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Hawaii Ocean Project Blog

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Join Us For a Whale Tales Benefit Maui Whale Watch Tour

Climb aboard for a whale watch tour that will fund marine science research!
February 17, 2017

Join Us For a Whale Tales Benefit Maui Whale Watch Tour

If you love marine mammals and you're on vacation to Maui, why not join in on Whale Tales, an annual marine science and education event? Specifically, you may wish to jump on one of the event's benefit Maui whale watch tours. All the proceeds support marine science research, and you get to have a blast watching the whales during their most active month here on Maui.

Did we mention that we're one of the sponsors? That's right! On February 20th, we'll be taking a delightful group of fellow whale enthusiasts out aboard our Maui Princess, the largest and the most stable yacht on Maui. Again, all the proceeds go to the Whale Tales beneficiaries, which are marine researchers who work hard to reveal new and useful data to help conserve and restore the health of our oceans for future generations.

If you can't make it on our cruise on February 20th, there are a number of other outings to choose from, all the way until Monday, February 27th, 2017. That's one of the nice things about the benefit excursions. If you need to plan around your busy Maui vacation schedule, you can still choose from a number of these activities.

Most of the tickets cost between $60 and $75, but a couple of the outings cost as much as $250. Our cruise, however, is the only one offering tickets for just $30 per adult at this point in time. Remember, these spaces book up fast, so contact Whale Trust as soon as possible to reserve your space! You can peruse the list of excursions at whaletrust.org/benefit-whale-watch-tickets.

Not going to be on the island for the event? No worries! You can always join us aboard another Maui Whale Watch Tour from December to May. This celebrated activity is popular for a reason. Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of all the baleen whales, and among the largest whales in the world. This makes them a whole lot of fun to watch!

If you'd like to learn more about our own charitable efforts, you can always take a loot at the list of Hawaii marine scientists who we support through the sale of our retail products. If you need our assistance or you have any questions for us, you'll find our contact information at the top of the page. If you want to join one of the benefit tours for Whale Tales, you can call (808) 572-5700 or click the first link in this blog. Mahalo!

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo

Save money on your Maui vacation by booking a fun combo deal!
February 10, 2017

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo

Looking for good deals on combo activities? It's a great trick for saving money on your vacation! We have a new package that might interest you. It includes a Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo. These are two of the island's most celebrated activities, so we have combined them so that you can save on both of these fun outings.

First, you can dine and dance the night away aboard our luxury 120-foot-yacht, the Maui Princess. On this scenic journey, you will dine on the upper deck, which provides unobstructed views of the vibrant sunset over the ocean and the surrounding islands, including Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Your fine dining experience will include linen tablecloths, full table-side service by wait staff in tuxedos, and four entrees to choose from. The menu currently includes the following choices: Prime rib (carved on board), Roasted chicken, Macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi fillet with buerre blanc sauce, or Vegetarian patty with marinara sauce. Included with your entree, we have the Vegetable du Jour, Garden salad with croutons, New potatoes, Dinner rolls, and Cheesecake with seasonal fruit glaze.

Beverages include unlimited soda and juices. We also provide a full bar onboard, and three alcoholic beverages are included with your meal. If you'd like to order more drinks, they will be available for just $4 to $6 each. Don't forget your photo ID if you plan to order alcoholic beverages.

After you've enjoyed your indulgent evening onboard with us, you will be scheduled for a beautiful game of golf, including 18 holes at the Country Club in Pukalani, which means "Entrance to Heaven" in Hawaiian. When you arrive and take in the splendid bi-coastal views, you will understand why this part of the island has earned its title. The Pukalani Country Club features 160 acres of lush greenery. The course plays to a par 72, featuring 19 greens throughout its 18 holes. Tee time is from 11am-1pm, every seven minutes. Your combo package also includes the green fee and shared cart fee.

We have combined these two activities for a total of $161.83 per adult when ordering your Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise
& Golf Combo online
. After you order this activity package, you will simply need to call (808) 572-1314 to schedule your golfing session. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us! Mahalo!

