Week of January 1-8, 1996
Sea kayaking tours in Hawaii
Q: Can you recommend any kayak tour operators in Hawaii? Whale or dolphin watching would be a big plus, as would sights and nature.
New York City
A: There are plenty of Hawaii-based kayaking outfitters to choose from--all you need to do is decide how much paddling you want to do and where. If you've only got an afternoon to spare before catching your flight home, try heading north from Waikiki on Route 72 along Oahu's Windward Coast to Kailua. Two-Good Kayaks Hawaii offers one-hour kayaking lessons in Kailua's protected bay for $55 per person. Or forego the guide for a solo paddle out to the uninhabited Mokolua Islands, about two miles across the bay (rentals, $25-$39 per day; 808-262-5656). If low-key Molokai is your destination, try Fun Hogs at Kaluakoi Resort for a half-day guided kayaking trip along the south coast or west end ($40 per person; 808-552-2555, ext. 7570).
On Maui, talk to the folks at South Pacific Kayaks & Outfitters in the south coast town of Kihei. They run a full-service kayak shop and offer guided several tours--their specialty is a one-way trip along the coast from Ahihi-Kinau to La Perouse, which on calm days can extends further into a hidden Hawaiian village. Trip highlights include breaching humpback whales, and bottle-nose dolphins swimming with the kayaks. You can also rent a kayak and do your own whale watching ($20-$45 per day, including car rack, paddles, and life vests; 800-776-2326). Another alternative is to sign on with kayaker Ron Bass for a guided half-day trip from Maui's Makena Landing to a sandy snorkeling cove or across the bay to the protected caves of Puu Olai, where you'll find sea turtles, dolphins, and the occasional monk seal (Maui Sea Kayaking, $65 per person; 800-529-2510).
If you've got more time on your hands, opt for a multiday paddling trip past the deeply eroded 1,000-foot cliffs on Kauai's Na Pali coast. On Remarkable Journeys' nine-day trek, you'll spend three days kayaking east to west along the north shore of Kauai, camping or staying in cabins each night, and the remaining days hiking in the Kalalau Valley. Expect to pay about $1,085 per person, including food, accommodations, and airfare from Honolulu (800-856-1993). Kayak Kauai runs a similar six-day trip through the Kalalau Valley and along the Na Pali Coast for about $1,050 per person, as well as a variety of full- and half-day kayaking trips; call 800-437-3507 for information and reservations.