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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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! 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.
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?
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!