Neptune Charlie’s was the first major stop on our tremendous week’s excursions touring the Big Island of Hawaii, and the experience truly set the bar high for what fabulous opportunities Hawaii can offer!
Now I had slight concerns for the venture as I started my preliminary research on the seafaring vessel and it’s tourist-based business of hiking wide-eyed foreigners across the sea and dumping them into key spots in the ocean to hopefully view passing dolphin pods and other sea creatures. One of my boyfriend, Wes’ books, The Big Island Revealed, had a so-so review of the business and I had many questions for the crew. The truth came to light that the Neptune Charlies Ocean Safari is not the same ownership as dictated in the book, and the new CEO’s (beautiful & fascinating ladies) and the incredible crew have indeed squashed any so-so review that you might find out there. In fact, if you read anything recent, including Wes’ and my review here, you will hear nothing but glowing and unadulterated love for this adventure cruise.
We started out signing in at the back of the ground docked ship & proceeded to the on-property store “SeaStore & Deli, Honokohau Harbor” for breakfast, hats, and coffee. Then we quickly used the nearby land bathrooms because no one wanted to see what the boat washroom was going to be like a few hours in, although I am sure they were nice enough for ‘necessary procedures’.
The boat was lowered into the water, docked, and the passengers were welcomed onboard. The young, good-lookin’ crew gave us a welcome and safety speech and off we went! Equipment was doled out and dolphin rules were issued and we were released into the wild, placed strategically in front of a very large pod of roughly 60-70 dolphins traversing to a resting spot further on. As I slid into the water, I immediately kicked over to my projected ‘in the path’ placement to see the most dolphins and, boy, I wasn’t wrong! The first 6-7 Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins swam within 8 feet of me! The shallow waters kept the experience very concentrated and I kept watching for the dark pods to slowly appear in the blue waters as they neared me. I also was able to see some large manta rays swimming gracefully below and I was so sad to not be able to dive the 10-20 feet w my snorkel to be among them. The water was warm and the excitement was tangible. I never had any fear to jump right in, but I did have anxiety, not for being a land creature completely out of my element, but for fear of missing something!! Luckily, I quickly learned that Captain Quentin, manning the ship at times, would point me in the right directions from the top of the mast so I wouldn’t be lead astray.
The girls, Joi and Alicia, added so much delight by caring for each one of us and answering all of our questions, no matter how absurd. And if we needed that extra pick-me-up between the three designated drop areas, then out came the fresh pineapple!! If I asked about a particular fish, then out came the identification book. If I wanted any specific dolphins names or facts, then the knowledge was plentiful to be shared.
And when we began to rest, it was so incredible to be in the arms of our partners, Willem with Linda and me with Wes, and chase the humpback whales as they went along their own romantic courses.
It was a vacation. It was an excursion. It was an adventure that I can’t give enough love to or to tell enough of, and if you have a morning free while here on the Big Island, then take your partner and just watch the smile on their face as they come within arms reach of wild dolphins in their natural element. Be part of the ocean together!
The Wes Side
My lovely lady here is not wrong. It’s just a great experience all around, but for me, I was a bit more apprehensive. Yes, that’s a four syllable word that means I was as scared as a four year old girl that has an extreme clown phobia…(Totally not scared of clowns, by the way). A few years back, I had close encounter with a shark off the shores of Oahu. That’s a story for another time, but here, on this boat, with this crew, I felt at ease, confident and excited. They knew all the perfect spots to see the best of this underwater world. It was like watching Animal Planet on your 60″ LED TV at home, but ya know, with a lot more ‘being submerged in the ocean’ and all. I dont care how high your definition is, nothing can compare to the real thing, and right after you get back on the boat, you have freshly sliced pineapple to freshen your mouth from all the fish pee. It was again, just a damn good experience. Go now! Throw away your big screen TV’s! Swim with the dolphins with Neptune Charlie’s Ocean Safaris!!! (Please, don’t really do anything to your big screen TV’s, that would suck.)