It’s said the Na Pali Coast is the second-fastest eroding coastline in the world, so the terrain is just too crumbly to support roads. They tried it once, decades ago – they soon gave up. What’s fascinating is at one time large settlements of Hawaiians lived in these narrow valleys, some backed by thousand-foot cliffs with, seemingly, no access overland and during Winter’s big surf, and no access by sea. Archaeological evidence of homes and he’iau (sacred sites), as well as terraces for agricultural purposes, remain today along the entire coastline.
The best way to see all of the Na Pali Coast’s cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches, sea caves and arches, and fluted cliffs is by water. With Na Pali Explorer you have numerous choices to create the perfect expedition for you. Pick your favorite boat and let’s have some fun!
Your Option: The Rafts
26′, 16-passenger “Hurricane” Zodiac. An adventurous, thrill-seeking ocean expedition. Beach Landing and nature walk at an archaeological site (weather and ocean permitting). Hawaiian-style whitewater rafting at its best.
- A wet ride
- Thrills and adventure on the high seas
- A shore landing
- A visit to an ancient fishing village
Ride in superior comfort on the largest boat of it’s type in the US. – a 48′, 35 passenger Explorer class adventure craft featuring smooth ride quality.
- Some thrills and more comfort
- Coverage from the sun
- An on-board lua (head or toilet)
This tour has one of the lowest incidences of seasickness. Unlike bigger boats, our three rigid hull inflatable boats are closer to, and move with, the water. This decreases the likelihood of seasickness.
The Na Pali Snorkel Expedition departs as the sun rises over the ocean during the calmest part of the day, making your journey to the Na Pali Coast fast and smooth. Your day starts at Napali Explorer’s office in Waimea with a continental breakfast.
Once onboard, your marine biologists and naturalists share information about the marine creatures you may see along the way, including the ever-popular Hawaiian spinner dolphins which we see every day, practically guaranteed. Did you know the spinner dolphin can spin as many as eight rotations in the air? There’s a great possibility of seeing sea turtles and flying fish, maybe even monk seals and manta rays. During Winter when the whales migrate, you’ll learn about their journey from Alaska, where they feed, to Hawaii, where they breed. During the peak months of February and March, they’re everywhere, and at 45 tons, you can’t miss seeing them.
In addition to marine life, you’ll witness the majesty of the Na Pali Coast with cliffs as high as 4,000 feet in some places and learn historical and cultural information about life in ancient and modern Hawaii. (Did you know the land once terraced for taro was used for growing coffee in recent times? That in the 1890s, Ko’olau the Leper and his wife Pi’ilani successfully evaded the provisional goverment’s army in defiance of its decree to be exiled to the Leper Colony on Moloka’i? That the movie “Six Days, Seven Nights” was filmed on the beach of Honopu which is bisected by a lava rock arch?)
There is only one fringing reef along the entire Na Pali Coast. It extends 600 feet offshore and is home to many varieties of seaweed, limpets, sea urchins and 50 species of fish. The valley is called Nualolo Kai, and it contains the greatest number of archaeological remains of all the Na Pali Coast and has been protected over the years due to its extreme isolation. It is surrounded on three sides by cliffs and ocean on the fourth. It’s a highly respected and studied setting. (Carbon dating dates civilization here as early as 600 A.D.) Na Pali Explorer is one of the few commercial boating companies awarded a special permit to land (on snorkel tours only) at Nualolo Kai for snorkeling and visiting the remains of this ancient fishing village.
(Please note: Sometimes during winter, due to ocean conditions, your captain may elect to snorkel at a different location. Also, because of its smaller size, only Explorer I lands during the summer months, except during times of unusual summer swells, and rarely during other times of the year, again due to ocean conditions.)