Experience the majesty of nature on a three-hour whale watching tour on the west end of the Big Island! Use the hydrophone and hear the whale songs.
Captain Zodiac is dedicated to providing responsible and holistic tourism to help create a stronger visitor connection with Hawaii’s past, present, and future and to create a more connected and sustainable Hawaii. We strive to implement sustainable practices into our business through continually assessing and lowering our carbon footprint, participating in respectful and educative wildlife interactions, and by providing historical and cultural connections to our visitors. We aim to create continuous environmental improvement to promote the health of our community socially, economically, and environmentally. We use our tours as a way to inspire change towards a healthier planet.
For more information on how to make sure you tour sustainably click the this link: Sustainable Tourism Hawaii!
What We Strive to Do At Captain Zodiac
- Provide meaningful, safe, and responsible interactions with marine life. When interacting with wildlife we remain at an appropriate distance, based on regulations and animal comfort level. We never touch marine life and never guarantee sightings, creating an understanding and enjoyment of wild animals as they are.
- In order to protect the marine resources we enjoy during our tours we refrain from swimming with marine mammals, anchoring on live coral, and practices that disrupt the natural environment.
- We ask guests to bring refillable water bottles and have a refill station in our store and on the boat. We also have reusable water bottles available for purchase hoping to discourage the use of single use items. When necessary we have compostable cup options and have eliminated the use of single use plastics on our boats.
- We do not allow the use of reef harming sunscreens on our tours. We have reef safe sunscreen available during our check-in for use as well as for purchase to encourage continued use after the trip is over. We use these products as a means to educate our visitors on protecting Hawaii’s delicate coral reefs.
- We use clean engines, replacing them based on manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure they have as minimal of an impact as possible. Our engines are 4-cylinders and are rated as ultra low emissions by the California Air Resources Board.
- Through our charters we are able to provide photos and observations to contribute to research, helping further the human understanding of wildlife and therefore, how we can better coexist.
- We provide historical and cultural knowledge to our guests helping to create a stronger understanding of the local community and the amazing culture that still exists in Hawaii. We hope to provide a means for all of our visitors to explore, enjoy, and respect Hawaii. We strive to create a connection that guests carry with them long after leaving our boats. As we work to deliver our sustainability promises we intend to continually assess and improve our performance.
We are grateful to now be a carbon neutral tour company! We have joined up with Carbon Buddy and now donate to carbon positive projects to offset the amount of emissions that we produce. Our guests are given the option to help us offset emissions during the booking process. Protecting the future of our ocean environment depends heavily on the action that we take now. The first quarter of our donations will be going to Waikoloa Dry Forest, a local project dedicated to restoring native Hawaiian vegetation. You can learn more at https://www.carbonbuddy.com/captainzodiac/
Citizen Science Contributions
Captain Zodiac is proud to participate in citizen science by contributing photos of a number of species of whales and dolphins to the long-term photo-identification studies being undertaken by Cascadia Research Collective. These photos are used to estimate abundance of different populations, examine social organization and life history of species including endangered false killer whales, as well as resident populations of short-finned pilot whales, pygmy killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, Blainville’s and Cuvier’s beaked whales, and dwarf sperm whales. By going out on tours with us our guests participate in citizen science and help contribute to this amazing research by providing opportunity for interactions with these rarely seen species.
For areas that you are unable to cover with clothing it is best to use a reef safe sunscreen option anytime you are in or around water. For Kealakekua Bay snorkel trips it is required that only reef safe sunscreens are used.
- Be aware! Although many sunscreens are labeled by “reef safe” stickers, it is extremely important to look at the ingredient list as many of them still contain harmful chemicals such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, Octocrylene, Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), Methyl Paraben, Ethyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben Butyl Paraben, Benzyl Paraben, Triclosan
- Look for sunscreens that are mineral based. When the active ingredient is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are the best choices for protecting the reef and your skin from the sun.
Reusable Water Bottles
We now offer our guests 26 oz. reusable Captain Zodiac aluminum water bottles. They are offered at a discounted rate at the time of your booking. We offer these water bottles to encourage guests to reuse them in the future both while visiting our island and when they return home. A million plastic water bottles are bought every minute around the world and a small amount of those bottles are actually recycled. Please help us do our part and use reusable water bottles and other reusable items over single use plastics.
There is no shortage of activities in Hawai’i but there are some operators who go above and beyond to continually improve their commitment to our islands and the people. Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawai’i has an excellent guide to find the operators that put in the work to make travel more sustainable. We highly recommend taking this guide into account when planning your Hawai’i itinerary!
Check out these resources to understand more about why we use sustainable practices such as reef safe sunscreen and reusable water bottles: