This week, we'd like to let you know about something happening on land for a change. This particular event will be taking place under the Banyan Tree in Lahaina, which is adjacent to the Lahaina Harbor, where we operate our Maui ocean tours from. The Prince Kuhio Day celebration could work nicely in conjunction with one of our tours. So, why swing by this free public event?

First of all, you may want some background on the person whose life and good work are being celebrated. Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole was an important figure in Hawaii's history, known best for spearheading the 1920 federal Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. He is widely considered the "father" of the Native Hawaiian homelands program, which established that certain lands are held in trust by the state of Hawaii for Native Hawaiians.

These days, Maui residents work hard to keep native Hawaiian culture and traditions and alive, and Prince Kuhio helped preserve both at a critical time. To celebrate him and everything he worked for, the public is invited to join this delightful Hawaiian cultural celebration under the Banyan Tree.

Prince Kuhio Day will be celebrated on March 26th and 27th, which fall on a Saturday and a Sunday. There will be an Easter Bunny visit on Sunday at 10:30am. The event hours will be 9am-4pm on both days, so you will have plenty of time to stop by and check it out in conjunction with whatever else you may want to do in the area.

We recommend grabbing something to eat at one of the many fantastic restaurants in Lahaina, and perhaps exploring the shops, art galleries and activities available here. Of course we'd love to suggest that you join us for one of our Maui ocean tours as well. Perhaps you'd like to experience one of our sunset dinner cruises, or a snorkeling trip to Molokini?

If you need more information about Prince Kuhio Day, call 808-264-8779 or visit www.lahainahcc.org. If you need assistance with your cruise booking, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

This week, we'd like to highlight one of our research recipients, Dr. Joe Mobley of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before we dive into his work, we'll give you a little background information on our 100% Research Direct Program, which provides the option for guests from our Maui ocean tours to donate to scientific researchers. This select group of devoted individuals currently studies marine life and publishes peer-reviewed papers about their discoveries.

Every penny of the money donated through this program goes to these carefully chosen scientists, and so does every penny of our gift shop profits. Yes, that means if you buy a t-shirt or a tumbler on one of your Maui ocean tours with us, you'll be supporting marine research. We're very proud to facilitate this funding through our business. With our steady stream of guests who share an interest in Hawaii's marine life, we're uniquely positioned to spread the word about these remarkable researchers to folks who might not have otherwise known about the wonderful work that they do.

Speaking of wonderful work, let's get back to the efforts of Dr. Joe Mobley. With a deep involvement in marine mammal research, Dr. Mobley chose to focus on humpback whales, and has been studying them since 1980. Given his many years of devotion and experience, he has quite the list of accomplishments and contributions. For example, he has authored and co-authored dozens of articles, book chapters and reports, which predominantly focus on humpback whale behavior. In recent years, he has developed a more specific focus on the effects that underwater sound has on cetacean behavior, which is a growing concern among the environmentally responsible.

Dr. Mobley has been a principal scientist for a reliable aerial population survey of humpback whales in Hawaii, and has been featured in such prestigious educational sources as National Geographic Explorer and BBC's Science/Technology series. Last but not least, he is a tenured professor of the University of Hawaii, which allows him to pass on his observations, skills and techniques to new generations of young marine scientists who will in turn have their chance to enrich the world through their efforts.

When you join us on an exciting Maui ocean cruise, ask us about our 100% Research Direct Program, and we can tell you more about it. We hope you'll join us and make a contribution to their work, or purchase a souvenir for that same purpose. Mahalo!

Once you get the hang of it, snorkeling can be a fascinating and awe-inspiring experience. When you're really comfortable with it, snorkeling can even be relaxing. Countless guests on our Molokini Snorkel Tour and our Lanai Snorkel Tour have had an amazing time exploring the vibrant reefs that can be found just a breezy boat ride away. However, if it's your first time, snorkeling can be a little awkward at first. If you're not accustomed to a mask on your face, fins on your feet, and a breathing through a snorkel, it can be a lot to adjust to, so we have a few tips to help make your experience comfortable.

The Mask: The whole point of snorkeling is being able to see what's under the water, and when your vision is clear, you'll have a better overall experience. There are a couple of things to be aware of when it comes to the mask. If water is leaking into it, you may need to tighten the strap, which we can assist you with. If it continues to leak, you should try a smaller size. Another common issue is fogginess inside the mask, which clouds your vision, and that's no fun. We prevent this with defogging solution, and in a pinch, every experienced snorkeler and diver knows that a little spit, although not as glamorous, is just as effective in a pinch. Let us know if you're having trouble with any of these things and we'll assist you.

The Snorkel: Breathing through the snorkel may feel a bit odd at first. It may also feel like a bit more work for the lungs, and for the mouth, which has to hold it in place. The important thing is clear air flow. Ideally, the ocean's surface will be nice and flat, reducing the chances that water gets into your snorkel. If some water does happen to splash in, just blow out sharply and the water will be forced from your snorkel. Also check the angle of the snorkel and feel the direction it's pointing in. Try to adjust so that it's pointing up and away from the water. Once again, if you have any difficulties, let us know and we'll do whatever we can to assist.

The Fins: This is where your power comes from. Fins allow you to swim longer and expend less energy. Think of it like more of a strength workout than cardio. Luckily for we humans, our legs are already incredibly strong just because we walk on land. Rely on slow but steady kicks with minimal knee bending to conserve energy. To help ensure that this works well, a good fit is important. Your fins should be just a bit snug all around your foot, because they will feel less tight once you're in the water. Fins that are too loose can slip off, and both tight and loose fins can be uncomfortable on your feet. If you have any trouble with your fins, let us know.

One last tidbit of advice is that you don't push yourself too hard. Tension can be draining, so if you're feeling awkward at first, try to spend some time just getting comfortable with how your gear feels in the water. Once you start to feel comfortable, the experience can be much more relaxing and you can focus on the stunning underwater world that's so passionately celebrated here in the waters surrounding Maui. And if you're having any trouble at all, again, don't hesitate to ask us for assistance. The same is true if you need help with your booking! You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo, and we look forward to welcoming you aboard!

Last week, we blogged about the four new algae species found in Hawaii, some of which were within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Yes, it's quite a mouthful, and it is also one of Hawaii's many Marine Protected Areas, which include both marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries. Papahānaumokuākea contains nearly 140,000 square miles of marine habitat, making it larger than all of America's national parks combined, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

This very special marine monument is located throughout a large portion of the Hawaiian Archipelago to the northwest of the main islands. Most visitors and local residents never see it because it's so remote. However, the main islands contain other National Marine Protected Areas (MPA).

For those of you planning on trying a Maui ocean activity tour with us, you will be exploring one of these MPAs. For example, if you join us on a Molokini Snorkel Tour, you will see the Molokini Shoal, which is a Marine Life Conservation District. The protection is well deserved, considering that the area is home to around 250 to 260 marine species.

If you're planning on joining us on a Maui Whale Watch Tour, you will be cruising within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, where the whales are protected. Although the sanctuary includes a few areas throughout the island chain, the waters here on the southwest side of Maui are known for especially good whale watching because of the frequency of the population that congregates in this area.

Another protected area we have is the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which is located in South Maui at the end of Makena Road. The coral reefs in this area are considered some of the finest in the main Hawaiian Islands, containing at least 33 species of coral, 75 species of fish, and 53 species of subtidal invertebrate.

Hawaii's protected marine areas are living national treasures, and Maui is home to a particularly rich collection of them. That's why we hope you'll come out with us on one of our tours and experience the wonder of these vibrant, thriving habitats. If you need any assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!