me twice.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Fancy.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii I met some really awesome people on the Sea Quest cruise! I loved all of the information they shared, and they were so knowledgeable about the island and its history.
Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii For my trip, I brought my Olympus Tough Underwater camera. I used this for most of the trip when water was involved!Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
After everyone was back on the boat, they offered everyone snacks, and then we made our way back to the pier. The way back was awesome! They took us to the sea caves and lava tubes! Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
The boat went so close to the caves that we were practically inside of them.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
While driving along the edges, we learned a lot about the Hawaiian legends. Some spooky, and some interesting.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
The waters were gorgeous.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
My favorite part about these cliffs were the wild feral goats! They reminded me of dogs because the little ones were hopping and playing. The only problem with these goats is that they are destructive (Thanks to captain cook for introducing these animals to the island.) Many Hawaiian plants have become extinct due to the strong hunger of these animals, including the wild hog.Β Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
These homeowners are pretty brave to build their million dollar homes on top of sea caves…Snorkeling Captain Cook The Big Island Hawaii
The adventure was about three and a half hours, and worth every second! I’m so happy I decided to do it πŸ™‚Β 
When I got back, Kona and I went for an evening walk around the block, made dinner, and sat out on the patio by the little fire. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. For dinner, I had baked chicken with all kinds of random seasoning on top, sesame marinated kale, and baked squash.Β 
I made my coffee to go early Sunday morning and headed toΒ Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park with Kona to do some fun coral fetching.
We were the only ones at the park. It was so quiet that it made me feel like I was on a deserted island. It was the perfect spot to enjoy my coffee while Kona swam in the water fetching coral. He LOVES this. Β 
We walked to a couple different spots to play in the water. Kona led the way!
So patient πŸ™‚Β 
We spent about an hour relaxing by the water before heading back.
Kona was a happy pup!

We just relaxed together the rest of the day!
After our nightly walk, I made salmon, vegetables, and a side of rice for dinner! I also tried the Hemp Date Nut ice cream, and it was pretty good!

I had eggs, squash and Kite-Hill spread for breakfast and then headed to tennis on Monday morning.Β 
After tennis, I decided to stop at Basik Acai for a protein smoothie and walk the town to pick up some gifts for my family. I got lucky because there was a business market along the entire downtown. Β I ordered the “Kona” smoothie. It had acai, banana, strawberries, spirulina, ginger (extra please), lime, hemp milk, and topped with granola.Β 
Walking downtown Kona is so fun, and I love all of the people that make up this beautiful place.

Call me crazy, but I joined the tennis group again on Monday night.
I couldn’t get enough!Β 
I stopped at the side of the road on the way home to take one last photo of the sunset before taking off on Wednesday. I miss this place.
I couldn’t pass up on tennis one last time, so before my flight took off at noon, I made it to the early morning tennis group! This was going to help for a 20-hour trip home.
After showering off, packing up, and saying my goodbyes, I took off to head back to the Carolinas! But, not before having one last cup of Kona coffee!

I have been working on my healthy airport & travel post, so that’ll be live soon! πŸ™‚

Questions for you!Β 

1. Have you ever been snorkeling?
2. Have you seen dolphins in the wild?
3. What is your biggest fear that you’d like to overcome?



  • Asia

    Your photos are breathtaking!

    Reply to Asia
  • Wa

    What a blast! Love your pics!

    Reply to Wa
  • Alison

    Do you bring your own snorkel mask?

    Reply to Alison
  • Anonymous

    I love your travel photos! What camera is this?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Tara

    I just stumbled on your blog today, and I had to take a peak because my name is Tara too. lol My family and I go to the Big Island every year. It’s such a magical place. We stay at the Holua Resort, and it has a lot of tennis courts. You should check it out next time.

    Reply to Tara
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Tara!

      So glad you found my blog!:) I actually played with a group at the Holua Resort several times! Love it and that area is gorgeous! πŸ˜€

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Cailee

    I love your photos!

    Reply to Cailee
  • Emily

    Where is that swim top from?

    Reply to Emily
  • Jenna

    Okay, for starters, I LOVE your blog. Hands down favorite blog ever.

    I have been snorkeling, I’ve gone in several places. The Bahamas, Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL and in Key West!

    Yess! I live in Florida and near the river and I see them when I walk my dog, on my drives around town, everywhere.

    My biggest fear is snakes. Not really something to overcome because I will never get a snake lol. But awesome job conquering your fears! Your pictures are beautiful and it looks like you had an amazing vacation! Kona is adorable! I bet Grumples and Leo were quite jealous of the scents you brought home!

    Reply to Jenna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Well, THANK YOU, Jenna!!!! DAY MADE 😊

      Wow, you’ve gone to all the fun places!!

