Kayaking in Maui
Adventure Sports, Hawaii

Kayaking in Maui: An Ocean Excursion to Remember

No trip to Maui would be complete without an adventurous outing on the ocean, enjoying the sunshine and experiencing the marine life in its own habitat, up-close and personal.  Kayaking in Maui was something my mom had always wanted to do, so we set out to make it happen.

We got in touch with Maui Kayak Adventures, a responsible company whose motto is “Explore, connect, respect.”  We’d be experiencing their South Maui Kayaking Adventure, also known as Makena Turtle Town.  This tour departs from Makena Landing which was a quick 5-minute drive from where we were staying in Wailea.Kayaking in Maui with Maui Kayak Adventures

With a 7 am departure time, we woke up bright and early, downed our coffee and a quick breakfast, slathered on plenty of sunscreen (the reef-safe biodegradable variety, of course) and took off for our excursion.

The fam was down to just four by this point, as my oldest brother had already gone back to Washington, but we were joined on our small group tour by a nice couple from Colorado.  Private tours are also available for a higher price, but we didn’t mind the extra company.Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town

We were greeted at our launch point by our guide, J’sun (like Jason), and briefed on what to expect on the tour.  We instantly fell in love with this gregarious gent, whose knowledge of and passion for marine conservation were immediately evident.  His big smile and ebullient personality put us in a relaxed mood and got us pumped up for the excursion ahead.

The tour would last three hours; we would paddle up the coast, taking in the view of Haleakala Crater to our right and stopping along the way at various snorkel spots in search of cool creatures like Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (also known as the reef triggerfish) as well as happy little sea turtles.

Before we set off, though, J’sun took a few minutes to elaborate on the company motto.  The mission of Maui Kayak Adventures, he explained, is three-fold; they want guests to explore the beauty that Maui has to offer, connect with a spirit of adventure and the spirit of the island, and develop a lasting respect for the ocean environment and all of its inhabitants.  I can dig it. Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town

After a successful, capsize-free launch, J’sun continued to impress with his knowledge of Hawaii’s cultural history, which is what really captivated my mom.  I enjoyed learning little facts and tidbits about the health of Maui’s reefs and the research and conservation efforts behind them; not all the news was good news, but it’s comforting knowing there are passionate people like J’sun working so diligently to educate and protect what is left.

Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town

And the sea turtle facts!  DID YOU KNOW that a sea turtle is still considered YOUNG at 20 years old?  They often don’t even reach sexual maturity until that point (or later!) and can live well past the age of 50.  So the smaller turtles we saw that day, the “young” ones, were around 20, J’sun estimated.Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town

One really cool feature of this particular tour was that our guide arrived equipped with his own GoPro and would be taking photos for us throughout the day!  The best ones would be available for us to download after the tour.  In fact, all of the photos featured in this blog post were kindly provided by Maui Kayak Adventures (minus the lovely group selfie above). Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town

This was fantastic for me; I planned to take some of my own photos anyway, but J’sun having a camera as well freed me up to focus on shooting video instead.  I had with me that day my new GoPro Hero4 Session which I had yet to test out underwater.  I’d also just purchased a handy grip (no pun intended) that doubles as a tripod; I wasn’t concerned with dropping the camera in these shallow waters, but it did make holding the camera steady much easier (although I’ll let you be the judge of that when you see the video).  Here I am in action!Kayaking in Maui Makena Turtle Town  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any videos around here so I’m excited to share this one with you–it might just be my best one yet!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Music: Sweet Ukulele by ChatBlanc

We couldn’t have asked for a better day on the water with Maui Kayak Adventures.  We had so much fun and they treated us so well; or as they say in Hawaii, they showed us plenty of aloha.Maui Kayak Adventures Makena Turtle Town

If you find yourself on this little island someday and looking for an adventurous way to spend the day, give these guys a shout.  And don’t worry if you aren’t staying in South Maui, you can still find a kayaking excursion near you; they offer tours starting from several other locations around the island.

Kayaking in Maui with sea turtles was so amazing!  What’s been your coolest wildlife experience?

Read more Hawaii posts: The Perfect Day in Lahaina or Summiting Haleakala Crater for Sunrise


Maui Kayak Adventures invited me to experience this tour as their guest and offered my group a discount to enjoy it with me.  We can’t thank them enough for the generous aloha…we’ll be back!

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10 Comments

  • Reply Lauren Lalicon February 11, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I’ve been kayaking before but not in water that open or that deep! Seems intimidating, but J’sun seems like a guide that I could get behind. Plus, these photos are great!
    Lauren Lalicon recently posted…Weekly Update #7My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis February 12, 2016 at 2:10 am

      I know, he did a great job with the photos! I actually tend to find snorkeling in shallow water more difficult, I’m always afraid of cutting myself on the reef or getting too close to the critters. Maybe I’m just claustrophobic!
      Leah Davis recently posted…Family Matters in MauiMy Profile

  • Reply Michelle @ Mishfish13 February 11, 2016 at 9:56 am

    This looks amazing, Leah! That water is just so blue and so clear 🙂 It’s awesome that the guide was prepared with a GoPro and took photos of you guys. They did that for us in Puerto Vallarta, but it wasn’t included in the excursion haha.

  • Reply Dan Hagen February 11, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Good writeup, Leah. I snorkeled Turtle Town and Molokini a few years ago. We saw all but two turtles – one that rested on the seabed apparently for hours, and another that took off right in front of us out of nowhere. I wondered what kind of wisdom there is in the mind of an ocean turtle of 70 years. But yeah, Maui is loaded with things to do. Something to climb on or look at every few miles.

    • Reply Leah Davis February 12, 2016 at 2:13 am

      Absolutely, so much to do on this island! I haven’t been to Molokini in ages, would really like to return someday.

  • Reply Jim March 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Great article and photos! Having been in Maui several times I agree with how much fun that whole area is. Now I’ve got to get back there and do some kayaking!

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Jim recently posted…Best Kayak for BeginnersMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis March 3, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Jim! Just wish we could have gone kayaking during whale season! 🙂

  • Reply Sherry September 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Leah, I enjoyed the article. I especially loved the pix of the sea turtle. So big, yet so graceful in the water. They are always my favorite when scuba diving. My other passion is kayaking, so looks like a great combo of my two favorites. Kayaking in Maui is something I need to add to my bucket list. Thanks for the write-up!
    Sherry recently posted…Choosing The Right KayakMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis September 5, 2016 at 12:06 am

      It really was an amazing experience, Sherry! I’d love to go back and do the same but watching humpback whales instead of turtles! THAT would be incredible!

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