Cruising The Napali Coast

One of the best things to do on Kauai is a Napali Coast boat tour. Any opportunity I get to be on the water overlooking Kauai’s rugged Napali coast I grab for it. I usually have to snare a visiting family member to accompany me, but not this time. My brother in law, an avid boat captain in the Caribbean and along the eastern seaboard was jumping at the chance to be on the water.

Cruising the Napali Coast is the best thing to do in Kauai

The Beautiful and Rugged Napali Coast

It was double good fortune for me too, a willing sailing partner and a winner of two free tickets for the cruise on Holo Holo Charters. Holo Holo Charters generously provided two free tickets to an event that is close to my heart, Green Drinks Kauai. A sustainability group that meets monthly to socialize and discuss ways to improve Kauai by reducing and recycling waste. Giving back to our community that has done so much for us personally and professionally is a hallmark of Holo Holo’s company’s philosophy.

Conveniently we began our adventure from Port Allen which is a short drive from our vacation rentals. The State of Hawaii and the County of Kauai offered a great launching point for the boating industry on Kauai. It came about from years of tension between the boating industry and residents on the North Shore, where visitors were ferried out to the boats via Hanalei Bay. Happily the logistics have been resolved and both the Industry and the community are happily co existing. The Industry found that Port Allen and its close proximity to Poipu Beach has been great.

The day began with an introduction to the 50′ catamaran Leila, one of the few in the industry with keels and comfortable ‘trampolines’ that guests can lay on to watch the bottle nose and spinner dolphins as they play in the wake of the cat’s hulls. Nose to nose with the denizens of the sea.

Things to do on Kauai

Bottle Nose Dolphins at Play Along the Napali

As we cruised along the south west coast of Kauai our crew entertained us with Hawaiian legends and little known factoids about seabirds and Kauai history. A favorite because of my former employment with Kekaha Sugar, was the story of the great train robbery in Mana in 1920. Kaimiola Hali, a Hawaiian fisherman, who took his inspiration from silent film, he saw an opportunity to rob the Kekaha Sugar payroll of $11,000.

Following the theft he took control of the train and made his escape only to be caught several days later. His thievery cost him 4 years in jail but he turned his life around, later becoming a guard at Iolani Palace on Oahu and later a Territorial Sheriff of Hawaii.

Holo Holo Charters cruise the Napali

Leila's Crew with Captain Amy

Once we past Polihale Beach Park Captain Amy found a wonderful isolated spot to set anchor and allow us to snorkel. This was awesome and reminded me of the time when I wanted to jump into my uncle’s salt water aquarium back in Wilmington, Delaware to touch his prized fish. With small bits of bread as an enticement the neighbors readily ate out of my hand. You have got to try this, it will last with me forever, the moment when two fish were in the palm of my hand.
Whale watching on the Napali coast is a great thing to do on Kauai

Citizens of the Napali Coast

Following the snorkel segment of the trip the bar was officially open to the passengers. Along with soft drinks and water there was beer and wine available. The food was prepared by one of my favorite restaurants in Poipu Beach, Casablanca. Fresh salad, great deli selections and the best chocolate chip cookies on the south shore that only Liz can make.

Our return was exciting, the Captain determined that heading back with a strong wind at our backs that we could cut off the twin diesels and hoist the sails. All of us relished the serenity and whishing of the cat’s hulls as they sliced through the water and watching the majestic Napali coastline unfold before us. As we approached Port Allen the sails were reluctantly furled and we switched back to full power to cruise into Port Allen harbor. None of us wished to depart, holding on and relishing the past 6 hours as very special for both visitor and kamaaina, native or local alike.

Here are a few recommendations that will prove helpful when you book your day cruise:

* Bring sunscreen- Our Kauai sun can be deceptively strong
* Bring a hat and light long sleeve shirt
* Leave your shoes on shore with Holo Holo Charters staff
* Bring your camera and towel

If you have a favorite story or any other helpful recommendations about your Napali Coast cruise please leave a comment.

About Joe Sylvester

Aloha! I have lived on Kauai for 33 years where I have worked as an Agronomist for 17 years, owned an art gallery for 11 years and own a vacation rental for 17 years in the town of Poipu. I am a former Peace Corps volunteer and have been married since 1985.
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  1. Wow! Great shots Joe.

    • Thank you Linda, I am beginning to average one publishable photo per 50 that I take. I was remarking to Bob yesterday on the boat that thank goodness Photography is digital. I can only imagine what my film costs would be averaging one usable shot per 50. Yikes! Once again that you for the comment.

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