Hawaii Ocean Project Logo Header Banner

RESERVATIONS - (808) 667-6165

Hawaii Ocean Project Blog

Subscribe to our weekly blog that covers topics including ocean research, fun marine life facts, island events, special boating excursions, Eco-friendly tips, environmental concerns and more!

Our 4th of July Maui Fireworks Cruises

Get out of the crowds and out on the ocean for your 4th of July Lahaina celebration.
June 23, 2017


Our 4th of July Maui Fireworks Cruises

Making plans for your 4th of July weekend on Maui? Lahaina Town will have the only aerial fireworks show on the island, and considering how popular this celebration has been in previous years, we don't expect this one to be any different. That is, aside from being bigger. The organizers at the Lahaina Town Action Committee are planning to extend this year's show to fifteen minutes, and they've even created an app that will play music to accompany the fireworks from start to finish.

Last year, about 20,000 people showed up in Lahaina to celebrate. It was exciting, it was lively, it was... crowded. Some folks enjoy being in the middle of all the activity on Front Street, but not everyone is a fan of the crowds, even if they love a good fireworks show. If you're one of these people and you need a bit more space to breathe, you may want to consider hopping aboard one of our 4th of July Lahaina ocean cruises. Here are the remaining options that haven't sold out.


Cruise On the Kaulana
Check in: 6:15PM at Lahaina Harbor, Main Loading Dock
Cruise: 6:45PM - 9:00PM
Cost: $101.68 Adults ($85.55 +taxes, fees & FS), $78.74 Children 6-12 ($64.15 + taxes, fees & FS)

Appetizers: Teriyaki Chicken over rice, Barbeque Meatballs, Shrimp Cocktail & Sauce, Vegetable Crudites, Tropical Fruit Platter, Cookie & Brownie.

Purchase Bar: After you enjoy 2 complimentary alcoholic beverages: Beer and Wine is sold at $5.00 and mixed drinks at $6.00. Must be 21 years of age or older to drink alcoholic beverages. Soda and juice included.


Cruise On the Lahaina Princess - BYOB
Check in: 6:30PM at Lahaina Harbor, Main Loading Dock
Cruise: 7:00PM - 9:30PM
Cost: $82.39 Adults ($67.55 + taxes, fees & FS), $58.81 Children 6-12 ($45.55 + taxes, fees & FS)

Appetizers: Teriyaki Chicken over rice, Barbeque Meatballs, Shrimp Cocktail & Sauce, Vegetable Crudites, Tropical Fruit Platter, Cookie and Brownie.


Cruise On the Molokai Princess - BYOB
Check in: 6:30PM at Lahaina Harbor, Main Loading Dock
Cruise: 7:00PM - 9:30PM
Cost: $82.39 Adults ($67.55 + taxes, fees & FS), $58.81 Children 6-12 ($45.55 + taxes, fees & FS)

Appetizers: Teriyaki Chicken over rice, Barbeque Meatballs, Shrimp Cocktail & Sauce, Vegetable Crudites, Tropical Fruit Platter, Cookie and Brownie.


All of these cruises will bring you out to one of the coveted spots off Lahaina's calm shoreline where you can enjoy totally unobstructed views, and you won't have to wrestle with a crowd to find a good vantage point. You'll be closer to the fireworks, but still at a safe distance. If you're interested in any of these options and you want to make reservations, you can reach us at 808-667-6165. Just keep in mind that ID is required.

If you won't be around for the 4th, keep in mind that we have plenty of charters that you can enjoy throughout the year, like our Molokini Snorkeling Tour or our Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise. Whether we see you sooner or later, we look forward to having you onboard with us so we can show you the beautiful charms of Maui and its surrounding waters! Mahalo!

New Sunset Dinner Cruise and Maui Theater Combination

Save money and have a great time with a Maui sunset dinner cruise and theater performance combo.
June 16, 2017


New Sunset Dinner Cruise & Maui Theater Combination

Interested in finding great Maui package activity deals? As you may already know, we offer deals that combine our Maui sunset dinner cruise with golf, or with a luau, and we're introducing a brand new combo. Now, we officially offer our sunset dinner cruise with an exciting Maui theater show. It's all part of our effort to accommodate our guests with plenty of choices for various kinds of interests.

