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Duration 3 hrs Rated Easy

Shared _ $235 person
Private _ Starting from $1295


Kohala Sailing & Snorkel Trip

No fossil fuels. Just you and nature.

Take a sailing tour through the marine sanctuary in the Kohala region of the Big Island — and feel good about it, too. Kohala Blue Sail Hawaii operates the first and only renewably powered electric charter vessel in the entire island chain. The Dolce Vita is a fully electric 34′ catamaran that charges from solar, wind and propeller regeneration and for safety they carry a diesel generator that runs with biofuel (though it is seldom used). This means no oil and gas emissions into the water, no noxious fumes, no reliance on fossil fuels and best of all, it’s virtually silent.A day on the water just hits differently when all you hear are waves lapping the on the hulls as dolphins and whales glide past your vessel.



  • Electric Sailing Catamaran _ Enjoy a sustainable and serene sailing experience off the coast of Hawai’i Island.
  • Scenic Views _ Experience breathtaking panoramas and the enchanting beauty of the region’s waters.

What you’ll notice most is the peace.

Three Daily Tours

Morning Adventures _ Calm, glassy waters ideal for snorkeling and welcoming the day.
Midday Charters _ Perfect for snorkeling with the sun shining directly into the water, highlighting the unique shade of oceanic Kohala blue. Possible breeze for exciting sailing.
Sunset Cruise _ Drift on a silent catamaran, watch the sunset over 5 Hawaiian volcanoes and potentially see the phenomenal Kona Green Flash.

Logistics of the Tour

Kawaihae Harbor is about a 45-minute scenic ride from Pacific 19, straight up the coast. Complete your online waiver beforehand and arrive 10 minutes early for a seamless start. As you approach the harbor on Highway 270, take the first left into Kawaihae South Harbor, Gate 1, and then another quick left into Gate 13. Follow the road around past the boats and park near the boat ramp where the Dolce Vita and her crew will be waiting for you.




Recommended by 98% of travelers
(54 Reviews)

Caitlin May

I’m not sure I can fully capture how amazing our experience was with Kohala Blue Sail Hawaii. It was truly the highlight of our honeymoon. Captain took us out for whale watching, and we got to see a beautiful mom and baby humpback up close. They were so respectful of the whales and let them approach us. It was truly magical! And the tranquility of being on an electric catamaran was amazing. I’d give them 10 stars if I could.

Jamie Eversweet Belmarez

We were treated to spectacular displays proximal to our boat, Dolce Vita. Nice snacks, friendly and knowledgeable captain and crew, perfect memorable experience of a lifetime.

Jamie Schartner

My friends and I had an amazing experience with Captain Mackenzie and Eden on the Dolce Vita for a morning sail. Saw plenty of wildlife- whales and dolphins, learned a lot of interesting info, and had time for a swim. Perfect morning! Highly recommend booking with Kohala Blue!

Harvey Stone

Wonderful day on the water on the only truly sustainable whale-watching boat. Friendly and professional crew. Very special experience and highly recommended.

Jamie Weil

We have been on many whale-watching tours. Today was the BEST EVER! We must have had 60 sitings! Owner, crew – AMAZING! What a special day we’ll always treasure! Mahalo, Kohala Blue!

Nene Swims

Fantastic day on Kohala Blue Sail. The boat is gorgeous, clean, comfortable, and QUIET! We had the best hosts, Captain Damon and Captain Suelang. They were both very knowledgeable. Suelang took care of all our needs with a smile. They had the best healthy snacks and beverages. I’ve been on many boats and truly this boat and it’s hosts are my favorite. We saw many whales and heard their whale songs on and off the boat. Thanks for a great day out! Aloha



Nab a front-row seat to whale watching.

A trip with ecotourism company Kohala Blue Sail Hawaii gets you out on the open ocean for snorkeling, fishing, playing in the water, and just plain fun. Diesel engines on most sailboats are loud and stinky. Rather than the wind rushing through halyards and lines, you’re hearing the roar of an engine and breathing its fumes. Not so with Kohala Blue — their boat is virtually silent as well as renewable, it’s just the elements and you!

You’re also traveling through the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, a nationally designated whale habitat since 1992. Between November and April every year, about half of the humpback whales in the North Pacific migrate from Alaska to Hawaiʻi to give birth, nurse, and breed through these waters. Historic lava flows extend far into the ocean creating a shallow refuge for the thousands of whales that make the 3000-mile journey. Want to hear those whale songs up close? During the season, the crew will drop a hydrophone into the water so you can listen in real-time to the conversation between kohola— the Hawaiian word for whale.

Departing from Kawaihae Harbor has several advantages. Not only do you begin your adventure within the sanctuary itself, but this smaller harbor with fewer boats means far less congestion on the water than areas farther south. Some days you luck out and be the only boat out on the water for miles around.


Whales aren’t the only species that come out to play in the shallow waters. Even in the summer months, you’re bound to come face-to-face with exotic sea creatures. Hawaiian spinner dolphins use the water as their playground. They range from about four-and-a-half to six-and-a-half feet long and spend all night hunting underwater to depths up to a thousand feet below sea level. Come daybreak, they’re often ready to rest in the shallow coastal waters where there’s less chance of a surprise attack from predators, while providing a place for young dolphins to socialize and play. They’re called spinner dolphins for a reason. These playful mammals can often be seen launching themselves out of the water and making up to seven full turns before falling back into the ocean.

The sanctuary is also home to over 1250 unique species of fish, octopus, urchins, manta rays,eels and more, some of which are found only in these waters. Dive on in with a snorkel set, or stay dry and watch from the deck of your environmentally-friendly chariot. Electric propulsion means no pollution or sonic disturbance into the marine ecosystem, leaving far less of an impact on the habitat of your new watery friends.

If you’re lucky, you might see one of the most critically endangered animals in the United States. Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to the ocean around the state of Hawaiʻi, meaning they’re only found in the Pacific, scattered throughout the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain. With only about 1500 individuals in the wild they’re rare, but numbers in these protected waters are increasing.



In early 2022 the original diesel-based drivetrain of the Dolce Vita suffered catastrophic failures and presented Kohala Blue with the opportunity to completely re-power the vessel. Looking  forward to the health of the planet, and of the marine environment and its inhabitants, the choice to go electric was clear. The project was ambitious and challenging but the results are undeniably incredible. Since December 2022, the catamaran has been propelled with two electric motors charged by completely off-grid and renewable energy. This is the most environmentally-friendly tour boat in Hawaiian waters and what you’ll notice most is the peace. Silent electric propulsion equals a serene day on the water.


Now, the fun begins

Tours include the best of what you’d expect from a Hawaiian sailing experience. There’s plenty of space aboard to stretch out and enjoy the ride. The boat has many indoor and outdoor seating options and is navigable for all ages with a wide viewing and lounging platform and also plenty of shade. Drinks, snacks, and reef-safe sunscreen are provided, as well as space in the fridge for any picnic items, beverages or libations you’d like to bring. They’ve also got all the gear. You can fish, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding, and of course snorkel with hundreds of species of tropical fish. Humpback whale season goes from November to April, peaking mid-December through mid-February, so if you’re here from autumn to spring, you will very likely see some of the thousands of whales that will be migrating through these waters. Choose a sailing excursion at different times throughout the day in quiet comfort with Kohala Blue Sail Hawaiʻi.