Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sailing in Hawaii

Located almost in the center of the North Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are truly one of the most isolated places on earth. Perhaps it is exactly for this reason that Hawaii has been able to still preserve its natural beauty over the centuries, even while incorporating the amenities of modern living. With this in mind, it is safe to say that the best way to explore beautiful Hawaii is by sea rather than by air. Sailing through Hawaii provides a deep appreciation for its breathtaking beauty while simultaneously offering a glimpse into the lives of the first explorers who discovered this archipelago by means of voyaging canoes.

The best sailing spots in Hawaii

Hawaii's remote location, its high mountain peaks, and shallow channels between each island all make for very windy and unpredictable sea weather. Any seasoned sailor will inform you that the best sailing spots in Hawaii are never constant and are always dependent on the wind. The strength and direction of the winds are so specific and distinct that the first Hawaiian settlers had more than thirty names for the different winds. Navigating through Hawaiian seas is safest in the company of an experienced captain and crew. It also means that you are guaranteed to receive trusted advice on the best spots to sight whales and dolphins, snorkel, swim, fish and explore interesting outer islands.

Island hopping

Island hopping or ‘Island fever,' as the locals call it, is a favorite among both tourists who are curious to take in the full experience of the Hawaiian isles, and among native Hawaiians who long for the excitement of visiting islands that are not their own.

Kauai, one of the six gorgeous islands, is best known for its historic towns where no building is higher than a coconut tree. Its soaring cliffs and vast Waimea canyon beckon to the adventurous and historically inclined.

The island of Oahu, on the other hand, blends timeless beauty with modern luxury. You can choose between a relaxing swim in Waikiki's famous warm waters, a stunning view from NuuanuPali Lookout, or a laid back afternoon of watching surfers on the world-renowned North Shore.

Molokai remains largely unchanged since its first settlers arrived. Featuring unspoiled coastlines, untamed wilderness, and a serene ocean view, this island is ideal for both adventure and solitude.

Lanai is the perfect escape for a golf enthusiast. Besides representing the characteristic tranquility and beauty of the Hawaiian isles, this romantic island also features two high-caliber golf courses.

The famous island of Maui is best known for its pristine beaches and seaside streets. It is also the winter destination of the humpback whales which migrate here every year!

The Big Island of Hawaii is large and constantly expanding. It is home to the world's tallest sea mountain - Maunakea, and also to one of the most active volcanoes in the world - Kilauea. This island offers its visitors an array of exciting experiences.

Sailing on Hawaiian waters aboard a charter boat is the perfect way to experience unspoiled natural beauty while still having access to modern luxury. Many boats include tours for whale watching, manta ray diving, fishing expeditions and snorkeling. Additionally, glass bottom boats open up a vista of ocean life, entrancing the viewer in a world of color and beauty. When you travel through Hawaii by sea, your will reap a rich experience of an unforgettable holiday.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Getting to Know False Killer Whales

Among the 18 species of whales and dolphins in Hawaii, the false killer whale is one of the most endangered. In 2012, the NOAA recognized a population of only 150 individuals inhabiting Hawaiian waters.Perhaps this is exactly the reason why, the dwindling population of these rare sea mammals, sparks our curiosity to understand them better.

Similarities and differences between the false killer whale and the true killer whale

Although classified as oceanic dolphins, false killer whales derive their name from the Orca, the “true” killer whales, with which they share a large number of characteristics, including their charcoal black appearance.Both species mature late with females becoming reproductively active at around the age of 10 years and males at about the age of 18 years! They only calve once in 6 to 7 years, and females experience menopause. On rare occasions it has been known for a false killer whale to mate with a bottlenose dolphin giving rise to a new species called the Wholphin.Of the oceanic dolphins, the pseudo orcas are regarded to be the third largest in size.

Killer whales, both “true” and “false”, are the only recognized cetaceans that actively hunt other marine mammals. But unlike the true killer whale, the false killer whale rarely attacks mammalian prey preferring to feed primarily on tuna, ono, mahimahi, swordfish and marine birds. In fact there have been intermittent observations of true orca preying on false killer whales.

Communication and Social Habits

Despite being a species that is widely distributed throughout tropical and temperate regions across the world, very little is known about the pseudo orca in comparison to other dolphin species. Information regarding this species has mostly been accumulated from observations of stranded dolphins in and around coastlines worldwide.