This particular combo is exciting because it includes two of the most celebrated activities on the island. Our Maui sunset dinner cruise whisks you off on the calm waters along the gorgeous Lahaina coast line. West Maui sunsets are famous for their vibrant colors, and the striking scenery of the islands rearing up from the ocean in the distance. As the colors fill the sky, you can enjoy your lovely meal.

We currently have four main entrees to choose from, including prime rib that we carve on board, roasted chicken, vegetarian patty with marinara sauce, and macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi filet with buerre blanc sauce. Along with your entree, you'll get our vegetable du jour, a garden salad with croutons, new potatoes and dinner rolls. For dessert, we provide cheesecake with a festive seasonal fruit glaze. As for your beverages, you'll get unlimited soda and juices, along with three alcoholic beverages. You can purchase additional alcoholic beverages for just $4-6 each. Of course you'll need a valid picture ID to partake. After dinner, you can dance the night away or stargaze right from your table.

As for the Maui Theater show that comes with the combo package, you get to choose between two lively performances. For those of you looking for an infusion of Hawaiian cultural experience, you won't want to miss 'Ulalena. This performance delves into Hawaii's rich history, combining authentic Hawaiian music, dance and over one hundred instruments played live as they tell you the story. If you can't resist the light-hearted theme of Elvis in Hawaii, you'll have a lot of fun with Burn'n Love as it rekindles a historical era of music that stole many hearts around the world.

For more details on each of these Maui activities, see our Sunset Dinner Cruise & Maui Theater Combination. You can find out about pricing along with the days of the week and the times of both the cruises and the theater shows. If you have any more questions that we haven't answered, feel free to give us a call at (808) 667-6165. Mahalo!

Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name

The Hawai'i Creeper (Loxops mana) had lost its name for a century, until one researcher found it again.
June 09, 2017


Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name

As a Maui ocean tour company, it's not every day that we blog about an animal that's not aquatic. Then again, it's not every day that an animal's lost Hawaiian name is found, but that's exactly what happened to the Hawai'i Creeper (Loxops mana). This rare forest bird that lives in the koa forest of the Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve had no known Hawaiian name for about a century, until a tenacious researcher rediscovered it.

The name the researcher found was ʻAlawī. The researcher, was Noah Gomes, a Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park cultural practitioner and recent graduate of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Having earned a masters degree in Hawaiian language and literature, Gomes was armed with the foundation he needed to explore some of the earliest documented Hawaiian literature to find reference to this beautiful and rare forest bird.

Determined to find an answer, Gomes spent his time sifting through various historical documents, including old Hawaiian newspaper articles. When he had gathered enough clues pointing to the name ʻAlawī, he published a thesis on it, and the name was approved by the Hawaiian Lexicon Committee on February 25, 2017. Following that, a story of his research appeared in the Elepaio journal in the May-June 2017 issue.

To celebrate and spread awareness about the discovery in true Hawaiian fashion, a naming ceremony was recently held by Gomes and two of his associates. In response to the discovery, the following is a quote from Emma Yuen, the Native Ecosystems Program Manager with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

“Rediscovering the traditional name of the ‘Alawī strengthens the close relationship of Hawaiian culture with our native plants and animals. This celebration fills us with pride and a sense of kuleana to protect native forests – the home of these unique creatures, and the source of inspiration, beauty, and cultural identity.”

So, what stands out about this diminutive little forest bird? Being similar in appearance to the Amakihi, the small yellow and green ‘Alawī had often been confused with its relative. What set it apart enough to make it recognizable as a different species was its behavior, which included a preference for preying on insects in koa forests. But what's especially charming about the ‘Alawī is the fact that it's so curious, it often approaches humans in the forest. Bird watchers and ‘Alawī seem to find each other equally interesting, although the duration of that interest is generally shorter for the bird. After all, survival puts pressure on a bird's schedule.

