The best way to experience sea life up close in Hawaii is to book an ocean excursion with Dolphin Journeys.  During the months of January thru mid April, this is the best way to experience hump back whales and dolphins along the Kona Coast.   The whales are snowbirds of the ocean, spending their winters in Hawaii mating, giving birth, and enjoying the calm warm water.   This is an “on” the boat watching trip from 1:30-4:30 pm daily.   You’ll enjoy learning more about these magnificent gentle giants of the sea. Snacks and refreshments included. Available Jan. – mid April, or when the whales head north to Alaska. The Dolphin TLC takes just 6 guests, so this is a very intimate excursion.   Private Charter/Parties welcome.

Baleen whales – mysticetes, include whales such as the humpback, gray and blue whales. Their primary distinguishing characteristic is the fact that all adults lack teeth, which have been replaced by a series of baleen plates on either side of their jaw. Baleen, also known as “whalebone” is not really bone, but is made of keratin, the same protein substance as our own hair and nails, and the horns of cattle. Some species have over 400 baleen plates; each less than 1/5 of an inch thick. The plates are fringed with hairs along their inner edges and descend like curtains in two rows from the upper jaw. It may help to remember the two different types of whales by knowing that the scientific name for baleen whales, mysticetes, comes from the Greek word “mystax,” which means moustache! The humpback whales migrate home to Hawaii each December and are here for the winter. They will head back north the end of March/April.

Porpoises belong to the family Phocoenidae. They are generally smaller and a more robust species. The primary physical difference between a dolphin and a porpoise is the shape of the teeth. Porpoise have a spade flat tooth like humans. (dolphins teeth are a round point tooth). Most Porpoise are about 5-7 feet in length. Porpoises have less of a distinct beak, or rostrum. Their foreheads slope almost uniformly to the tip of their snout, and their teeth are spade-like in shape. The family Phocoenidae is rather small, and consists of only six members. There are no porpoises found in Hawaiian waters.

Dolphin Journeys focuses on the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins, Pacific Spotted Dolphins and in the winter season, Humpback Whales.
Most cetaceans are gregarious and love to share their joy.  They have been interacting with humans around the Big Island for about 20 years.  The Island of Hawaii (Big Island) has a perfect oceanographic floor for the dolphins.  They like shallow, sandy bottom bays to play, teach their young and sleep in by day.  The Kona Coast with the very narrow continental shelf provides the unique co-habitation of human coastal life and marine mammals living and working in the same environment. The water along Kona is clean as an ocean can be and provides a beautiful home for the dolphins.  Humans have had a small impact on the water of West Hawaii.  The primary industry is fishing and that has been the only threat to the dolphins.

Dolphin Journeys is the Original Company to take people to meet and encounter the dolphins as their primary activity. Started in 1996, Capt. Nancy & her crew have been leading people to the joy and amazing experiences of open water encounters with dolphins, manta rays and whale watching. We strive to offer the most safe, educational and deeply rich experience. We understand your precious vacation dollars deserve to be spent for the very best.

Here are some of the things we provide that are not usually found with other operators:

Safety Swimmer in the water for every 6 people.

If you are feeling uneasy, new to snorkeling or unsure about the ocean, our ‘Pod leader’ is in the water with you to help you. We will assist your child, assure them, and help them to see the dolphins. Our swim support are certified CPR, First Aid and part of Coast Guard Drug Testing program.

Neoprene vests to keep sun off your back, keep your body warm and offer a bit of floatation.

Wet Suites for the kids to keep them warm and comfortable.

High quality masks & fins in variety of styles to fit each person’s unique face and foot shape.

Educational component on our trips is rich in information. Dolphin Journeys is a Specialty Company with 20 years with the Hawaiian Dolphins. Our Staff are College Graduates and have been educated in Marine Mammal & Manta Ray data and the personal connection between our marine species & humans. Our staff are all enrolled in the Coast Guard Drug Program and are skilled in water safety, CPR & First Aid.

Specialty items on board for your comfort;

Our boat, the Dolphin TLC, is a 26’ SkipJack Cabin Cruiser. It has shade on back deck. A cabin to keep items safe and dry, and a Head with sink. She rides easily through the water with 6000 lbs in her keel for stabilization. Swim step on back deck – no transom to crawl over. Heavy duty ladder with 4 steps below the surface of the water for ease to get on the boat from the water.

