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TRIP OVERVIEW

6 days
Coaching Camp
5km/day
Moderate

Tour Highlights

  • Travel to the ‘Island of Discovery’ and explore the youngest and largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago

  • Swim along volcanic coastlines and discover waters teeming with marine life from your base in Kona – home of the Ironman® Triathlon World Championships

  • Train with our expert SwimTrek coaches and practice your skills in both a purpose-built pool, as well as on exciting open water routes, swimming over coral reefs on the tropical Kona coast

  • Receive in depth technique feedback and advice on how to swim efficiently in big oceans

The island of Hawaii (affectionately also known as the Big Island) is the ‘Island of Discovery’ and there is so much to unearth both along the coast and inland. The youngest and largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, it is twice the size of all the others combined. The Big Island is less than a million years old and still growing - Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, spews lava down to the sea and this volcanic activity generates a unique landscape of black lava, scattered with lush arable pasture, desert, and dew-soaked valleys.

Our base is Kona, the laid-back seaside town, home to the Ironman® Triathlon World Championships. It is ideally located in between our swim sites over the week and is a great spot from which to explore the rest of the island, should you wish to do so.

Whatever your swimming goals, our coaches will work with you, both in the sea and in a purpose-built pool to ensure that you get exactly what you want out of your time with us. During the week, we will aim to cover elements of the following units:

Unit Content
Unit 1 Breathing
Unit 2 Body Position and Alignment
Unit 3 Catch and Propulsion
Unit 4 Sighting


Who is this Camp for?

This coaching camp offers a combination of exploration, observation and swimming. Situated in the big ocean of the North Pacific, it is ideal for the swimmer who is keen to challenge themselves in bigger sea conditions, but who still want to explore craggy volcanic coastlines as well as viewing spectacular wildlife below the water with fantastic visibility.

Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average swim distance and average daily swim distance (over the course of two swims) prior to the start of the trip.

The average swim distance is around 2.5km. The average daily swim distance is around 5 km.

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.


What's included?

  • Professional Swim Coaches & full safety cover in the open water (swimmers only)
  • Open Water Swims and Coaching sessions (swimmers only)
  • Technical Swim Skills session in a 50-metre open-air pool (swimmers only)
  • Swim Technique Coaching and Video Analysis session (swimmers only)
  • Five nights’ accommodation
  • Five breakfasts
  • Four lunches (swimmers only)
  • Full ABTOT Financial Protection

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the camp
  • Evening meals
  • Drinks and additional activities

Coaching Camp Itinerary

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and sea conditions. Your SwimTrek coaches and local boat pilot will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Pacific 19

Start Time: 16:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Pacific 19

Finish Time: 11:00 on Day 7

Day 1

We will meet outside on the pool deck of our hotel. There we will hold our welcome meeting and safety briefing, before hopping into the waters nearby for a refreshing acclimatisation swim in the sea. The swim begins right off Kailua Pier at the start-point of the swim leg of the Ironman® World Championships. This is an excellent chance to familiarise yourself with the local conditions before we head back to the hotel and then out again for our first dinner of the trip.

Day 2

Today we start the day with our first pool session. Our coaches will take the opportunity to capture your stroke above and below the water, to be reviewed later. After lunch, we board the boat and head out into the open water and complete our first coastal swim from Garden Eel Cove (Manta Ray Heaven). This is an opportunity for you to take any coaching points from the pool into the open water.

Once we return, your coaches will review the footage captured earlier and give further advice on your technique.

Day 3

Today, we rise early to make the most of the best conditions for our swim along the Kona Ironman® course. Above the water you can identify the peak of Hualálai laid out in front of you and there are plenty of fish to keep you company. It’s a great morning swim before refuelling and a chance to relax. There is an opportunity for a short swim in the pool before lunch, but we will complete our main coached session of the day in the afternoon. Our afternoon session will further develop your technique and open water skills. The evening is then yours to relax or explore and find somewhere local for dinner.

Day 4

After breakfast, we head out on the boat for the duration of the day. We head just south of Kahalu'u towards the fish aggregating device VV. This device is one of many around the big island and is part of a strategy to encourage more sustainable fishing. It also means it is a fantastic location to experience a wide variety of marine life during your swim. After lunch, we continue our swim, exploring the waters before returning to the hotel.