      Doesn’t Florida have like the largest snakes in the U.S.? lol I’m afraid of gators….eeeek

      Lol I bet Grumples was sad because he knows sweet kona boy!! πŸ™‚ But yes it was so fun and thank you so much for the kind words!! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Jenna

        I don’t think we have the biggest snakes, I’m terrified of them too. But I’ll see an occasional black racer, but they’re harmless. They kill the spiders, rats, etc. Yeah we have a lot of gators too…. like everywhere.

        Reply to Jenna
  • Brianna Doherty

    Hi Taralynn!!

    I snorkel and scuba dive as often as I can!! there is absolutely nothing like it. I just got back from diving with whale sharks in Mexico!! Mexico is also starting to ban sunscreen and it’s absolutely amazing! You should definitely check out the Chasing Coral documentary on Netflix. It’s very informative.

    Reply to Brianna Doherty
  • Patricia L

    I had no idea about the sunscreen. I read on it and one article pointed out even when you use the β€œbad” sunscreen at home then shower off it eventually finds its way to the ocean and it’s also present in your urine 30 minutes after application! I had no idea. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!! I just ran out of our sunscreen for the kids and was adding it to my online order, swapped out brands after reading this. Thank you! I want our kids kids kids to see this beautiful Earth God createdd for us, not a shell of what we’ve left. Thanks again.

    Reply to Patricia L
  • Nessa

    I think it’s cool you did this alone! How do you overcome the fear of talking to strangers? I feel so socially awkward.

    Reply to Nessa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Nessa!

      I think a lot of us feel that way! You just have to keep putting yourself out there. Once you stop thinking that everyone is judging, wondering, or staring at you, you’ll realize that everyone is way too absorbed in themselves, and your “social awkwardness” is only in your head. So if you can get out of your head, put yourself out there, and just have fun, you’ll be more comfortable with doing it again and in all kinds of environments! πŸ™‚ You have to have fun and live life without worrying about what others think! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Olivia

    Looks like fun, Taralynn

    Reply to Olivia
  • Stephanie

    Your posts are making me miss the Big Island! I got married there a few years ago and it is such a wonderful place! Glad you had such a great trip.

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Monika

    I love your travel posts!

    I appreciate you sharing which camera you used. I was going to ask before reading because we are going to the Bahamas! I’m actually going to swim with sharks but I’ve done it before so it won’t be too much of a fear for me.

    Reply to Monika
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks for reading, Monika!

      You’re going to have so much fun on your trip, and you’re so so so so brave for swimming with sharks!

      That camera is perfect for the water experience. Please let me know how it goes!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anna

    Where is your swim top from

    Reply to Anna
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    I’ve never been snorkeling but it’s on my to-do list! How much does it cost, and were you cold afterwards? The hardest part is taking the FIRST plunge!

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      The first plunge is definitely the hardest!

      It came to around $80 and then you’ll want to make sure to bring a tip for the drivers! πŸ™‚

      I actually wasn’t cold surprisingly! I had my towel to wrap up in though.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jen

    I didn’t think anything could be more beautiful than coffee farms, fresh Hawaiian fruit and beaches, but this post takes it! I’m obsessed with your pics under the ocean. Stunning! Ty for being kind enough to post for those of us who had to go back to work on July 5th! πŸ˜‰

    I’ve never been snorkeling- I think I would need some buddy help jumping in the water, too! Kind of terrified of the whole shark thing…
    I have seen dolphins in the wild, but never dolphins in Hawaii! Bucket list!
    This sounds really odd, I’m sure, but parenthood! My husband and I want to start building a family, but there’s so much uncertainty and change that comes along with it. But no one goes in knowing everything, so it’ll be a day to day learning experience when the time comes.

    Looking forward to whatever else you have planned for the blog! Any book reviews coming soon?

    Reply to Jen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jen!

      Thank you for stopping by to read!! I hope you have a quick week. The weekend will be here before you know it!

      Lol, to be honest. I think the fear stems from the shows we watch and the movies that overdramatize them! Sharks are crucial to our oceans, and they are just as afraid of us! But, I’m scared as well! lol I just try to keep an open mind.

      I don’t think that sounds odd at all and I’m sure so many people share the same thoughts and concerns. I am the exact same, and I don’t really know if I ever want kids. It’s definitely the uncertainty that is scary. God has a plan for everyone though! xo

      I need to finish my book review. I made the mistake of starting a really boring book. I’ve been diving into all the B.A. Paris books because I can’t get enough!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Angelina

    1. Yes, at Oahu! I enjoyed it, but it was actually a little scary. Like you said, you aren’t supposed to touch the coral or the fish – unfortunately they don’t seem to know that! I was bumped several times by schools of fish, and then I saw a puffer fish 0_0.