Hot fresh water shower on the deck to rinse off the salt – “It Feels Oh So Good”! Shampoo & Cream Rinse available to get the tangles out of your hair at the end of the day.

Drinking water is served in special blue bottles, so the PVC from the plastic does not melt into your water from sitting in the sun.

Full lunch is served:

  • includes fresh fruit – 99% time Pineapple
  • Special chips with no artificial anything, no sugar. They are taro or sweet potatoes that are locally grown and manufactured. The have 3 ingredients, taro/sweet potato + Coconut oil + salt.
  • You can choose from a sandwich, wrap or salad.
  • Gluten free, sugar free and vegan diets are easily accommodated
  • Selection of Hawaiian juices, sodas, green tea (with & without sugar) and plenty of water.

Comfort items for sea sickness:

  • Ginger chews capsules
  • Sea Bands
  • Homeopathic relief essential oil

Extra towels & sun screen: When the day is done and you have had your last swim, we have a dry plush towel to offer you if your towel is damp. If you forget your sunscreen – no worries we have premium sun screen to help keep you safe from the warm Hawaiian sunshine.

We Offer Special Trips to guests who may want an unusual trip…. Let us know your heart’s desire and we will do our best to make it happen. These are Private Charter trips.

Afternoon Reef & Manta Ray swim is an equally fabulous trip – with all the amenities except for lunch. We serve snacks and drinks on that trip.

Evening Manta Ray Snorkels have the same quality of care. We do not serve dinner, but will have snacks, cold and warm drinks on board.

Information for this post taken from Dolphin Journeys website at www.dolphinjourneys.com.  To book a tour, call 808-329-3030 or book online at their website.

The Kohala coast seems to stretch almost endlessly on the Big Island of Hawaii. And nothing might be more memorable than seaside dining at sunset. The restaurants along this coast have maximized their seating and arrangements for the best viewing. While almost all feature local seafood, you will be surprised at the variety of options, which give you a memorable meal with an even more interesting view and setting.

Ulu

Ulu at the Four Seasons Hualalai sits directly adjacent to the gentle surf beach with no table being a bad table. Combine breakfast, lunch or dinner with the crashing waves and with their stellar menu. Working with a bevy of local farmers and fisherman, you will get an upscale Hawaiian meal. Make it fish with Charred Hawaiian Hapu’upu’u – lemongrass creamed Hilo corn, romesco, and yuzu beurre blanc. Add mushroom fried rice, and you can bet on the aaahhhh factor.

Rays on the Bay

If you want to see the ocean and marine activity, head to the south side of Kona to Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton. Not only do you get to see the sunset, the manta rays come out for feeding under the lights. With music, a spacious lounge/bar area and the local wildlife, that would be enough. But wait, start with an Orchid Breeze with Domaine Chandon Brut, Distillery No. 209 Gin, and guava liqueur. The most unique entrée is Hilo Wild Boar with slowly braised ragout, hand-cut pappardelle pasta, grand padano cheese and rosemary.

Hau Tree

Where the coast takes a northwestern turn to Kawaihae, the Hau Tree at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort gives you toes-in-the-sand dining for lunch or dinner. A little more casual, and you can just come in from snorkeling or swimming for lunch, while every Saturday is the legendary Clam Bake (Yes, Elvis is reported to have made an appearance). Lunchtime favorites are the tater-tot nachos and just about any burger.

Mi’s Waterfront Bistro

When you have a yen for pasta, get to Mi’s Waterfront Bistro for innovative Italian with an ocean view. And, they make all their pastas and sauces. You get classically prepared dishes with a Kona twist such as Crab Manicotti combining three kinds of cheese, green beans, tomato and green chilies baked in marinara with Italian bread crumbs. Another perennial favorite as you watch the waves is the Herb & Cheese Ravioli with broccoli florets, toasted pine nuts, and a blue cheese cream sauce. Deserts get the same creative touch with their Tiramisu, an award winner from the Kona Coffee Festival.