False killer whales are recognized as social and playful creatures. They tend to live and travel in large aggregations that extend to several miles. This also increases their success in hunting prey. Communication involves high pitched clicks and whistles. Like other dolphin species, echolocation is used to help navigate dark waters and locate prey or other members in their pod. Pseudo orcas have also been observed to share food and support one another in case of injuries.


Friendly and curious by nature, false killer whales do not hesitate to approach people. In fact, on occasion they have been known to offer fish to humans, snorkeling,sailing or scuba diving.  Nevertheless it is advised that people stay cautious and keep a distance from pseudo orcas in the wild. The safest way to observe these majestic sea creatures is by hiring a private charter to take you to areas most frequented by dolphins and whales.

Multiple populations of dolphins and whales have been regularly documented within Hawaiian waters by marine biologists. These cetaceans either reside in the temperate waters of Hawaii or are temporarily visiting while they journey around the globe. However, it must be remembered that sighting false killer whales cannot be guaranteed a hundred percent even in the pleasant clear waters of Hawaii.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Snorkeling with Green Sea Turtles

Kailua, the legendary Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is said to have the powers to transform into a young maiden. When children played on the beach Kailua watched over them, and when they were thirsty she would guide them to freshwater springs. It is said that she is the mother of all Green Sea Turtles, and perhaps, of all children. Legend also claims that it was the Green Sea Turtle that led the first travelers to Hawaii.

The Best Time to Snorkel with Sea Turtles

If you would like to snorkel with Kailua’s majestic family, the best time to plan a visit is during the summer months when the waters are calmer. As a rule, calm waters make it easy to observe the turtles.

The winter months bring with them larger waves, which consequently attract surfers. Generally, it is not very wise to go snorkeling, where there are surfers. 

The Best Places to Snorkel with Hawaiian Sea Turtles

Turtle Town in West Maui, an extraordinary set of lava formations developed underwater by submarine volcanoes years ago, is agreed to be the most ideal snorkeling destination for this purpose. Marine biologists say that Sea Turtles exhibit a “strong site-fidelity” that causes them to return to the area of their birth repeatedly, especially if it is rich in food source. Maui Turtle Town is a storehouse of seaweed and algae – the equivalent of ambrosia to turtles.

The Honokeana Cove in Napili, Kapalua, and Honolua Bay are other well-known places that the Hawaiian sea turtle is known to frequent on a regular basis.

What to Expect

Interestingly,Green Sea Turtles have dark brown shells with irregular patterns or swirls of gold, olive and reddish tints, instead of green as we’d expect. The name, ‘Green Sea Turtle’ is derived from the color of their body fat, which is green – most likely because of all the algae that they munch on all day.

While swimming with the sea turtles you may notice some resting under ledges or in “cleaning stations,” where herbivorous fish nibble away the algae smudged on elegant turtle shells.

The experience of snorkeling with these beautiful creatures can be described as nearly transcendental. Sea turtles don’t swim away from humans immediately. In fact, many snorkelers have been surprised to find themselves being casually observed by a sea turtle swimming a few feet away. This provides for some amazing underwater photography.

Tips and Precautions

Green Sea Turtles are federally protected and it is against the law to touch them. It’s also important to know that a stressed turtle can drown in a few minutes in spite of being able to stay under water for up to 5 hours. Gauge the comfort level of a turtle by watching for an abrupt wakening from a stupor-like state, “yawns”, or flippers swiping across the forehead area.

Visit Hawaii, hire the best Charter Boat services, enjoy the various fares provided on board and drift down the warm Hawaiian waters, on an idyllic Turtle Watch. If you wish to snorkel with the Turtles, the expert crew can guide you to the best spots, where you can snorkel with the turtles and chalk up an entirely exhilarating experience on your trip calendar.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Understanding Dolphins

Dolphins have always held a fascination for humans. Their intelligence, friendliness, grace, beauty, willingness to interact and even play with humans are unique, to these underwater creatures. Traditionally, to get close to the Dolphins, we visit large aquariums or theme parks that house these wonderful creatures. However, of late there has been a backlash against holding these joyous creatures in captivity, even though they do appear to be happy. Keeping them in an unnatural environment is actually cruel. So if you want to get close to dolphins but want to do it in a kind and natural manner, how would you go about it? On a charter boat, of course.