Marine Life Sightings While Traveling to Lanai Snorkel Spots

When it comes to our Lanai Snorkel Tour, the destination is breathtaking, and so is the journey.
February 03, 2017

Marine Life Sightings While Traveling to Lanai Snorkel Spots

Lanai is one of the best places for snorkeling in Maui County. The nicest spots are much less crowded than those surrounding Maui, and the coral reefs are full of delightful marine life, such as native fish, crabs, urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers, and much more. You may have heard this before, but what many adventurers forget to mention is that there are often some exciting marine life sightings on the journey to Lanai and back, from Lahaina Harbor, where we operate our Maui ocean tours.

If you're visiting Maui now, in February, you can experience the delights of peak whale season. There are often so many of these gentle giants in our waters this time of year, they can be hard not to spot, especially on the trip to Lanai. Luckily for us, humpbacks are the most acrobatic of the baleen whales. They routinely perform all kinds of maneuvers above the surface of the ocean. The best way to track them is by watching for spouts, which looks like a misty spray of water that rises straight up as they exhale and take a new breath. Keep an eye on those, and you're much more likely to see an exciting behavior, like a breach, which is quite a thing to see, considering humpbacks reach up to 45 feet in length.

One of the most common sightings on the Lanai trip is the spinner dolphin pods that prefer to roam those waters. The nice thing about these charismatic little mammals is that, unlike the humpbacks, they stick around throughout the year. This particular species of dolphin isn't very big, reaching a maximum of 5-6 feet, depending on the individual. What they lack in size, they often make up for in number. Pods range from as few as 15 to as many as 300 individuals. The playful spinners also tend to be very aerial, which is how they earned their name. Their signature move is leaping from the water in a corkscrew spin. In fact, they have been observed spinning up to seven times in a single jump.

Last but not least is the most diminutive of the creatures that you may spot along the journey to Lanai. That is the Hawaiian green sea turtle. It may be smaller than the other members on this list, but this marine reptile is one of Hawaii's most celebrated animals. You'll need to keep your eyes peeled for this sighting, as they will often just pop their heads up for a breath before descending back into the water. You may see a flipper, a bit of iconic shell, a pair of big eyes, and then just a ripple in its quiet wake. The nice thing about the sea turtles is that although they can be challenging to spot during the trip, you may get to watch them when you arrive at our chosen snorkeling site. They feed off the algae and other greens that grow on and around the reefs, so they are regularly spotted on snorkeling trips all over Hawaii, including Lanai. 

When it comes to wildlife, you never really know who is going to show up, or for how long, but that's half the fun of the journey. If you're very lucky, maybe you'll spot all three of the animals on our list: humpbacks, spinner dolphins and Hawaiian green sea turtles. If you want to snap some pictures, have your camera at the ready, just don't drop it overboard! We hope to see you aboard our Lanai Snorkel Tour soon. As a reminder, you will save 10% on your trip if you book online! Mahalo!

Maui Snorkeling Sightings Hawaiian Octopus

Join us on a Molokini Snorkeling Tour or Lanai Snorkeling Tour and you may spot this elusive predator.
January 27, 2017

Maui Snorkeling Sightings - Hawaiian Octopus

The octopus has recently become quite popular in the online world, but for some of us, it has always been a favorite. This notoriously clever cephalopod mollusk is one of the more uncommon sightings on Maui snorkeling tours, but if you're lucky, you just might spot one. In fact, they've even been seen right here in the Lahaina Harbor, the departure point for our Maui ocean charters. The octopus is nothing if not surprising, and this is likely one of the reasons why it has become so popular.

The type of octopus that you're most likely to see here is the Hawaiian day octopus, known as he'e in the Hawaiian language. He'e tends to be small, and generally a combination of brown and tan mottled hues. It typically lives anywhere from the shallow reef flats to the deep reef slopes as deep as 150 ft (45 m). As its name implies, this species is most active during the day, and will hide in its den where it can sleep at night. You're much less likely to spot the night octopus, which is just as common, but nocturnal. Known as he‘e-makoko in Hawaiian, this species sports a rusty red hue, with spots of white. Unlike its diurnal cousin, the night octopus hunts at night and sleeps in its den throughout the day. Both species are small as octopus go, tending to grow to a maximum of 10 lbs (45 kg), and a span of two to three feet (0.9 m).