Day 5

Today, we have another great day out on the boat. We travel down to the southern section of the Kona coast, which is sure to be one of the highlights of the week. The first swim is one of the most exposed swims of the week. It feels like we are well away from it all, as we start swimming from Keawekaheka Bay, which contains one of the Big Island’s most beautiful reefs. From here we swim along the coast and feel the rolling ocean push us along our course. Lava-formed bays can offer natural stopping off points along the way. The swim culminates with an arrival into the awe-inspiring Kealakekua Bay and a monument on the spot where explorer Captain James Cook fell, in 1779. It’s a unique way to arrive at such a significant monument!

After time to hydrate, relax and explore the area around the monument, we then hop back into the water for our crossing across Kealakekua Bay. The bay is surrounded by steep cliffs which makes access from land difficult, so the water is undoubtedly the best way to explore. During the crossing, it is possible to see the bottom most of the way across as the reef comes up close to the surface. Manta rays were spotted here during our recce and if you come across them on this swim it is sure to be a mesmerising experience.

Day 6

Today we finish the week with a morning swim before breakfast. After the exertions of the week, it is we take a relaxing swim on the beach just by Kailua Pier, directly down from of our hotel, before the trip finishes later in the morning.

Location Summary

Kona

The lush and tropical coastline of Kona spans almost two-thirds of the entire west side of the island of Hawaii, from just south of Anaehoomalu Bay to Kau. Along this section are dotted coffee farms and historic Hawaiian landmarks. In fact, King Kamehameha spent his final years in Kona.

Kealakekua (Captain Cook) Bay

Kealakekua Bay is a piece of paradise, both on land and underwater. The bay holds one of the most abundant coral reefs on the island and is located on the lush and tropical Kona coast. The centre of the bay is deep, and you can often find a pod of spinner dolphins that use the bay as resting grounds. The bay is where Captain James Cook was killed following an argument with the local inhabitants. We will swim directly up to the Captain Cook Monument, which is situated where he fell all those years ago.

Kahalu’u

The reef at Kahalu’u Bay is a living, breathing ecosystem and home to numerous creatures. The centrepiece of this habitat is the coral reef. As you swim, keep your eyes focused for sea turtles, octopus, sea urchins, eels, and dozens of fish species, including yellow tang, bullethead parrotfish, Hawaiian spotted boxfish, and more...

Trip Grading

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.

Swimming Distances

Swimming distances in the sea will vary over the course of the week depending on the conditions and the ability of your group. As a guide, we expect to cover a maximum of 5km per day.

Guests are welcome to take a break from pool sessions or jump onto the boat during sea swims, if required. It may also be possible for those who would like a little more time in the water to extend some of their swims over the course of the coaching in consultation with your swim coaches.

Swimming Conditions

Hawaii’s isolation means that roughly 25 percent of its fish species are endemic, which means they are found in Hawaii and nowhere else in the world. Swimming here is a fantastic experience in warm, clear waters, crowded with underwater flora and fauna. You need to be aware that certain marine life, such as jellyfish, sharks, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In the areas that we swim, there is a long history of snorkelling and swimming, so sea life is used to human interaction. If you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking. Sea swell tends to be bigger than in a lot of places on the US mainland. This only adds to the challenge and fun of the trip, but if you're unfamiliar with these kinds of conditions, please consult with the office before booking.

Guests prone to sea sickness might wish to bring along sea sickness tablets. Some easy ways to ward off nausea are: ensuring you are well rested; avoid screen time; get plenty of fresh air; look off at the horizon; move closer to the middle of the boat, where the motion of the sea will be reduced.

Walking Conditions

The west coast of the Big Island benefits from the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail which runs in many places along the coast. While the focus of the trip is undoubtedly the swimming, there may be some opportunities to walk small sections of this historic trail, should you wish to do so. Most walks take place on designated paths and tracks. Please note that comfortable shoes or sturdy sandals are recommended for all walks and treks.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
May 24-26˚C / 72-79˚F 23-25˚C / 74-77˚F
October 26-28˚C / 78-82˚F 25-27˚C / 77-80˚F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Camp Information

Group Size

This coaching camp has a maximum group size of 14 with a maximum coach:swimmer ratio of 1:7. On open water swims, the group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort.

Boat Support

Boat support on this trip includes one main boat and two support craft crewed by your SwimTrek guides but the allocation of watercraft will vary based on swim location. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Extra Activities

Around Kailua Bay there are plenty of facilities and activities to keep you busy when not swimming. Take part in rejuvenating paddle board or sit-on-top kayak tours paddling around the bay. Try scuba diving too. Speak to our boat skipper about diving and snorkelling with the manta rays. Visit a Kona coffee farm or relive the Hawaii Five-0 opening credits and paddle a traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe.

