Hanging in the hazy distance 17.5 miles off the west coast of Kauai, is the island of Ni’ihau. Just short of 70 square miles long, Ni`ihau is the smallest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands. Its population of Native Hawaiian speakers hovers around 160 people. Long called the Forbidden Island, it’s privately owned and mostly off limits to outsiders.
But you can sail along its secluded coast and dive its waters on charter boat tours. These day-long adventures that include stops on the Ni`ihau coast, depart from Port Allen and cruise along the stunning Na Pali Coast and across to Ni’ihau.
Anchored off Ni`ihau, you can snorkel, scuba dive, get a glimpse of schools of colorful fish and dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals and, in the winter, huge humpback whales.