While planning our honeymoon to Maui last year, I came across a website called Safari Boat Excursions. I was looking for a day out on the ocean, and this website promised to take us around Maui’s neighboring island of Lana’i on “an adventure to see places that fewer than 1% of tourists to Maui ever see.” This tour is one of the only tours that circumnavigate the entire island, and when the Captain created this tour he wanted to invoke the same sense of discovery that is found out on the Safari.
Sign me up!
On the third morning of our honeymoon, my husband and I started the day early. We arrived at the Lahaina Harbor around 6:30a.m., found slip 16, and then met the skipper, Eric. As we began to board the boat, the Lanakila, a boisterous and friendly Captain, named Captain Dave, asked if there were any honeymooners within the group. (It’s one of those moments where you wonder if you really should raise your hand, because it almost felt like a trap.) 😉 Lucky for us we raised our hands and were the only honeymooners within the group that day, because the Captain placed us in the first two seats at the front of the boat, appropriately named “the loveseat”. We had the best seat in the house. Woohoooo, another perk of being a newlywed! As we drove out of the harbor the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” began to play, and at that moment we realized that we were in for a treat.
As we crossed the Auau channel, Captain Dave spoke about the history of Lana’i and explained how the landscape has changed over the years from growing taro and sugar, to ranching, to the world’s largest pineapple plantation, to the remote luxury resort island it is now.
While cruising the north shore, we approached an eight-mile stretch of sand known as Shipwreck Beach. Due to the strong currents and the shallow rocky bottom in this channel, many ships have ran aground throughout Lanai’s history. The beach is completely barren except for the old shipwrecks that dot the shore line, and is only accessible is by boat or by a 4WD vehicle. Captain Dave explained that according to ancient legends, the beach is cursed and evil spirits walk these sands, which is why there are no hotels, condos, or any development along the whole north side of Lana’i. (Folklore and legends, a bunch of “you-know-what”, whatever it is, I enjoyed the story. And it does make you wonder why nobody has built on the beach front property…)
An up close and personal look at the many shipwrecks along this shoreline:
Throughout the day we snorkeled at different sites around Lana’i with interesting names like: Cookie Monster and Shark Fin. Skipper Eric provided a delicious lunch buffet with many different sandwiches, salads, chips, and lots of delicious fruit. The best part of this tour is you are encouraged to bring a cooler filled with your favorite adult beverage (just no glass containers). There is also juice, water, and soda available for those who don’t want an ice-cold beer after snorkeling.
not so “dangerous” snorkeling stop at Shark Fin, we were in for the ride of our lives. As the boat turned into the strong waves along the south shore, it almost felt like we were surfing the waves. Waves would splash up and over the bow of the boat and by the end of this stretch of the journey my husband and I were drenched! So much for having the best seat in the house. 😉
The day was full of adventure: stories about ancient curses and legends, exploring numerous shipwrecks, snorkeling, boat “surfing”, seeing a sleeping monk seal, and spotting a bunch of boobies. Wait, what???? Sorry folks, not “those” kind of boobies, I’m talking about the birds! The booby comment was sort of a running joke that day between the captain and some of the teenagers. 😉
After all of that FUN, we were about to encounter the best part of our entire day. As we began to cross back into the Auau channel a massive pod of spinner dolphins appeared.
Capt’n Dave drove the boat as the dolphins swam and jumped out of the water all around us. He then stopped the boat so we could observe these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. We watched in awe as they propelled themselves high above the water and displayed their aerial skills allowing our cameras to capture this beautiful moment. It was an amazing event. I was lucky enough to witness a big pod of dolphins along the NaPali coast of Kauai a couple of years ago, but this time I couldn’t believe how many dolphins were around us, it was unreal. I can’t even tell you how bad I wanted to jump in and swim with them.
We finished off the exciting day by jammin’ out to “The Boys are Back in Town” as we cruised back into the Lahaina Harbor. When my husband and I go back to Maui, we will definitely spend another day with Captain Dave and his crew.
There’s nothing better than a day spent out on the ocean. What’s your favorite ocean adventure?