Kona Sea Sports Shogun Charters

I think I can easily say that the highlight of our trip to Hawaii was our charter boat ride from Kuailua, Kona to Keleakua Bay. As a family of four, we wanted to try both fishing and snorkeling. When looking at charter fishing options, Kona Sea Sports was one of the few Kona fishing charters that also offered snorkeling and specifically catered to families with kids. We found them when we were surfing the web looking for fishing charters in Hawaii. The Kona Sea Sports site only gives you a taste of what you’ll experience on board the Shogun.

We booked our charter over the phone with Captain RayJay. He brings his cell on board with him, and it works pretty well even out in the ocean. He was very friendly informative and courteous over the phone. I immediately felt comfortable booking with him. My one concern was that if for some reason the ship could not dock in Kona, what would our liability with him be? He said that if we had to cancel because of not making it into port, we would be charge just $75. (Web site now says $100.) In the overall cost of the cruise, that seemed pretty small, so we went ahead and booked the charter with him.

Our only hiccup was finding a taxis to get to the small boat harbor. Our drive wasn’t sure where to drop us off, and it took us a while to find the Shogun. But it wasn’t really a problem as we both had our cell phones so we quickly hooked up with each other.

Once onboard we got acquainted with the Shogun, had some brief safety instructions, and then headed out of the harbor.

Immediately we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins who swam right up to the boat. Our kids were completely amazed. We then had our hour and a half boat ride along the coast to Keleakua Bay. We trolled the whole time, but didn’t even get a nibble. We sailed right by the Infinity anchored off shore and got some fantastic video.


The highlight for our family was the snorkeling in Keleakua bay. My son had done a research paper on Captain Cook. This is where Cook was first warmly greeted by natives believing him to be a god, and then later killed by the Hawaiians. That violent history was only evidenced by a huge gouge in the rock face reported to have been made by a cannon from Cook’s ship. The bay itself was peaceful, calm and the epitome of tranquility. Our boat was not one of the two boats approved to anchor or tie up in the bay, so our captain remained on board while first mate Larry took us snorkeling. The kids were expertly fitted with their gear by RayJay and Larry, who’s other “job” (he’s really a retired dentist) is a diving instructor.


The kids got masks and fins, but chose to snorkel with out life vest, instead using “noodles” to allow more flexibility in their adventure. They are both good swimmers, but the noodles just kept them from tiring too quickly. They could move around and dive more easily. My husband and I just swam freely the whole snorkeling time.

The clarity of the water and the abundance of fish amazed us. Every minute Larry was pointing out a new fish for us to enjoy. The kids had even studied some of the fish cards and books on board the boat and would come up to the surface exclaiming “Mr. Larry! Mr. Larry! I saw as puffer fish, I saw a needle fish!” or “Mr. Larry what are all those yellow fish called?” or “Mr. Larry, I saw a Humahumanukanukaapuaa!!!”


After our snorkel, we were treated to a deli style picnic lunch and another relaxing ride back to the small boat harbor. We enjoyed laying down on the front of the boat and relaxing to the gentle motion. The day could not have been better for us. The only thing I wish we had done was purchase an underwater disposable camera. We could have really taken some incredible pictures in the water because it was so clear and the fish were so abundant.