‘Alawī is one of the four endangered forest birds found exclusively on the Big Island of Hawaii. Like many other native Hawaiian birds, its once broad territory is now restricted to higher elevation rainforests that are too cold for mosquitos, which carry avian malaria. The ‘Alawī can be found in the 18,730-acre Pu‘u Maka‘ala NAR.

While no one can say with absolute certainty that ʻAlawī is Loxops mana, the supporting evidence is unusually substantial. There are very few other birds that match the same description of ʻAlawī. In any case, both scientists and Hawaiian cultural practitioners have embraced Gomes' compelling research and the name ʻAlawī for Loxops mana.

Seeing as we specialize in Maui ocean tours and know that there are some native Hawaiian aquatic species with unknown Hawaiian names, it's easy to wonder if Gomes will turn his gaze on the ocean and make some more discoveries. More than one success of this magnitude is a lot to ask for, but we can always hope! Mahalo!

History of Molokini Island

There's more to that tiny crescent isle than meets the eye.
June 02, 2017


History of Molokini Island

One of the most unique geographic features in Maui County is Molokini, the tiny crescent island just fifteen miles off the coast of South Maui. This picturesque little islet has graced many a stunning ocean sunset photo, its diminutive size in stark contrast to the much larger island of Kaho'olawe beyond. Today, it's the popular destination of many a snorkeling tour, with its delightful array of marine life, but its history is just as rich as its biodiversity.

Scientists estimate that Molokini was formed via an eruption that occurred about 230,000 years ago, based on a potassium-argon dating technique used by Kyoto University graduate student Yoshitomo Nishimitsu of Japan, along with other scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Evidently, there were many such eruptions around the southwest side of Maui in the past. Molokini was one of the results of such activity.

In Hawaiian lore, however, the story of Molokini's origins are a little different. The fire goddess, Pele, fell in love with a prince named Mo'o who in turn fell in love with another woman. In her jealous fury, Pele sundered either Mo'o or the woman in half, depending on the version of the story. The head that remained was Pu'u Olai, the prominent cinder cone mound that you can see at the north end of Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach. The body that was left behind was Molokini Crater, one of the many victims of Pele's wrath.

Researchers estimate that the Polynesians first discovered Hawaii, and Molokini, around 500 AD. After this discovery, the ancient Hawaiians were apparently fishing around Molokini for many years, based on the remnants that have been found there. The sheltering arms of its crescent shape have been favored by coral reefs throughout its history, and those reefs are home to an abundance of fish and other marine life that the ancient Hawaiians would have been keen to harvest. But not all its residents are located below the waves. Up on its rocky slopes and ledges, many seabirds have made their nests over the years, and their eggs were also prized by the Hawaiians.

Unfortunately, the history of Molokini took a dark turn in World War II. The island was used as target practice, because its narrow shape made it uniquely comparable to submarines and battleships. The island, the reefs, and the biodiversity that it housed were profoundly damaged by bombing at that time. Many surviving animals fled to other areas, and the fishermen refused to risk their safety with any activity near the island. The bombing stopped, but from the 50s to the 70s, the island was pillaged for its black coral. In 1975 and 1984, unexploded ordinance was detonated by the US Navy, further damaging the reefs. After a public outcry, a new effort began, which involved local divers removing the remaining ordinance. They risked their lives to save the existing reefs, and in the years since, not a single remaining ordinance has been found by the many divers who frequent the area.

The happy ending to the tale of Molokini is that in 1977, the islet, the crater, and the surrounding 77 acres of underwater terrain were declared a Marine Life Conservation District. Over the past several decades, the health of the area has been carefully monitored, and both corals and marine life are living in abundance again at this treasured site. To keep it that way, responsible boating and snorkeling practices are imperative. If you have any questions about that, we hope you'll join us aboard one of our Molokini snorkeling tours. We operate out of Lahaina Harbor, and in fact, ours is the only Molokini snorkel tour that departs from that location. The others depart from other places, like Ma'alaea Harbor, but for those who happen to be staying here in West Maui, the Lahaina Harbor is much more convenient. Hopefully, that includes you, but in any case, we look forward to showing you the many charms of Molokini firsthand. Mahalo!

