Waikiki Underwater Adventure Sail
This tour has been discontinued as of January 1st 2018
Wanna know what it's really like to go on an Underwater Adventure Sail? Read on...
If I made a list of the things to include for a perfect day of snorkeling, it would look like this:
-a warm turquoise ocean
Well the great folks at Maitai Catamaran already came up with that list and included it in their tour called the Underwater Adventure Sail. In Tahitian, “maita’i” means “the best” and knowing firsthand the exceptional quality of their tours, this company was named appropriately.
Hence, I again find myself under the big red umbrella on the sand behind the Sheraton Waikiki swimming pool the check-in station for Maitai Catamaran tours. Mindy, the office manager and veteran of the company since 1992 (yep, she really knows her stuff) is there with two other office workers, Robin and Gina, to check guests in.
The Maitai conveniently pulls right up onto the beach making boarding quick and easy. From the sand we walk right up the swim steps onto the spacious front deck.
Captain David “Junior” Berting, an experienced Waikiki waterman, and his crew Dustin, Dayton, and Kelly are busy prepping the boat. Each smile warmly and greet us.
The Maitai is not one of those large impersonal tourist trap cattle boats you normally find in Waikiki. You won’t get the feeling you’re a sardine with a number. The Aloha spirit and friendly personality of the crew really shines through.
When everyone’s ready, Captain David reverses the Maitai off the sand and out through the gentle surf. In deeper water he formally welcomes everyone and talks with us about what were going to be up to on today’s snorkel and sail. Dustin takes the time to orient us on the boat and gives us a short safety briefing during the ride to our snorkel spot.
Our first destination is Turtle Canyons. An off shore snorkel site just out of reach of the beach crowds. The quick hop takes a few minutes on the Maitai but it’s much too far to swim to from the beach so we have a whole private snorkel area to ourselves.
We tie up to the mooring buoy and Captain David gives a short snorkeling 101 class for those without the experience. He goes over important basics like how to get the mask to seal properly to your face, how to keep your snorkel from inadvertently turning into a straw, and what to do if it does. Dustin hands out ‘water noodles’ for those that prefer a little help floating.
In a few minutes, the captain announces “The pools open!” signaling it’s time to hit the water. We file down the swim steps into the Waikiki blue. Kelly, who also works in the office, jumps in with us as our in-water snorkeling guide pointing out and bringing interesting fish and marine life to our attention.
The snorkeling area is sandy bottomed with vertical coral wall fingers. Black trigger fish with long undulating fins hover high above the reef unafraid. Tang and multiple species of butterfly fish glide in lazy circles in the coral valleys.
I dive down to get a better look at the reef and discover a cave hiding some of the largest big eye soldier fish I’ve ever seen. These red fish are called menpachi by locals and are highly prized on the dinner table.
Turtle Canyons lives up to its name. We spot several Hawaiian green sea turtles sleeping down in the sandy flats between the coral. Some surface around the boat and two even swim right up to us to say Hi while we’re snorkeling. Everyone’s excited and cameras click away.
To top it all off, a pod of Hawaiian spinner dolphins jump and play just off shore from us as we snorkel and swim.
The kids onboard use the bow of the boat as their own personal water park as they do flips and have a contest seeing who can make the biggest splash. These little guys are going to remember this trip for a long time.
Individual box lunches of turkey sandwiches, chips, cookies, juice and soda are waiting for us back on the boat. You can purchase beer, wine, and maitais for $2. If you don’t think this is a sweet deal, try finding a maitai anywhere else on Waikiki Beach for 2 bucks! And believe me; they won’t have this amazing view.
Let’s go sailing. We untie from our mooring, wave goodbye to the turtles, and head to sightsee around Diamond Head. Diamond Head is the Waikiki icon. Every famous picture of Waikiki Beach includes this famous mountain in the background.
We sail west and into deeper water sipping our drinks and enjoying the Hawaiian sun. Captain Dave plays local and reggae music over the speakers adding to the fun. Dustin, Kelly, and Dayton walk around the deck talking with us and making sure everyone is having a good time.
The dolphin pod we saw earlier at Turtle Canyons passes us on the port side. They look so carefree. Everyone points. Captain David smiles.
A few other private sail boats are headed in the same direction and we all wave to our passing seafarers. I couldn’t help but think that if they knew how inexpensive this trip was they’d be very jealous.
We’re approaching the Diamond Head lighthouse, one of the last working lighthouses in Hawaii. Surfers catch waves further inshore and the whole scene makes for a beautiful picture opportunity.
When we round the back of Diamond Head crater, I smile knowing this is a vantage point of Diamond Head few people get to see. It feels like I’m in a postcard.
We feel the wind pick up as we sail out of the protective wind shadow of the mountain. This is the perfect time to turn around since the wind will now be strong at our back. Captain Dave does his sailor thing, pulling this rope, turning that crank, spinning the wheel, and the Maitai slices around 180 degrees.
The sail back to Waikiki Beach is perfect. The Sun is higher in the sky now highlighting the white sand and turning the water a more vivid turquoise. Our catamaran glides over the blue waves effortlessly. I watch the people far away on the sand and think how lucky I am to be out here away from the crowds.
The salt breeze blows over the deck, the sun warms my back, and the sail rustles overhead. What a terrific way to spend a day!
The great people at Maitai Catamaran have put together a fun and exciting excursion that’s a fantastic value for your dollar.
Enjoy the best Waikiki snorkeling without the crowds by booking your Underwater Adventure Sail at the top of this page now!
This tour has been discontinued as of January 1st 2018
Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 10:30AM - 12:30PM; 2 hours total
Boat: Maitai, 44 ft sailing catamaran
Departs: Waikiki Beach (map & directions)
Check in: On Waikiki Beach behind the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel at least 15 minutes prior to departure time. (map & directions)
Details: Includes box lunch (sandwiches, chips, cookies), juices, water, and soft drinks. MaiTais, beer, and wine available for purchase for $2 to $3 after snorkeling. Mask and snorkel provided.
Special online discount rate: Adult: $51.00: Child (4-12yrs): $32.00; Infant (3yrs and under): Free
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