Snorkel with Dolphins

Going out on a charter boat to the spots where the dolphin pods swim, is the ideal way to see them. The best place to snorkel with the dolphins, is in the warm tropical waters, off the Big Island of Hawaii. Charter boats with expert crew and guides, often ply the Hawaiian waters, carrying guests to and fro, so that they may experience, the many different types of excursions available. One such tour is the Snorkeling experience with the Wild, Spinner Dolphins.

Before you begin your enthralling and refreshing experience of snorkeling with the dolphins, understanding them would help create a better environment for you and the dolphins.

Facts about Dolphins

  • Habitat: Most species of dolphins live in saltwater. They are generally found in the shallow waters off continental coastlines in warm and temperate regions. However, there are a few species that can be found in freshwater environments like rivers.
  • Food: Dolphins are carnivores that feed off the marine life available in the water where they swim. They usually eat fish like mackerel, herring, cod etc. and also squids. Some of the larger dolphin types like killer whales (yes, they are dolphins and no, despite their name they are not dangerous to humans) feed on turtles, sea lions and seals.
  • Predators: Dolphins are themselves food for the larger species of sharks for whom their large quantity of meat with a high fat content makes a very nutritious meal. Besides that, they have few other natural enemies.
  • Reproduction: Dolphins are mammals that give live birth to their young and nurse them until they are old enough to find their own food and feed off marine life. The young stay close to their mothers until they are mature enough to fend for themselves.
  • Intelligence: Dolphins’ ability to learn commands from humans, and play and interact with them, is a sign of a high level of cognitive ability, rare in the animal kingdom. However, this does not mean that actions like appearing to smile or the clapping of flippers, are a show of humanlike emotions. These are just natural and instinctive responses to external stimuli.
  • Social System: Dolphins are social creatures who live and travel in groups. This provides them with both the company they need as well as assisting them in hunting and protecting themselves.

Make sure that a Dolphin swim is a part of your Hawaii experience. You won’t regret it.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Understanding Manta Rays

Manta Ray Snorkel Big Island
Snorkeling to swim with manta rays is one of the most exhilarating adventures you can have in the ocean. Do not let their size and possibly alarming shape fool you - they are mild creatures and do not harm humans so you are safe with them. Of course, you should always have a qualified snorkeling guide with you.

What They Are

Manta rays are cartilaginous fish and belong to the shark family, although they are distantly related. Mantas live in temperate tropical waters and are open ocean creatures. However, they often visit reefs regularly to feed on plankton and allow small fish to clean their skins. There are two types of manta rays – the larger is known as the manta birostris and the smaller is the manta alfredi. The alfredi is usually found nearer the coast. Although they are found in groups near the reefs, mantas are solitary creatures that swim alone and only gather to feed and to mate. They are intelligent animals and have the largest brain to body ratio in the ray and shark family.

What They Look Like

Manta rays have flat disc like bodies of a diamond shape. While being similar in appearance to other types of rays, mantas are the largest of their type. Because the shape of their horns is said to give them a devilish appearance, they are also known as Devil Rays. Adult rays usually have a wingspan of about 11 feet although some have been found with spans of up to 25 feet. Female rays tend to be larger than the males. Manta are black and gray on the top and mainly white on the underside. The black and gray pattern is unique to each manta and can be used to identify individual rays similar to the way stripes are used to identify individual tigers. The weight of the mantas varies, but a thumb rule is to estimate a weight of 50 to 100 pounds for each foot of length. Their lifespan is believed to be anywhere between 50 to 100 years.

Where They Swim

The manta alfredi is found in the waters, off the Big Island of Hawaii. Although they can dive as deep as 700 feet, they usually swim between the surface and 80 feet down, making it easy for snorkelers to get close to them. On an average, they can be found at depths of around 30 feet.

The best way to get the manta ray experience is to do a night time snorkel when the rays come to the coral reefs to feed on plankton. Go out with an experienced charter boat and crew that knows the best places to find the rays. Ideally, it should be a spot that both the rays and snorkelers frequent so the creatures are comfortable having humans around. The best boats will have special lights to attract the rays and allow you to get a good look at them. Hawaii is a great place to get close to these magnificent creatures. Find a charter boat and crew on the Big Island that are experts in snorkeling with manta rays and prepare to enjoy a magical experience.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Snorkeling At Night Part – 2

Manta Ray Night Snorkel
A night snorkeling adventure to see manta rays is not just a surreal experience. It is rated as being among the 10 best dive experiences in the world and is one that you will never forget.

