When you're planning a vacation to Maui, it's nice to know when the reoccurring events take place so you can easily fit them into your schedule. For example, every Friday is Art Night in Lahaina. Since we run our Maui ocean tour company out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor, it would be easy for our guests to enjoy one of our excursions on a Friday and follow it up by exploring everything featured in Art Night.

Lahaina is a fun, beautiful and historic town situated on West Maui's stunning coastline. You'll find it full of shops, restaurants, art galleries and other unique establishments. It's the ideal spot for grabbing a bite and searching for souvenirs, but what really makes it stand out from other places on the island is its impressive number of art galleries. If you're interested in paintings, sculptures, glass art, specially designed jewelry, and numerous other keepsakes, Lahaina is the place to find them. There's something for everyone, whether you are looking for fine art or unique, locally made crafts.

Friday Art Nights are Lahaina's time for putting the spotlight on this fantastic array of creations. From 6-9pm, there are opportunities to meet artists, mingle with like-minded art enthusiasts, and enjoy pupu (hors d'oeuvres) and wine. The Lahaina Visitor Center will even provide you with a free Art Map to guide you on your exploration. You'll find the center at the old Lahaina Courthouse in Banyan Tree Park.

Here is the Lahaina Visitor Center's list of Art Night highlights for your perusal:

  • Kai Pua Gallery – Live glass blowing and painting by local artists. Special deals, fabulous seconds and clearance sale, serving wine.
  • Peter Lik Gallery – Special promotions on art.
  • Maui Hands Gallery – Light refreshments also served.
  • Lahaina Galleries – Serving wine from 5-10 p.m. Featured artists Andrea Razzauti and Steve Turnbull
  • The Village Galleries – Featured Artist Kathleen Alexander. Refreshments will be served
  • Images Fine Art Gallery – Complimentary wine and live music
  • Simon Jon Gallery – Unique Hawaiian wood bowls by artist Jonathan Somaoang, offering 10-20% off select items
  • Sargent’s Fine Art – Enjoy the music of Curt Lee every Friday Art Night at the gallery, featured artist: Roman Czerwinski.
  • Martin Lawrence Gallery – Serving Wine and Pupu’s
  • Kingwell Island Art – Live music 6-8pm. Demonstration of Plein Air painting. Wine and pupu’s will be served.
  • Daryl Millard Gallery – Daryl will be painting at the easel and talking about his work.
  • Contemporary Masters – Live entertainment
  • Lahaina Printsellers – Wine and Pupu’s
  • Vintage Posters – Wine and Pupu’s
  • Diamond Head – Serving wine
  • Joelle – Joelle will be painting at the gallery. Wine and pupu’s will be served
  • Higgins Harte Gallery International

As you can see, this event is rich with activity and enjoyment for anyone who appreciates cultural and creative experiences. Lahaina isn't just a place where art is bought and sold. It is also the source of great inspiration for many artists, so you will sometimes be able to find paintings of the town or the Lahaina Harbor, from which we operate our West Maui cruises. You'll find that many talented artists make their home here, with the island itself acting as a muse full of dynamic qualities.

We hope that all of you art loving visitors will take advantage of Lahaina's Friday Art Nights during your stay, and that you have an enjoyable time. We hope to see you on one of our unforgettable ocean tours as well! Mahalo for reading this week!

Are you passionate about the stewardship of Hawaii's irreplaceable marine ecosystem and all its unique inhabitants? We are. Ecotourism is a cornerstone to those efforts, which is why we've made sure that our Maui ocean tours bring funding to respected and published marine scientists. Scientists are always in search of creative ways to get their research funded, and fortunately for our donation recipients, we connect them with visitors who believe in their work, which hopefully includes you!

We support scientists whose work continuously provides policy makers, ecotourism businesses, residents and visitors with the newest insights on how to safely interact with our sensitive marine ecosystem. All the while, we can relax and enjoy its remarkable beauty, knowing that we are doing everything we can to prevent interference with it. Not only that, but we can also help restore some of the ecosystem that has been impacted in the past.

Our 100% Research Direct Program allows our guests to donate money to scientists who we support. Every penny goes directly to these scientists, meaning there are no director salaries or administrative fees being siphoned away from your donation. We've even taken our commitment a step further, giving 100% of our gift shop Maui cruise excursion profits to our recipient scientists.

