Since I've been contemplating the idea of sustainable tourism more lately, I recall one of the best experiences I had taking a kayak trip across Kealakekua Bay on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii.It was July of 1996 and I was traveling with my husband at the time, my two daughters and a stepdaughter who were 12, 13, and 14. We were told about a local woman, Betsy Morrigan, who was offering small group tours across the bay in 2-person open hull kayaks. We contacted her and she told us she could accommodate the girls with a guide for one of them and the other two with either her, or a parent, so they would not have to be two alone trying to paddle to whole way. Our trip would take about half a day and she would provide lunch and snorkel equipment for all of us. Our launching point would be from the Puuhonua O' Honaunau National Historic Park on the western coast, south of Kailua Kona. We would cross the bay, which is a marine life conservation district, and stop for lunch and snorkeling after 45 minutes or so at the monument where Captain James Cook landed in the Hawaiian Islands and where he was later killed following a nasty spat with native Hawaiians.
Kealakekua Bay is surrounded by steep mountains covered with dense green tropical foliage and topped by clouds that build and billow and then dissipate.
My teenage girls were enthralled at the adventure of paddling across the bay and going to the monument only accessible by water. Certainly not everyone gets to do that, right! They were also intrigued with such a knowledgeable and capable woman as Betsy Morrigan. Fifteen years later they still remember her and the beautiful Hawaiian morning we spent on Kealakekua Bay. When we took our tour with Betsy Morrigan in 1996, her business operated under the name of Kayak Historical Discovery Tours. I've done some investigating and it looks like Betsy has sold her company and it now operates under the name Hawaii Pack and Paddle. I've looked at their website, www.hawaiipackandpaddle.com, and it looks like the same high quality eco-tour is their signature offering. I highly recommend this type of tour to the traveler who wants to unique way to experience Hawaii's natural beauty.