Darkness and Light

Swimming and snorkeling in inky darkness may seem to be a little intimidating. It is not. First of all special lighting equipment is used to allow you to see the marine life that comes to life, to swim and to feed, after night falls. Second, you are accompanied by a professional guide, who will look after your safety and bring you to the boat early if you start to feel uncomfortable. And, of course, you will not be in the water alone. Night snorkeling is done in large groups so there will always be others around you.

The number of people with you will not detract from the romance of the experience. The special lighting will act to make the manta rays and other creatures stand out in the dark water and look like they are performing a special ballet, choreographed only for you. Watching these strange graceful creatures glide in and out between the darkness and the light is an experience unlike any other. And since the night snorkels have been going on since the 1970’s the rays are used to human presence and are not disturbed by it. That means that the rays could swim and perform their acrobatic maneuvers just inches from you.

How It Works

The night snorkeling site is just 20 minutes from the harbor. After a quick boat ride you will be briefed  on the mantas and their behavior, so that you can better understand what you will be seeing. You then put on your gear and get in the water along with the swim guide. The lights are turned on to attract the plankton, on which the mantas feed. As the plankton start to collect, the rays emerge from the darkness to start feeding. The rest is magic. There is even an option of having a professional videographer record your manta experience for you.


Night snorkeling with mantas is completely safe. Unlike sting rays, they have no barbs and cannot hurt humans. In fact, it is the other way around. Humans must not touch the trusting rays that come close to them because the bacteria from humans could kill the mantas.

A night snorkel with manta rays is just one of the many incredible snorkeling experiences that await you in the waters off the Big Island of Hawaii. There are all kinds of options, at various times of the day, so fitting a snorkeling trip into your vacation plans is never difficult. Charter boats with expert crews will take you to the best snorkeling locations. If you don’t have your own gear, it will be provided to you. There are guides and experts who will guide and assist you so that you enjoy every moment of your experience. Since swimming does make you hungry, a boat and crew that provides you with great food, beverages and snacks, will complete your snorkeling experience. A perfect end to an enthralling experience.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Coral Reef Night Snorkeling Adventures - Part 1

Night Snorkeling Adventures
If you are an experienced snorkeler, you know the wonders that await you underwater. If you have never tried it, the images of the underwater world you have seen in movies and on TV will have given you an idea of what you can expect to find below the surface. Most, if not all, of what you have seen on TV and in the movies, will be of the underwater world during the day. Snorkeling at night is another experience altogether.

A Unique Adventure

Snorkeling at night may seem to be intimidating at first. However, you will find that in terms of safety and physical experience, it is the same during the night as in the day, once you have been in the water for a few minutes. At night you will see nocturnal sea creatures that never emerge during the daylight hours. This is especially true of around coral reefs which come to life with a huge variety of fauna after dark. This is when you will see lobsters and shrimps and the mysterious microscopic plankton which generate flashes of light when you pass near and disturb them. When you see a flash of this light, turn off any lights you are carrying with you and wave your hands around. You will be enchanted by the sight of what appear to be sparks lighting up the water around you. It is not just the marine life alone that is enchanting but the coral and the flora look completely different, in comparison to what they look like during the day. At night coral polyps open up and give the reefs a fuzzy and multi-hued appearance.

The aura of the night is compelling. You swim in the dark with only your lights providing a tunnel of vision. The feeling is as if you are not just in another world, but another dimension. After your first experience, you are going to want to keep trying it. If you have your regular snorkeling spots, exploring them at night will show you sights that you will not have seen during the day.

Special Equipment

There is nothing much in the way of special equipment required for night snorkeling. A flashlight is, of course, essential. Chemical lights are useful for illuminating a wider area than a flashlight beam. A dive suit and gloves may be required because the water and air could be colder than during the day. They also help to protect you from scratches and small bruises since there are more chances of you bumping against something in the dark. An audible alarm can be useful for communicating with your buddies underwater, since hand signals may not always be visible. That’s about it, unless you want to take pictures or videos in which case you will need special lighting equipment. Note that night time photography is not allowed in some places as it could disturb the marine life.

The best way to snorkel at night is to go out on a charter boat with an experienced crew that knows the best snorkeling spots and will be able to ensure your comfort and safety. Hawaii’s Big Island has a large number of these boats. Look for one that has a regular schedule of night time snorkeling trips and the experience to ensure that your adventure is one that you will never forget.

In the next blog we will look at the unique opportunity to experience manta rays at night.