The co-founder of a Hawaii-based ocean safari company talked to us about her favorite diving spot and what to do when you encounter marine life.
Kayleigh Nicole Grant’s love for the ocean and its inhabitants runs deep, and she’s dedicated her life to helping others find that connection to the sea in the hopes of inspiring them to adopt more eco-friendly habits in their daily lives. She’s the co-founder, captain, and lead safety diver of Kaimana Ocean Safari, a tour company she started with her husband, Cam. Their other company, Faraway Seas, takes the same concept beyond their home base in Hawaii.
“We created these organizations to introduce people to the beauty of the ocean and show them how to interact with wildlife properly,” Grant said. “It’s said that if you love something, you’ll protect it. With every guest we take out on an ocean adventure, we hope they will fall in love and begin to make more eco-conscious choices in their daily lives.”
What do you love most about the ocean?
My favorite thing about the sea is its vastness and mystery. It’s such a powerful force that can’t be tamed or controlled. Being in the ocean can make anyone feel humbled and in awe. My favorite part of being out on the sea is the search. Anything can happen at any moment. You never know what amazing things you might see when you’re exploring the oceans.
What are some simple ways for people to be more eco-friendly at the beach?
When you’re enjoying the beach and the ocean, it’s essential to use products that are not harmful to the environment. Reef-safe sunscreen is vital as chemicals can cause coral bleaching. The ONLY active ingredients that should be in your sunscreen are non-nano zinc or titanium. You can also pick up trash. It’s a great practice to leave any natural area cleaner than you found it. That includes picking up others’ trash. Also, switch to reusables versus single-use. Single-use plastics such as water bottles, bags, straws, utensils, and more are littering our oceans. Be sure to make these swaps a part of your daily practice.
What’s your top tip for people who encounter wildlife at the beach or in the ocean?
Observe, don’t disturb. Frequently, people can get so excited when they come across dolphins, turtles, and sharks that they chase these animals. They may not realize that by chasing an animal, they appear as threatening as a predator would.
It’s best to let animals approach you on their terms. When an animal feels comfortable around you and trusts you, the interactions are amazing.
What are your must-have items to take with you to the beach?
My Cressi dive gear, reef-safe sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, a swimsuit made from recycled ocean plastics (like One Ocean Bikini), a towel (Pokoloko brand), and a hat.
Where is your favorite place to live and why?
French Polynesia because it is a shark sanctuary and still has an abundance of life. The humpback whales migrate here every year to mate and birth their calves. Cam and I run trips to this location every year. If you ever visit, check out Moorea Moana Tours.