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Go Sailing on the Deep Blue Sea

No fossil fuels. Just you and nature.

Salty Adventures on the Kohala Coast!

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.

Price Shared: $235 per person | Price Private: Starting from $1295 | Duration: 3 hours | Rated: Easy.


About the Tour
Three tours are offered daily; Morning adventures begin when the water is usually calm and glassy, great for snorkeling and welcoming the day. Midday charters are also great snorkeling as the sun shines straight into the water, showcasing the region’s enchantingly unique shade of oceanic Kohala blue. This is also when a breeze can pick up for some incredible sailing action. There is no better way to end the day than adrift on a silent catamaran, watching the sun set on an epic panorama of 5 Hawaiian volcanoes, and you may even witness the phenomenal Kona Green Flash aboard their sunset cruise. But honestly? Whenever you hop on this electric sailing catamaran off the coast of Hawai’i Island, you know it’s good times ahead.

Glide Over Protected Waters

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 youʻll luck out and be the only boat out on the water for miles around.

What You Might See

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.

History of the Company | Living a Sweet Life on the Dolce Vita

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.


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.


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.



(9 Reviews)

Calley ONeill
Wow! May family just came from a silent solar sail on Kohala Blue’s Dolce Vita! This is what every boat needs to be and soon. A gorgeous boat, and what could be better docked in a place with 360 days of sun…a star powered boat ..first in the islands. Such a generous amount of time to bout with Captain jDamon along with Shaun and crew and Mermaids. The best of the best on every level! They even have two beautiful windmills on the boat! I cannot say enough about this boat, the crew, and our peaceful experience in harmony with nature. BRAVO!!!!

Marc B

To experience the Kohala coast under the power of sun and sail is truly a unique and fulfilling experience. Sean, Captain Damon, and Sedric gave us an experience we will never forget. The craft was shipshape, with all the comforts (including a head), and the quiet propulsion made us one with the ocean and it’s creatures (Whales, Whoa!)


Highly recommend this sailboat catamaran to explore and Kawaihai harbor is very conveniently located. The Dolce Vita is a comfortable boat with shade or sun, restroom, table, coolers, and easy access to the water for snorkeling. Seeing the whales were amazing but even if we hadn’t, I’d 100% recommend this boat and crew. Amazing experience all around.

Tom B

Capt. Steve thanks again for sharing your passion and love for whales. Capt. Steve is quite knowledgeable about Humpback whales and is quite willing to share his knowledge. No scripted speeches but personal and factual information given in a relaxed environment based on his personal experiences. Yes, we did see some whales, but unfortunately no real closeups. Nevertheless, the experience aboard the Riva is still one of our hallmarks of this vacation. Limited seating 6 guests sit where you want and take in the beautiful coastline while scanning for whales. Snacks are provided and even beer! Maholo Steve we wish you the best.