Huggo’s

Huggo’s is one of the original restaurants in Kona, and sunsets are unique because the restaurant deck is essentially its own pier. The iconic view draws you in, but the food and drink make it the complete experience. While there is plenty of fish on the menu, the real stopper is the Signature Teriyaki grilled flank steak with local Asian greens and bamboo rice. And, in the morning, a Hawaiian breakfast calls with seaside omelets.

Coast Grille

The Hapuna Prince is a classic Hawaiian hotel, so expect the Coast Grille to have some classics with an exceptional sunset view. 40% of the menu includes locally sourced ingredients. For example, many of the vegetables and herbs used in the Poke Nachos coming from the Hapuna garden. Here the menu is less fixed and more about what is available and fresh at the time with a classic sunset view. They offer the Big Island’s only oyster bar combined with a design-your-own-Poke menu. The Coast Grille hosts a regular wine and other spirits dinner, one of the few restaurants on the island to give the traveler this option.

Lava Lava Beach Club

The Lava Lava Beach Club sits right on the edge of Anaehoomalu Bay. A cozy combination of beach, sand and open air dining. Nightly entertainment of guitar and hula compliments the spectacular sunsets. The menu does rotate a bit, so start with the edame appetizer or the standing Ahi nachos. While everything tends to taste wonderful as the waves roll, the Hook, Line & Sinker is the chef’s inspired fish creation of the day and never fails.

Kamuela Provision Company

Whale watching season is always a little more exciting at the Kamuela Provision Company because you can easily see them breach the water on their migration. This might be the best spot on the Big Island for a romantic dinner, as they have just upped their cocktail offerings to include jet-fuel potent signature martinis in the adjacent Blue Lounge. The Hudson Farm Kumato Tomato Salad takes that little starter to new heights with the shaved Kula onions and blue cheese. The Ginger Infused Steamed Monchong (a local fish) gets a treatment of cilantro, carrot, green onion, kabayaki treatment, sizzling peanut oil, and sushi rice cake.

Fishhopper

If you want a large variety of local catches, the Fishhopper in downtown Kona gives you a great bay and people watching combined with innovative seafood. They have the Big Island’s longest happy hour, starting at 2 p.m. with both food and drink specials. Consistently voted the best Mai Tai on the island, so you can’t go wrong with that libation. The best fish combo is Local Monchong with creamy risotto, which takes the broiled Monchong, and then adds creamy risotto mixed with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and spinach. Top the whole creation with Beurre Blanc sauce. This is one of the few places where you can get fresh fish and chips made with local Kona beer!

Information for this blog taken from A Luxury Travel Blog written by Neil Wolkodoff

One of our favorite things to do is to attend one of the many farmers markets on the island.  Farmers markets are one of the little known gems of the Big Island of Hawaii. They are spread over the whole island and with only a little planning you can stop by one for breakfast, lunch or souvenir shopping on your itinerary around the island.

At the farmers markets you can find locally grown healthy produce,  freshly prepared food (breakfast and lunch) and buy handmade souvenirs to take home. Besides, by buying directly from the farmer you cut out the middle man and help strengthening the local community which is one of our favorite things to do.

Most farmers markets are only open on one or two days of the week, but there are enough markets on the Big Island to make visiting one without compromising your itinerary.

farmers market locations

Farmers Markets near Kona

Farmers markets in and around Kailua Kona and Captain Cook (south of Kona)

Kona Farmers Market

Directions: 74-5465 Kamakaeha Avenue. Makapua Center – In front of K-Mart, Kailua-Kona 
Market days: Thursday to Sunday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Kona Village Farmers Market

Directions: At the intersection of Hualalai Rd. and Alii Dr., in the parking lot next to the Kona Public Library (across from Hale Halawai) in Kailua-Kona
Market days: Thursday to Sunday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Alii Garden Market Place

Directions: 75-6129 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona
Market days: Wednesday – Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Ho’oulu Community Farmers Market

Directions: Sheraton Kona Resort and spa at Keauhou bay: 78-128 Ehukai Street, Kailua-Kona, HI. 96740
Market days: Every Wednesday between 09:00 AM and 2:00 PM

Keauhou Farmers Market

Directions: Keauhou Shopping Center, fronting Ace Hardware. 78-6831 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740-2440
Market days: Saturdays between 8:00 AM and 12 PM (noon)

