Tips For An Amazing Whale Watching Experience

By Captain Dave

Ready to take [part in one of our fantastic Maui whale watching trips? Here’s a few items you may want to consider bringing along with you on your tour:

  • Sunscreen – During our Maui whale watch tour you will be spending a good amount of time watching humpback whales frolic and play in the water under the wonderful Hawaiian sun. While the warmth is always welcoming, protecting your skin from UV rays with a dab of sunscreen is always a good idea.
  • Sunglasses – Great for not only protecting your eyes from UV rays, but also for reducing glare, making seeing the beauty of our marine friends all the more clearer.
  • Lightweight, water resistant clothing – Out on the sea you might find yourself facing the occasional small splash of water. Quick drying, lightweight clothing will help keep you comfortable while enjoying your trip. If you are planning on buying a few lightweight items, look for breathable clothing with built in UV resistance for added comfort and protection.
  • Binoculars – While an up close experience is quite common during our Maui whale watches, it’s always nice to have a pair of binoculars handy for those times a whale or other marine life chooses to do something amazing a bit farther out from the boat.
  • Waterproof phone case – Just to be safe, equipping your phone with a waterproof case provides great piece of mind while snapping pic, shooting videos, or tweeting your awesome experience on the #HOPMaui whale watch!

Now that you know what to bring, book your Maui whale watch with Hawaii Ocean Project today!

Snorkeling The Warm Waters Of Maui

By Captain Dave

While we are most often praised for our fantastic Maui whale watching trips and relaxing dinner cruises, the Hawaii Ocean Project also offers an host of fun day trips and activities for those looking for something a bit more adventurous on their vacation. One of our favorite offerings: Snorkeling the warm waters off of the island of Lanai.

A half day adventure departing bright and early at 8:30am, our Lanai Snorkeling trip begins with a short cruise aboard our unique 70 foot catamaran, the Kaulana. As we set sail you will be treated to a wonderful continental breakfast while taking in amazing interisland ocean views. Soon after the real fun begins as you find yourself at the first of two stunning snorkeling spots. Put on your snorkel gear, take a dip, and marvel at the vibrant marine life living just beneath the water’s surface. Experience amazing coral reef teeming with colorful, exquisite fish varieties, beautiful living coral, and even the occasional Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle!

Once you have had enough time to explore and experience marine life, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a full BBQ lunch as we head on back to Maui’s simply pristine shores.

An amazing experience for families, groups, or anyone else who love the Hawaiian waters, our Lanai Snorkel trip is definitely a “must do” during your next vacation on Maui.

If you’re ready to get your feet wet, book your Lanai snorkel trip today!

Watching Whales Watching You

By Captain Dave

Have you ever been up close and personal with a Humpback whale? For most, the answer is “No.” While these majestic creatures spend some time in Maui’s clear blue waters each season, coming in contact with a Humpback is strictly prohibited by law to help protect the whales being disturbed and intruded upon by human actions. While this means you must keep your distance whether onboard a kayak or a Maui whale watch vessel, the same rule does not apply to our sea bound friends if they decide to take an interest in us!

One such occurrence took place recently aboard our ship, the Kaulana, as we took a fun group of passengers out on the high seas for a leisurely Maui whale watch off the coast of Lahaina. During our trip, an intrigued humpback decided to take a closer look at our friendly shipmates, passing underneath our boat, just beneath the surface of the water! Lucky for us this exciting experience was captured by a number of friends and #HOPMaui family; who have shared it on our YouTube channel for all to enjoy! Take a peek:

Undersea Fun Off The Coast Of Maui

By Captain Dave

Have you ever wanted to explore Maui’s coastal waters, without getting your feet wet? If you are one to take a peek before you leap, a new program from Google will help you do just that (and so much more!)

“Google Oceans,” a new program under the Google Maps | Views banner, now has a number of undersea views of our island home for all to explore and enjoy. With a particularly awesome View of Maui’s famed Molokini Crater available, this fantastic new project let’s you virtually dive in and take a look around one of Hawaii’s most memorable dive location (and one of the top 10 dive spots in the world,) all from the comfort of your laptop, phone, or tablet. Whether sitting at home 8000 miles away in your pajamas, at the airport ready to board your flight to Hawaii, or at your hotel just prior to enjoying your next Maui dinner cruise, cruising around Maui’s beautiful seafloor via Google Oceans is a fantastic experience that anyone can enjoy!

Take a peek: once you have had enough exploring on Google, come on back to our homepage and book your own above sea adventure with Hawaii Ocean Project’s daily Maui whale watch, dinner cruise, or sunset cocktail cruise today. Mahalo!

Continued Excitement Off The Waters Of Kauai

By Delphine Berbigier

I’m trying to hide how excited I am-although I get to see humpbacks every day during the season on Maui, I’ve never seen a beaked whale. We’re not sure yet which exact species we’re after, possibly Blainville’s beaked whales, which were sighted by the group a few days prior. The Navy is gradually refining their interpretation of sounds corresponding to species thanks to the sightings on the field made by the team. No luck finding the beaked whales though. We must have missed them behind the swell. Pity. At least the sun is shining through the clouds and drying our soaked clothes.

We get another call “Cascadia-M3R. We have tursiops north of your location.” Tursiops truncatus is the scientific name for bottlenose dolphins. We make it to the area indicated by the Navy, and sure enough, we find two dolphins. One of them approaches the boat and stays with us for a few minutes. Enough time for the girls to take dozens of pictures of its dorsal fin, which will identify the animal like a fingerprint would a human, and for Daniel to shoot a satellite tag at the base of it. If all goes well, the satellite tag will stay attached and provide information on the animal’s whereabouts for about a month. So far, the team has deployed 10 tags: 2 on rough-toothed dolphins, 2 on bottlenose, 4 on short-finned pilot whales, and 2 on Blainville’s beaked whales. M3R calls us again to announce another pod to the west, but the wind is picking up and it’s getting late, so we have to head back to the harbor, mission of the day accomplished.