Essential Equipment Checklist

For your basic, essential packing list, please visit our Packing List page on the website. For additional, location specific items, please see the information below.

SwimTrek will provide water and electrolytes at every location and refill your bottles.

SwimTrek will also supply swim hats. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest, snorkel, or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Coaching Sessions

Our experienced coaches will cover a range of coaching sessions will cover swim technique & open water skills to suit you as well as deliver in depth video analysis. Sessions will take place in a purpose built 50m swimming pool, making it the perfect venue for a structure training program. The big ocean and dramatic coastline of Hawaii are an ideal base to help you with your open water development.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to the start of your trip is to fly into Kona International Airport (KOA). It is important to remember that the Big Island has two international airports, Kona is on the west coast and Hilo (ITO) on the east coast. For this trip, Kona International Airport (KOA), also known as Keāhole, is the most convenient option for you. Of course, if you are looking to spend time in Hawaii before or after your SwimTrek, then flying into one airport and out of the other may well work.

As SwimTrekkers come from all over the world, and join our swimming holidays in numerous destinations, we don't currently offer flights as part of our SwimTrek packages. We do however want to do as much as we can to ensure that our guests get the best deals when travelling to one of our trips so check out SwimTrek's tips to help you get the best deals for your flights page on the website.

Transfer from Kona International Airport to Kailua-Kona

Our accommodation, Pacific 19, is located Just back from the bay at Kailua-Kona, the entrance is off Palani Road. It is around 9 miles south of the airport. For more information on Ground Transport from the airport visit the Kona Airport Website.

Accommodation

For the duration of our trip, we stay at Pacific 19 - a boutique hotel in the heart of Kona. Just minutes away from the beach, the newly renovated hotel offers comfortable, stylish standard rooms, pool, and partial sea view rooms on offer as well.

All rooms at Pacific 19 are en suite with air conditioning, a mini fridge, Wi-Fi, and a hair dryer. Each room style can be confirmed with one king sized bed or two double beds, to meet your needs as a twin, double or single occupancy. All rooms and occupancy types are subject to availability.

Please note that the hotel requires a $175 refundable security deposit upon check in to cover consumable items within the rooms. They will ask for credit card authorization from each guest at check in.

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

If you wish to extend your stay at the Pacific 19 Hotel before or after the trip, please contact the hotel directly via email to aloha@pacific19.com and let them know that you are part of the SwimTrek group.

Food and Drink

All breakfasts are included on the trip as well as simple lunches. Dinners are at your own expense.

For more information, please visit our food and drink page on the website.

Travel Advice

For more information on any of the following sections please visit the Travel Advice page of our website.

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

The local currency is US dollars (US$).

You should bring extra money with you to cover items such as meals not already included in your package, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc.

In some countries, tipping (gratuities) is not part of the culture - in others it has become an expected norm. We believe that tipping is done entirely at your own discretion. If you have been provided with excellent service it may be something you wish to do. Your SwimTrek Guides can advise on local norms for service providers like boat crew, waiters or taxis. Nothing is expected for your SwimTrek Guides but many groups like to present something to the Guides at the end of the trip.

Responsible Travel

SwimTrek is conscious of the importance of protecting the world’s natural wonders. We are acutely aware of our responsibility to not only take care of the natural environments which we are lucky enough to explore, but also to educate our guests about the importance of conservation efforts and responsible tourism. It’s for this reason that we have worked so closely with our partners to ensure that our trips are conducted in the most responsible and sustainable way possible, working tirelessly to minimise the impact of our presence on local marine life and the natural habitat.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel page on the website.

Passports and Visas

Non-residents of the United States require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. The majority of visitors to the US require a visa to enter the country. Many nationalities can apply online for the ESTA Visa Waiver Program by visiting www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta. For further information about US visas, please visit www.travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html.

Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and it is important that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference.

For further information, please visit our Travel Insurance page on the website.

Here at SwimTrek, we pride ourselves on our focus on safety and the well-being of all our guests. As we operate in some beautiful and remote locations medical facilities are not always easily accessible. SwimTrek Guides, and many staff working for our local partners, are first aid trained. However, we ask that you read our Travel Health page to ensure that you are informed about general Travel and Swim Health precautions.

Internet Access, Electricity and Travel Plugs

Wireless internet access is available in the lobby, public areas, and guest rooms of our hotel. Many bars and restaurants around town also offer access but signals off-shore may be limited.

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit www.worldstandards.eu.


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