How far has our assistance gone for these recipients? Since the inception of HOP, we've contributed over $80,000 through this program, with the help of our wonderful conscientious guests. We could have opted to keep our gift shop profits, but the truth is, when businesses give back to their community, everyone benefits. We look forward to a future where this kind of commitment becomes the standard for businesses the world over, and they discover how mutually enriching such partnerships are. In fact, we're working to establish a coalition of businesses from all over the island to contribute to researchers. In turn, we will promote those businesses to our guests.

Our program's contributions currently support the following scientists:

  • Mark and Debbie Ferrari of The Center for Whale Studies
  • Dr. Joseph Mobley of Marine Mammal Research Consultants, Ltd. and the University of Hawaii
  • Dr. Meagan Jones of Whale Trust
  • Dr. Robin Baird of Cascadia Research Collective
  • Jill Mickelsen of Hawaii Whale Research Foundation

If you'd like to learn more, and perhaps make a contribution, check out our HOP donation recipients page. Mahalo!

One of the great things about running our Maui ocean tours out of the vibrant historic town of Lahaina is that there are plenty of things for guests to do before or after coming out on one of our excursions. Aside from the enjoyable shopping, dining and entertainment options available here all year round, there are also a lot of interesting events, some big, some small.

This week, we'd like to direct you to the upcoming Benefit Night for the Birds at the Maui Brewing Company. Swing by on Friday, May 22nd for a fantastic meal and refreshing beverages. Half the profits from house beer sales from 6-10pm will go to the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project (MFBRP).

While our Maui ocean tours support scientists whose research is focused on marine ecosystems, MFBRP is devoted to saving our endangered birds in their last remaining habitat on Haleakala's slopes. Ancient Hawaiian land divisions, known as ahupua'a, ran in segments that stretched from the mountain to the sea, so it's fitting that Maui's modern stewards would work for the preservation and restoration of both kinds of ecosystems.

As for the Maui Brewing Company, they provide tasty pub fare with a splash of Hawaiian flavor that make for some unique local favorites. Not to mention, their craft beer is widely considered the best in Hawaii. They regularly hold fundraisers like this to give back to the local economy and Maui's precious natural environment.

If you'll be visiting during the fall rather than the summer,  they'll have another fundraiser on November 27th. If you're not into the pub scene but you'd like to support MFBRP, you'll find their website at the link above, where you can learn more about them and donate to their efforts.

As for the scientists that our efforts support, we'll tell you all about them in our next blog! Be sure to check in each Friday for our latest topic. Mahalo!

Photo generously provided by the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project

Hawaii's whale season lasts from December through the winter and spring up until the end of May. Very few whales remain after this month, as they are busy migrating back to the poles to feed throughout the summer and fall. Humpbacks travel about 16,000 miles per year, but being up to 52 feet in length certainly helps them get around at a good pace. The warm, calm waters of Hawaii are worth the trip. Humpbacks come to mate and give birth to their calves. Every year, we're fortunate enough to see many of these curious little giants before they set off on their big journey. If you'd like to see off the remaining whales in their last month spent in Hawaii, then you're sure to enjoy our Maui whale watching tours.

While it's true that the remaining whales grow fewer this time of year, we guarantee sightings, or you'll get your money back. That's because we're confident in the expertise of our crew in giving you the best possible experience. Our tours are a full two hours in duration, which is plenty of time to find whales as we cruise along through the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific.

This educational adventure is ideal whether you're visiting with your kids, or you're on a romantic getaway. If you enjoy sightseeing and snapping pictures, so much the better! You'll depart from the scenic Lahaina Harbor, which is situated near the shops and restaurants of Front Street, but if you're looking for souvenirs from your tour, we have an on-board gift shop.

Once on board, you can settle into our enclosed main cabin and meander up to the observation deck for unobstructed views. Our knowledgeable Captain and crew will share their knowledge on the whales and other marine life in the area. We even have a hydrophone so you can listen to any whales that might be singing close enough to hear. We will provide you with binoculars if you want to see at a distance.

Follow the link if you'd like to book our whale watching tour. We have two time slots, including the 7:30am (Early Bird) and 9:45am, and you'll find more details by following the link. Just be sure to arrive to check in a half hour prior to your chosen tour. If you need more assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo, and we hope to see you soon!