Kohala Whale Watching

Sail with Kohala Sail & Sea for the best whale watch anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Join Capt. Steve Turner on Riva, the perfect vessel to get the most of your humpback whale watch.
Why perfect? Three reasons:

Sunset glow

Wide open photo ops

 We take six passengers max, so you won’t have to navigate around someone else’s body for that awesome shot -- that means no strangers in your photos.

fluke down_John Coney

Hear them exhale

Riva is super quiet under sail, and with the engine off, you can hear the humpbacks exhale or “blow,” and listen to their famous singing. This isn’t typical on most boats, but quiet is a very important factor for an excellent whale watch. Even when our relatively quiet engine is running, you can still hear them.  

passengers and Hualalai in background/Ethan Tweedie

Eco-Friendly

Our 34-foot sailboat Riva harnesses the wind whenever possible during our whale watch. When we do use the engine, we burn less fuel than any other boat: only a ¼ gallon an hour.

Humpback Whale Watching with Kohala Sail & Sea

Did we mention experience? Capt. Steve has more than 20 years’ experience as a professional whale watch captain in Hawaii, and he has taken thousands of passengers off shore to observe these mighty marine mammals and their mesmerizing behaviors. He has mastered the techniques to provide you the best whale watch possible without disturbing the natural behavior of the whales. Our naturalist/interpreter will share all you want to know about humpback whales, and interpret the behaviors we see.

We are located in the new Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, just minutes from the Kohala Coast resorts, and are adjacent to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. These conservation waters protect humpback whales and other marine life, and are known for steady tradewinds. The mountains here typically prevent the winds from creating steep pitches on the ocean’s surface, and the seas remain relatively gentle under sun-soaked skies and cool ocean breezes. Plenty of free parking is available in the new harbor.

Whale season starts December 1st. Call us today at 1-808-895-1781 to book your tour

Join us at Kohala Sail & Sea for the most amazing humpback whale watch from an uncrowded, eco-friendly and affordable sailing charter and create memories you will cherish for a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are private whale watching tours available?

Yes! We only take 6 people at a time, but if you are looking for something more private we can arrange for a private whale watching tour.

How close will we get to whales?

We love the ocean and its inhabitants and we love sharing it with visitors in a respectful, safe and responsible manner. We don't believe in aggressively approaching sea life because this stresses them and can negatively impact populations. Whales may approach the boat and surface quite close to it during observation. Because we are powered by sail whenever possible you will be able to hear the whales breath and sing.

When is the best time to see whales in Hawaii?

Whales begin to appear in Hawaiian waters in December and usually depart by April. The best time to see whales is February - March. Because whale watching opportunities and boats are limited you should book as soon as possible.

What Other Are Saying

Wonderful sailing cruise

We had a terrific two-hour sailing cruise with Kohala Sail & Sea. Captain Steve and First Mate Jessica were wonderful hosts, very welcoming, very friendly and approachable--delightful company. Captain Steve has extensive at-the-tiller experience (dive boats, Pacific Whale Foundation boats, lots of other craft), and has amazing stories that you should get him to share... Read more

Highlight of our trip!

I had been looking for a low-key way to enjoy going out on the ocean on a boat, and I spoke with Steve before our trip. Steve was really open to (all) my questions, and I appreciated his outlining the various kinds of trips he offers. His thoughtful approach to conservation and wildlife also really impressed me; he clearly loves sailing and the ocean, and he wants to share his passion with others, without disturbing the environment or animals and fish that live there... Read more

Best day of our Big Island vacation! Awesome sail/snorkel option without the crowds!

If you are staying anywhere north of Kona (Kohala coast, Waikoloa, Waimea etc..), Kohala Sail & Sea is your best option for a snorkel or sailing outing -- especially if you have kids. Let me tell you why we went with Captain Steve and why we're thankful we did... Read more