Dr. Robin Baird and the Cascadia Research Collective is one of the researchers that is supported by the Hawaii Ocean Project. “It’s important for us to receive flexible, independent funding, so that we can work on research projects that are important, but are not necessarily part of government agencies’ priorities and thus receive no official funding,” he says. “It can also really help us to buy new equipment, like a tagging gun or a camera.” But money is not the only thing that helps research: outreach and education is essential. As a parting gift, he hands me brochures on false killer whales to pass out at our upcoming events.

A big Mahalo to the Cascadia Research Collective!

Excitement Off The Waters Of Kauai

By Delphine Berbigier

I thought it was a good sign that we started the day with a sighting of a small reef shark right in the harbor, just at sunrise. From the dock, Millie jokingly warned Daniel, who was driving the boat, to not fall in the water. Brenda was getting ready to tie up the Zodiac while Elisa was hosing the trailer. Like a well-oiled machine, everyone knew what they had to do, did it fast, and in no time we were speeding off to the deep waters off of Kauai’s west coast, Dr. Robin Baird behind the wheel. I was invited for two days to join Cascadia Research Collective’s 2014 10-day field project off Kauai, as an extra pair of eyes scanning the water looking for whales and dolphins, and taking notes and photos to document the efforts.

The project is commissioned by the US Navy, which operates the nearby Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands, “the world’s largest instrumented multi-environmental range capable of supported surface, subsurface, air, and space operations simultaneously.” This means the Navy uses the area for a wide range of different operations and trainings, including the Submarine Commander Course, scheduled for late February. One of the main purposes of the field project is to obtain information on the movements of several species of toothed whales thanks to satellite tags before, during and after that training course.

So we’re out on our little RIB, looking for whales. Clouds melt into pelting rain, and we’re forced to head back to the harbor for lunch without any sighting, apart from a Laysan albatross and a petrel. The weather seems to clear up, and we go out again, northbound. Humpback whales are abundant at this time of the year, and they often give us a false alarm: they are not the whales we’re looking for. Fortunately, we get some help. M3R, part of the Navy’s monitoring program, calls Robin on the radio “We have a pod of beaked whales feeding off of hydrophone 4-5.” The PMRF features 1,100 square miles of instrumented range, which includes over 200 hydrophones. These pick up on the clicks and whistles toothed whales emit to echo-locate and find their prey. Through a process of triangulation, the Navy can obtain a pretty accurate location of a pod, and they send us there. Excitement is in the air . . .

Stay tuned for more in our next installment of the Hawaii Ocean Project Blog!

Sharing Your Maui Whale Watching Experiences

Have you enjoyed one of our many Maui whale watching tours and cruises? Would you like to get involved in the Hawaii Ocean Projects’ marine life conservation efforts but are unsure of where to start? Here’s some options:

  1. First and foremost, consider becoming a member of the Hawaii Ocean Project. Members enjoy special discounts, exclusives, and other benefits! Sign up today!
  2. Regardless of your membership status, you can also help increase awareness of the Hawaii Ocean Projects’ educational and conservation efforts by joining the discussion on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or any of your favorite social networks by using the hashtag #HOPMaui in your tweets, posts, and comments. We highly encourage those wishing to join the conversation, share their favorite experience, or display their best whale watching and ocean themed photos from aboard any of our vessels via their preferred social media accounts with #HOPMaui.

Ready to get in on the action? Explore Maui’s marine life in person or online with the Hawaii Ocean Project today, Mahalo!

Fun In A Private Setting On The High Seas

By Captain Dave

private charter

Looking for a unique experience on your next Maui vacation? Have you considered chartering your own private tour?

With more than thirty five years worth of experience in chartering boat tours of a wide variety, the Lahaina Cruise Company is well equipped to help you charter the perfect tour for you and your friends and family. With a large fleet to choose from, including the Island Princess, the Maui Princess, the Kaulana, the Lahaina Princess, and The Molokai Princes, our boats can accommodate your chartering needs regardless of your party’s size. Morning snorkel adventures, sunsets off the coast of Maui, wedding receptions, private whale watch cruises, or corporate parties, our experienced staff can help you put together a perfect get together atop the deep blue seas of Maui’s coast.

Ready to get your (private) cruise on? Contact us today to book your private charter with the Lahaina Cruise Company!

An Enchanting Evening Along The Maui Coastline

By Captain Dave

Looking for the perfect way to end a perfect day in paradise? Look no further than our Maui Princess Sunset Dinner Cruise.

Departing directly from Lahaina, you and your guest will enjoy a memorable evening of delicious dining and fantastic dancing aboard the Maui Princess: Maui’s largest and most stable 120 foot yacht. With a departure time of 5:30 in the evening, you will glide along Maui calming Western shore just in time to experience the always breathtaking Maui sunset, along with captivating 360 degree panoramic views of the amazing West Maui Mountains. Keep your eyes peeled an you may even catch a very special Hawaiian rainbow streaking across the mountain range.

As afternoon gives way to the night, enjoy the serene sight of twinkling lights from the coastlines of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, or gaze skyward and discover the starry Hawaiian night sky from atop our All Premium upper deck seating. As dinner is served, enjoy live, local music, followed dancing in the Maui Princess main cabin, or simply relax atop the deck and enjoy yourself as you cruise along the beautiful nighttime Maui coastline.

An enchanting cruise you will want to experience on your every trip to Maui, click here to book your seats on the Maui Princess today!