South Kona Fruit Stand

Directions: Near the old Higashi Store, between mile marker 103 &104. 84-4770 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook
Market days: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM,  Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The South Kona Green Market

Directions: at the Kealakekua Ranch Center Behind ChoiceMart and Ace Hardware. 82-6066 Mamalahoa Highway (about MM 109.5), Captain Cook, HI 96704-8204
Market days: Sunday between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM

Farmers Markets near Hilo

Farmers markets in and around Hilo. The Laupahoehoe farmers market is halfway between Hilo and Waimea, the market @ the mill is halfway between Hilo and Volcano

The Laupahoehoe Farmer’s Market

(in Laupahoehoe, halfway between Hilo and Waimea)

Directions: Laupahoehoe – next to the Minit Stop on Hwy. 19. 36-2266 Mamaloha Hwy, Laupahoehoe, HI
Market days: Sunday between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM

Hilo Coffee Mill “Market @ The Mill”

(between Hilo and Volcano)

Directions: Hilo Coffee Mill Farm, 17-995 Volcano Rd. (Between Mile Markers 12 and 13)
Market days: Saturday between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM

Hilo’s Farmer’s Market

Directions: Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street
Market days: Wednesday and Saturday between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM

Maku’u Farmers Market

Directions: on the Maku’u Farmer’s lot along the Keaau/Pahoa Hwy. bypass road between Keaau and Pahoa
Market days: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday between 6:00 AM and 1:30 PM

Very large farmers market with about 150 vendors with Hawaiian crafts, plants, produce, jewelry, shells, ethnic and recycled clothing, food, live music, records/cds and books.

Keaukaha Panaewa Hawaiian Home Lands Farmers Market

Directions: This market is located on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands along Railroad Avenue across of Home Depot
Market days: Saturday and Sunday between 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM

Kinoole Farmers Market

Directions: next to Kuwate Seed Shop, two streets mauka of Puainako Town Center. 1990 Kinoole Street, Hilo, HI
Market days: Saturday between 6:30 AM and 12:00 PM (noon)

Keaau Village Farmers Market

Directions: 16-0550 Old Volcano Road, Keaau, HI
Market days: Tuesday to Saturday between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM

Volcano Farmers Markets

Farmers markets near and in Volcano village. The Ka’u farmers market is on the road between Kona and Volcano.

Volcano Farmers Market

Directions: 19-4030 Wright Road, Cooper Center, Volcano, HI
Market days: Sunday between 6:30 AM and 10:00 AM

Ka’u  (Na’ahelu) Farmers Market

(between Volcano and Kona)

Directions: The makai (ocean) side of Hwy 11 on the grounds of Shaka Restaurant. 95-5673 Mamalahoa Highway, Naalehu, HI
Market days: Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00 AM to noon (12:00 PM)

Waimea Farmers Markets

Farmers markets in and around Waimea on the Big Island including one in Hawi (north of Waimea) and Waikoloa (between Waimea and Kona).

Waikoloa Village Farmers Market

Directions: Waikoloa Community Church Parking Lot. 68-3625 Paniolo Ave., Waikoloa, HI
Market days: Saturday between 7:15 AM and 10:00 AM

Waimea Town Market

Directions: Parker School Behind the Paniolo Country Inn. 65-1224 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI
Market days: Saturday from 8:00 AM to noon

Mid-week market at the historic Pukalani Stables

Directions: Pukalani Stables. 67-139 Pukilani Road, Kamuela, HI
Market days: Wednesday between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM

Kekela Farm

Directions: 64-604 Mana Road, Kamuela, HI 96743
Market days: Tuesday and Friday between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM

Hawaiian Homestead Farmers Market

Directions: In the Kuhio Hale Building. 64-759 Kahilu Road, Waimea
Market days: Saturday from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM (noon)

Under the Banyan’s Farmers’ Market (Hawi farmers market)

Directions: Under the banyan trees in the heart of Hawi, corner of Akoni Pule (Hwy 270) and Hawi Rd (to Waimea).
Market days: Saturday between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM, Tuesday between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM

Attending the farmers market is a great way to spend a day or two to find some special bargains and also helps the local Hawaiian economy.
Information on this post was provided by Lovebigisland.  For more information, visit their website at www.lovebigisland.com