Discovering Kealakekua Bay
Countless years before Captain James Cook ever stepped foot on the Big Island, Kealakekua was a sacred spot, the revered home of gods and kings. Kealakekua Bay was settled over one thousand years ago and is home to an incredibly rich history and stunning natural sights that must be seen to be believed.
If you’re on your way to visit Kealakekua bay or the volcano, stop by and visit us at the Kona Gold Bakery—it’s always a good idea to stock up on coffee and delicious snacks before your adventure!
A short kayak ride away from Kealakekua Bay, a shining white obelisk reaches toward the sky. This is the Captain Cook Monument, a site honoring the life, death, and legacy of Captain James Cook. Cook was ostensibly the first Westerner to set foot on the islands of Hawai’i, and at first, the Hawai’ian people welcomed him with open arms, believing he was the living embodiment of Lono. Unfortunately, his victory was short-lived, as he was killed shortly afterward in a skirmish with the islanders, who realized he was not, in fact, a god.
Now, the 27-foot tall monument, erected in 1874, honors the memory and Cook and his companions. Legend says that the stone’s location was chosen because that was the spot where Cook was killed. To pay tribute to Cook’s Monument, you can join a boat tour, kayak across the bay, or take a jaunty four-mile hike through the Hawai’ian wilderness.
Despite its slightly macabre origins, the location of the Cook Monument is actually an incredible spot for snorkeling, as are many of the areas in Kealakekua. There is another world beneath the water’s surface, and it’s not to be missed! The water is sparkling, aquamarine blue, and so crystal clear that you can see the coral reef below, teeming with fish and all kinds of aquatic life. The waters of Kealakekua Bay are home to spinner dolphins, and if you’re lucky, you even may catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures playing in the waves.
Another incredible sight off the Kona coast? Manta rays! Unlike their lethal cousin, the stingray, manta rays are gentle giants. With enormous wingspans that can reach up to 25 feet, manta rays glide through the water, peacefully collecting plankton with their wide-open mouths. They could be called birds of the sea. Many snorkelers and divers actively seek out manta rays, hoping to spy them during late-night ocean dives on Kealakekua’s outrigger canoes.
Visiting the Kona coast of Hawaii's Big Island is the opportunity of a lifetime and we feel so blessed to live and work here. Kona Gold Bakery is the Big Island’s favorite pit-stop on the way to Kealakekua Bay and the volcano. What will you discover on your journey? Drop by and tell us all about it!