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Maui Sea Adventures
Exciting Day Tours Add Spice to Island Holiday

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed one or more relaxing vacations on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui — sunning on beautiful beaches, snorkeling, surfing, golfing, or visiting popular island sites. For your next visit, you may want to add even more spice to your normal fare. My wife and I recently returned from a Maui sojourn where we alternated our beach days with an exciting array of sea adventure tours: sailing an America's Cup sloop in 20-knot winds; ocean kayaking off Maui's southern coast; discovering the beautiful neighboring island of Lanai; and, snorkeling Molikini Crater. These adventures made our most recent Maui holiday into our most unforgettable. Come join the fun!

Sail America II

America II was second only to Connor's Stars and Stripes in the competition to become the United States entry for the 1988 America's Cup Race. The good news is that Maui visitors can sail her directly out of Lahaina Harbor. Sail she does, with her 65-foot hull slicing across Paiolo Channel at her full hull speed of 11 knots.

We took the afternoon sail in 20-knot winds with the mainsail reefed down one notch. The skipper, John, indicated that on many days higher winds force him to reef down yet another nothch. Although we sailed through 6-8' swells with 1' white caps, America II provided a comfortable ride. In just two hours we sailed all the way to the island of Lanai and back, including a "rail down" return to Lahaina Harbor. Everybody felt the excitement as the spray doused all aboard. We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. A couple of dolphins also joined in the fun and showed us that America II, as good as she sailed,  provided no contest for their sea skills.

America II
Tacking towards Lahaina rainbow
Photo: Rita Furnanz

Kayak South Maui

South Pacific Kayaks offers a number of adventurous kayak/snorkel trips off the southern coast of Maui. We opted for the Turtle Reef tour around Makena Bay. An early morning start ensured smooth waters as we paddled away from our launch beach. When we reached the outer reef near the bay's southern end our naturalist guide, Griff, dove down to anchor in a sandy spot. We then tied up to his craft and snorkeled from our kayaks to observe an incredible array of fish and numerous Hawaiian green sea turtles. These endangered and protected reptiles were great swimming companions and we developed real respect for them. Many of them were being "cleaned" by small rainbow cleaner wrasses with brilliant purple, yellow, and red coloring. Other interesting creatures included large unicorn fish and parrot fish munching noisily on the coral. Our paddle back to our starting point included great views of the shoreline and the towering extinct volcano, Haleakala. The tour experience primed us to want to sign up for South Pacific's longer Marine Reserve Explorer trip on our next visit.

Kayaking off  southern Maui
Courtesy: South Pacific Kayaks (SPK)

Green Turtle
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle
Courtesy: SPK

Discover Lanai

Trilogy’s Discover Lanai cruise is touted as Maui's premium full-day adventure. We decided to discover the reasons ourselves and took the sail west from Lahaina Harbor. Nonstop picturesque vistas kept us enthralled until the catamaran stopped in an isolated eastern Lanai cove for some great snorkeling with several sea turtles. The boat then continued on to to a mooring dock from where we took a short walk over to beautiful Hulopo'e Beach. After some lounging and beach activities, we took the optional van tour to view the highlights of this uniquely Hawaiian island. With a population of approximately 2,000, Lanai has been in the process of making the transition from its days as Hawaii’s chief pineapple-growing site. The tour passed through arid terrain before reaching a temperate-climate forested upland and the island’s only town. After a tasty beach dinner we were treated to a sunset sail back to Maui to top off the incredible day.

Trilogy Catamarans
Courtesy: Trilogy

Lanai's Hulopo'e Beach
Courtesy: Trilogy

Snorkel Molikini

One of the Hawaiian Islands most renown snorkeling and diving spots is Molikini Crater. Sitting approximately 10 miles southwest of Maui, Molikini consists of a 1/2-mile-long semi-circular volcanic rim sheltering an underwater crater containing numerous species of sea life. The Pride of Maui makes two half-day trips to the crater. We took the early morning departure and were able to snorkel continuously for two hours to view the impressive, never-ending arry of inhabitants, including moray eels, trumpetfish, tangs, butterflyfish, snappers, puffers, triggerfish, parrotfish, wrasse, and Moorish Idols. We found that Molikini lived up to its advance billing, even rewarding us with a display of dolphin antics as we neared the crater.

Molikini Island and Crater
Courtesy: Pride of Maui

Reef Fish
Fish in their Mokini habitat
Photo: Rita Furnanz

Honokowai, an Ideal Location

North of Lahaina, between Kaanapali and Napili on Maui's west coast, the Honokowai area offers up several small condo complexes. To our taste we found the convenience, accommodations, and value ranked as the best combination on the island. Specifically, we stayed at Kaleialoha Condominiums and enjoyed its comfort and oceanside assets. We were treated to a constantly changing set of sea conditions which included on various days: tow-in surfers on 20-foot waves, kite surfers, paddling surfers, boogie boarders, a rare 4,000-foot-high water spout off of Molokai Island, lake-like calm waters, incredible sunset views over Lanai, and the best stargazing we'd ever experienced. We'll be sure to take advantage of this condo discovery on our next Maui vacation.

SurferTow-in surfer from condo
Photo: R. Furnanz



Kaleialoha condo unit
Courtesy: Kaleialaho Condos

Sunset from condo
Photo: R. Furnanz

  Useful links:  
  Maui Real Estate; Some people visit paradise, you can live here. Find homes in Lahaina or Kihei on Maui.  
  Maui vacation rentals; Stay in style on Maui. Find affordable beach homes for rent and a wide selection of vacation rentals.  
  Maui Activities; Zip-lining, dinner shows and luaus, boat trips. What's your pleasure? We take care of your Hawaiian desires.  

Click here for details to plan your own trip to Hawaii’s Island of Maui.

        Les Furnanz
        Photos: Rita Furnanz

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