    2. Even though I stayed on the Island for 6 weeks, I didn’t see a single dolphin!

    3. FLYING. I actually fly quite often, but I have to listen to calming meditations and I’ve even attempted self-hypnosis to keep from having panic attacks when we take off.

    Reply to Angelina
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oahu was the first place I’ve ever gone surfing! We went to Hanauma Bay when I was a girl scout there.

      Oh man!!!! Next time! πŸ™‚

      I think flying is so weird and if I think about the fact that “we are flying” I’ll start to quietly panic lol I’m the same!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachel @ Better LIVIN

    I just learned about how damaging sunscreen is to our oceans and I was shocked! We need to spread the word because so many people don’t know! I need to get better and reducing my plastic consumption as well. In the summer I LOVE fountain diet cokes so I should start bringing my own reusable containers and straws.

    Reply to Rachel @ Better LIVIN
  • Madison

    Yes! I’ve been snorkeling in Kona too! Buuutt I can’t remember where ha! I saw an eel and a jellyfish and got out of that water so fast!
    Lightning! I’ve hated it ever since I was little. I’ve gotten better but it still isn’t my favorite thing! I can’t wait to hear your exciting news!

    Reply to Madison
  • Rachael

    I studied abroad in Fiji so I was snorkeling or scuba diving pretty much everyday for 6 months!
    I have not swam with dolphins, but have with manatees (always a happy accident haha)
    And I am absolutely terrified of butterflies and moths- don’t think i’ll ever get over it

    Reply to Rachael
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Wow, that is amazing! What a cool experience.

      I totally understand fearing strange things! A butterfly is harmless, but still a fear for you! I worked with a guy when I was younger who had a Cheerio phobia. He’d hyperventilate and start crying if he was around Cheerios! So…there’s worse! lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    You are so funny with your mask!

    I love your photos and it looks like you had a fun trip, Taralynn

    Reply to Katie
  • Kelli G.

    Went snorkeling while staying on maui, amazing! It was whale season so not only could see the whales while snorkeling, but u could hear their songs underwater!!!! Words cannot describe how awesome it was!

    Yes! I see dolphins while visiting family in Boca Grande FL, and also while visiting family in Laguna Beach CA. It never gets old.

    I would love to conquer my fear of spiders. I dont only not like them, I totally freeze when I see one, no matter how big or small. Then I feel like theyre crawling all over me!!! It keeps me on edge constantly and puts a damper on camping/hiking πŸ™

    Reply to Kelli G.
  • Phuong

    Hey Taralynn! Loving the recaps of your trip! My biggest fear is open water and though I’ve taken swimming lessons, I can’t get myself to go into the ocean. For snorkeling, do you think it’s important to be a great swimmer?

    Reply to Phuong
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Sometimes it just takes one time doing it and then you’re set! I totally get the fear though. I’m a great swimmer, but there is something about the unknown of the ocean.

      I think you should be a great swimmer before going into the water in general, but you could bring a life jacket or floaties!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn Murtaugh

    I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns Australia a few years ago. I’m terrified of the ocean but braved it. It was so fun and incredible to see a whole world under the sea. There were reef sharks there as well, but I loved seeing them swimming far below me. It was so cool!

    Reply to Brooklyn Murtaugh
  • Susie | Mile High Dreamers

    This looks SO FUN. Every time I read a Hawaii post I’m just dying to go back, especially for as long as you went. Hawaii is one of those places you need weeks at because there’s just SO MUCH to explore!
    Also, I love how much Kona reminds me of Grumples and Leo. I can pretty much hang anywhere as long as they have a fun pet haha.
    Blue Lizard is a great sunscreen brand that Ben and I just discovered that’s zinc and titanium and is safe for reefs! We got it on Amazon.
    I love snorkeling but it’s been a while since I’ve done it. And it’s funny because when I was little I was so fearless with it and now I think I’m a little more afraid haha. But it’s completely worth it.
    I don’t really have any huge fears but I would like to feel more confident about defending myself! I know it’s not something we like to think about often but I’d like to know if something happened, I could handle myself in a sketchy situation. I’ve been thinking about taking self defense classes for that!
    Can’t wait to hear your exciting news!

    Reply to Susie | Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I hope you go back soon!! It’s one of the best places ever!

      Lol Kona is honestly the sweetest boy and has a great personality. He just makes everyone happy!!

      That’s a great suggestion!!

      I was just like that as a kid! I was completely fearless. Now, I’m like…….ehhhhhhhh

      Yes, self-defense is very important! I love that you’re looking into being more prepared!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    What an amazing experience, Taralynn! πŸ’• I’ve been snorkelling a fair few times, though when I was very young. I’ve also seen wild dolphins on boat rides (pink dolphins are native to Hong Kong, I think!), but have never swum with them personally! Would be a dream to! πŸ™‚

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Taralynn McNitt

    You’re going to have a blast! πŸ˜€

    Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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