Top Ten Casual Places to Eat in West Maui

The ten best casual places to get delicious, reasonably priced food in West Maui.
May 26, 2017

Top Ten Casual Places to Eat in West Maui

On the lookout for great places to dine or grab food to go on your Maui vacation? If you'll be staying here in West Maui, look no further. Considering we operate our Maui ocean tours from Lahaina, we know the area well, and have come up with a solid top ten list of places to get food based on a combination of our experiences and customer reviews. Conveniently, all of them feature moderate or even cheap prices, despite serving some of the best food on the island. They include those little gems off the beaten path, like food trucks and casual eateries.


1. The Fish Market Maui

Not far from Honokowai Beach Park at what is basically a strip mall, you'll find this casual restaurant, which happens to be one of the most celebrated eateries on the island. Its success might have something to do with the fact that the restaurant is supplied with fresh caught fish brought in by local fishermen every day. The fishermen really know what they're doing, and so do the cooks! You can think of it as a community effort to provide the freshest, cleanest, tastiest seafood that you can find anywhere. You'll find sandwiches, sushi, tacos, fish burgers, lobster, chowder, poke, you name it! If you've spent the morning enjoying fun and sun at the beach, this place is the perfect place to sate your appetite, and all the menu items are under $20.

2. Teppanyaki 2 Go By 808 Afternoons

Just a couple of minutes away from The Fish Market Maui in Honokowai, you'll find another casual gem. This eatery features just a handful of affordable menu options including meat, seafood and vegetarian fare. As you can probably imagine from such a small menu, their emphasis is on perfection. They've succeeded. We'd link you to their website, but they don't have one, so we've opted for their Yelp listing instead. As you can see, these guys like to keep things simple, with an emphasis on quality. Unlike most of the other places on the list, you don't actually dine here. You call in your order, pick it up, and head back to your accommodations, or perhaps maybe take your to-go order to the beach to watch the sunset in the evening.

3. Shark Pit Social

Many locals and visitors alike consider this the best food truck anywhere. That is if you enjoy Asian fusion and Hawaiian food. Conveniently, it's located just off Front Street in historic Lahaina Town, on Papalaua Street. That means you can easily get there on foot after joining us aboard one of our Maui ocean excursions, or after exploring the charms of Lahaina Town. When you arrive, you'll find a small area with a food truck, a tent, and some benches. It has become so popular, there is often a wait at peak mealtimes, so you might want to avoid those. The experience is worth it!

4. Leilani’s

Not sure what kind of food you're in the mood for? This restaurant features a combination of Hawaiian, seafood, and new American fare, so you've got options. This is the place to go when you're exploring the lively Ka'anapali Beach area. Leilani's is located in Whaler's Village, a fun place to shop just steps from the sand. It's a popular resort location, so expect an upbeat, buzzing atmosphere. This is a casual but attractive sit-down place with outdoor seating that gives you some nice ocean views. What sets this place apart from the ones above is the desserts. Try the Hula Pie!

5. Star Noodle

You'll find this delightful restaurant in Lahaina, tucked away on Kupuohi Street, just a minute or two from the Lahaina Cannery Mall. This is the place for your noodle cravings, which can easily be sated with their amazing ramen and Asian fusion dishes. Although its surrounding area is rather barren, the restaurant's interior is attractive, which makes it feel like quite an oasis. Despite its hidden location, it does get crowded there, so you may want to make a reservation or stop by outside peak meal times. As you'll discover if you visit their website, the menu is fairly broad for a noodle place. They'll even work with you on vegetarian options.

6. Lahaina Luna Cafe

Although this delightful place is known for Hawaiian and Asian Fusion food, you'll definitely find some American menu options in the mix. Its location on Front Street couldn't get more convenient if you're exploring Lahaina Town, or joining us on a Maui ocean cruise. In fact, you'll find it just a short walk from the scenic Lahaina Harbor where we operate our excursions. Consider it the perfect opportunity to explore some Hawaiian dishes mixed with options for familiar favorites like burgers and fries. The versatility of the menu makes it great for families with kids.