Both kinds of Hawaiian octopus can often be tracked back to their den by looking for a pile of broken crab and snail shells, which are remnants of their past meals usually found just outside their doorsteps, so to speak. These clever hunters will come up with all kinds of strategies for reaching their prey, and are widely considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates. In fact, scientists have documented many situations where an octopus learns from its experiences. Everyone knows its arms are nimble and capable, but fewer people know that its eyesight is particularly keen as well. It can easily detect changes in color and movement, which helps it locate both predator and prey.

One of the more popular adaptations of the octopus is the ability to change its skin color and even texture to blend in with its surroundings. This has been an invaluable ability, made possible by millions of pigment cells known as chromatophores, which expand or shrink to create color patterns. This ability helps it communicate with other octopuses, hide from predators or wait in ambush for unsuspecting prey that may wander nearby. When necessary, the octopus can spring into action, darting through the water to get to safety, or to grab that tasty crab that's trying to escape. Their flexible bodies also allow them to squeeze into small spaces for the same purposes.

We hope that you'll join us aboard our Molokini or Lanai snorkeling tour. If you're lucky, patient, and have keen eyes, you may just spot one of these dynamic and elusive coral reef residents. If you need any assistance booking your trip, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Just remember, if you book online, you will save 10% on all our activities.

The Scenic Lahaina Harbor and Historic Pioneer Inn

Historic accommodations just steps away from all our ocean activities at Lahaina Harbor.
January 20, 2017

The Scenic Lahaina Harbor and Historic Pioneer Inn

If you're crazy about Maui ocean tours and you're looking for conveniently located and affordable accommodations, you may want to try the Pioneer Inn. This remarkable establishment is no less than 115 years old, and as such, has recently been added to the list of just 37 hotels in the Historic Hotels of America program, within the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Not only is the Inn a fascinating place to stay if you enjoy historic locations, but it's also on the block adjacent to Lahaina Harbor. That's where we operate our Maui Whale Watch Tours, along with snorkeling tours and sunset dinner cruises. The inn is just a minute or two away on foot. The Banyan Tree is across the street, and it's a great spot for getting some shade, browsing arts and crafts booths, and listening to flocks of mynah birds kick up a raucous around sunset.

The Pioneer Inn is among just five other Hawaii hotel icons that are part of the same historic program, one of which was the 52-year-old Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island that was added to the list at the same time. The Best Western-branded Pioneer Inn has a fascinating history of being featured in various films and television shows. Back in 1961, it appeared in “The Devil at 4 O’Clock,” a movie starring early film greats Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra. It has also appeared in “Baywatch,” "Hawaii Five-0," Hawaiian Eye," and "Adventures in Paradise."

The hotels in the Historic Hotels of America program are located in just 18 states and range between 51 years of age to 227 years of age. Considering how young Hawaii is, as a state, it's impressive that Maui has an operating 115-year-old hotel. If you want to take a peek, you can find the full list of historic hotels in the program at www.businesswire.com.

If you want to learn more about our Maui ocean tours, you'll find our contact information at the top of the page. We also offer private Maui boat tours, if that's something that you're interested in. Remember that you can save 10% on all our activities if you book online. Mahalo!

Blogs for February 2017

Join Us For a Whale Tales Benefit Maui Whale Watch Tour

Posted on February 17, 2017
Join Us For a Whale Tales Benefit Maui Whale Watch Tour

If you love marine mammals and you're on vacation to Maui, why not join in on Whale Tales, an annual marine science and education event? Specifically, you may wish to jump on one of the event's benefit Maui… Continue Reading

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo

Posted on February 10, 2017
Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo

Looking for good deals on combo activities? It's a great trick for saving money on your vacation! We have a new package that might interest you. It includes a Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo. These are two of the island's… Continue Reading

Marine Life Sightings While Traveling to Lanai Snorkel Spots

Posted on February 03, 2017
Marine Life Sightings While Traveling to Lanai Snorkel Spots

Lanai is one of the best places for snorkeling in Maui County. The nicest spots are much less crowded than those surrounding Maui, and the coral reefs are full of delightful marine life, such as native fish, crabs, urchins, sea… Continue Reading

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Our Latest Blogs

Join Us For a Whale Tales Benefit Maui Whale Watch Tour
  (Posted: February 17, 2017)

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise and Golf Combo
  (Posted: February 10, 2017)

Marine Life Sightings While Traveling to Lanai Snorkel Spots
  (Posted: February 03, 2017)

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