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Whales, Dolphins and Sailing The Napali Coast On Kauai

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Sea spray in my face I’m king of the world.

It’s my first full day on Kauai and I’m ready to jump into vacation mode with both feet. There is no better way to start off a visit to Kauai for 30 Days In Hawaii than to take to the ocean for a snorkel and sailing adventure to see the famed 3000 feet cliffs of the Napali Coast. My bathing suit is on, sunscreen is packed and my camera is fully charged, it’s time to sail with Blue Dolphin Charters and Captain James. Not Captain James Cook by the way, he died a few hundred years ago but another Captain James who hopefully will guide us to an amazing day.

Blue Dolphin Charters

Town Hall Team

Blue Dolphin Charters is located about a 20 minute drive from Whaler’s Cove in Port Allen. A gorgeous drive filled with lush tropical trees and even the occasional rooster crossing the road. Our tour leaves right at 8:30 so I arrived with plenty of time to spare at 7:45. The last thing I needed to do was get lost and miss the boat. As it turned out I used the extra couple of minutes to stock up on sunscreen at the neighbouring store. Check in is quick and easy with the obligatory signing of the injury waiver and then we are off to the Catamaran. There are about 30 of us on this cruise and before we even leave we are given the safety talk and a brief run down of what we can expect from the day. I’m getting excited.

Check in at Blue Dolphin Charters

Briefing on the boat with Captain James and Johnny

With everyone and everything secure we are off. Our first point of stop is a small reef about 20 minutes from the Port. Here we anchor and get started on the adventure. First up is some snorkelling. Believe it or not this is my first time snorkelling. We gear up and head right into the water. It’s amazing, a bit chilly at first but after 5 seconds it feels just right. It takes me a few minutes to get used to breathing properly but once I’ve got it I start to relax and take in my surroundings. It’s so peaceful under water and fish are swimming everywhere, they don’t even acknowledge we are there.

Marc ready to sail

Marc is ready to Snorkel

We spent about 20 minutes exploring the reef and experiencing the ocean life below us. Always safe and under the watchful eye of a member of the crew. At one point a massive Sea Turtle came to say hi to us. Of course my camera was too far away and I was dripping wet so I couldn’t get a picture in time but it was magnificent! Not a worry in the world about us. Just a heads up that Turtles are protected in Hawaii so we had been advised not to touch or get too close which was good to know in advance because I think the natural urge would have been to reach out and say hello.

some of us snorkelling

Crew of Ble Dolphin Charters keeping us safe while we snorkel

Snorkelling checked off our list it’s time to head up the coast. Captain James hits the engines and away we go. The crew prepares a light continental breakfast for us and we settle in to cruise. As the only single person on this boat I decide it’s time to put my friendly face on and meet some of my fellow adventurers. There are folks from Vancouver, Toronto, Fargo, Nebraska and LA just to name a few places. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. My favourite couple though has to be Salud and Tom from LA. Childhood sweet hearts in Grade 7 they lost touch and only recently reconnected and guess what? They are getting married this August in LA and even invited me to the wedding, I may just go. I also met this older gentleman who I asked to take a picture of me at the front of he boat. It was his first time using an IPhone and he took over 35 pics including his first ever selfie (by accident) before he got the photo I wanted. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Breakfast on the ocean courtesy fo Blue Dolphin Charters

Marc with Salud and Tom from LA

A fellow adveturer akes his fist selfie

I'm king of the world

Along our cruise we stopped at least 10 times for watch for Whales and Dolphins. This time of year is perfect for Whale watching as they are here to give birth and raise their young. Even the Whales like to winter in Hawaii Smile To describe the awe and majesty of these animals is a skill I don’t possess. Even the crew all stop what they are doing to watch them breach the surface. Amazingly we even saw 1 Whale raise completely out the water and come crashing back down, It was a National Geographic moment. None of us expected that and I don’t think a single one of us had our camera ready for it. IT WAS AWESOME. Another missed photography moment was when we actually saw a whale behind the boat raise her tail completely out of the water. They move so fast you have to be looking in 100 directions all at once. None of us got that photo either. But don’t worry I did get some including this video clip that Salud captured for me when I snapped away. The last pic before the video is actually the whale crashing back into the ocean after breaching the surface.

Whale sightings

Whale Tail

Whale breaching the ocean

Easy to capture than the Whales are the Dolphins because they swim right up next to us. These creatures are just amazing to watch. You can’t help but ascribe the human emotion of happiness when you see them playing in the ocean.

Snapping pics of Dolphns from the bow

Dolphins swimming next to our boat

This is how close the Dolphins came up to us

Other than below the water the other star of our day was Kauai itself and the majesty of the cliffs of the Napali Coast. Rising out of the ocean steep and black but with green verdant life growing all over it, the cliffs are breath taking. Before the white man colonized Hawaii these Cliffs and Valleys were called home to many thousands of Hawaiians. Now they are only accessible to viewing by water and by helicopter.

Cliffs of the Napali Coast

Waterfall cascades from teh cliffs to the ocean

the sea erodes the lava rock forming tunnels

a hidden beach paradise among the cliffs

And with that we return back to Port Allen. More Whales and Dolphins along the way along with lunch and a few Mai Tai’s. Does live get any better than this? I don’t think so. What a magical way to start my adventures in Kauai. You MUST go sailing if you visit Kauai and I can’t say enough how great Captain James and the crew was. They served us drinks when we were being tossed in the waves, now that takes talent.

What’s next in my adventures? I don’t know I think I’ll take a day and just explore!

Than you to my friends at the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau for helping make this adventure possible. If you want to have your own Hawaiian adventure there is no better place to start than Go Hawaii, after you read this blog series though first Smile


Under The Covers by Dawn Chubai

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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