7. Hula Grill Kaanapali

Consider this place a nice alternative to Leilani's. Both of these fantastic restaurants are located in Whaler's Village in Ka'anapali, perched beside a world renown mile-long stretch of beach. That means you can bounce back and forth between shopping, swimming, sunbathing and dining, or just grabbing a drink to refresh yourself. Also like Leilani's, the menu features new American, Hawaiian and seafood fare. Although both restaurants have a lot in common, you may want to explore each menu before you choose between them. If you find yourself standing between them, it might just come down to which restaurant has a shorter wait time. Either way, you're sure to enjoy a tasty meal.

8. Okazuya & Deli Honokowai

This fantastic casual restaurant is at the same location as The Fish Market Maui, the first restaurant on our list. Both are equally casual, but while the Fish Market is all about seafood, Okazuya features a larger menu full of Hawaiian and Japanese traditional favorites, including fantastic breakfast options. Also, it's a perfect choice if you want to experience a classic Hawaiian plate lunch on your way to or from the beach.

9. Ono Tacos

Conveniently located in Lahaina, right off Honoapiilani Highway, you'll find a terrific Mexican food truck that serves tacos, quesadillas, burritos and more. The flavors are outstanding, the prices are cheap, and the location couldn't possibly be easier to get to if you're cruising around Lahaina. The fish tacos are amazing, and so is the friendly service. If you have a craving for good old fashioned Mexican food, this is the ideal spot to sate your craving while you're on the go.

10. Ono Kau Kau

"Ono" means good and "Kau Kau" means food in Hawaiian, which applies to this local favorite. Yet another amazing place to eat in Honokowai, this one is as casual as they come, and they do have a few tables, so you can sit and eat there or take your food to go. The menu features classic Hawaiian and Chinese fare. Despite how small the restaurant is, their menu is surprisingly big, so you might even want to figure out what you want before you get there. One of the perks of this place is that they serve breakfast all day!


When you're on vacation, amazing food is the best fuel to keep you going on your adventures. Here on Maui, there are too many things to do and see in the space of one vacation. The same can easily be said about the places to eat, but hopefully this is enough to get you started. If you miss some of these places on your first trip, you may want to keep them in mind for your next one! We hope you enjoy these places as much as we do! Mahalo!

Blogs for June 2017

Our 4th of July Maui Fireworks Cruises

Posted on June 23, 2017

Our 4th of July Maui Fireworks Cruises

Making plans for your 4th of July weekend on Maui? Lahaina Town will have the only aerial fireworks show on the island, and considering how popular this celebration has been in previous years, we don't expect this one to be any different. That… Continue Reading

New Sunset Dinner Cruise and Maui Theater Combination

Posted on June 16, 2017


New Sunset Dinner Cruise & Maui Theater Combination

Interested in finding great Maui package activity deals? As you may already know, we offer deals that combine our Maui sunset dinner cruise with golf, or with a luau, and we're introducing a brand new combo. Now, we officially offer… Continue Reading

Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name

Posted on June 09, 2017


Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name

As a Maui ocean tour company, it's not every day that we blog about an animal that's not aquatic. Then again, it's not every day that an animal's lost Hawaiian name is found, but that's exactly what happened to the… Continue Reading

History of Molokini Island

Posted on June 02, 2017


History of Molokini Island

One of the most unique geographic features in Maui County is Molokini, the tiny crescent island just fifteen miles off the coast of South Maui. This picturesque little islet has graced many a stunning ocean sunset photo, its diminutive size in stark contrast to… Continue Reading

Navigation

Home
Dinner Cruise
Lanai Snorkel
Molokini Snorkel
Boat Tours
About HOP
Site Map
Join Newsletter

certificate

certificate

award

Our Latest Blogs

Our 4th of July Maui Fireworks Cruises
  (Posted: June 23, 2017)

New Sunset Dinner Cruise and Maui Theater Combination
  (Posted: June 16, 2017)

Rare Hawaii Forest Bird Regains Lost Hawaiian Name
  (Posted: June 09, 2017)

Social Networks

Reviews

© Copyright 2015 - Hawaii Ocean Project
Lahaina Harbor, Loading Dock Main Booth, 675 Wharf Street, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

Hawaii Ocean Project Main Logo Graphic