Raft Maui’s Coastline
Relatively speaking, Maui’s a little chunk of Earth floating in a cosmic sea of possibilities. The action’s in the ocean, and one of the best ways to get a piece of it is to climb abroad an ocean raft and see where it takes you.
Rafting, to the uninitiated, is an adventure at sea, a wet, adrenaline rush aboard an aerodynamic craft safe enough for the U.S. Coast Guard to use as its rescue vehicle of choice. Picture yourself in a 30-foot rigid hulled inflatable craft with maybe a dozen other people. You’re out on the open ocean, climbing swells, bouncing off their crests, windswept, wet and happy.
In the winter, you’re likely to see humpback whales and pods of spinner dolphins. Both species are known for their aquatic antics, so expect a show. Watch for humpbacks to haul their 40-ton bulk out of the water, leap to the surface and land with a titanic splash.
Ocean rafts offer a more intimate tour than larger catamarans. They’re fast, safe and cause minimal disturbance. Many companies limit their load to no more than 20 passengers, and first-time snorkelers receive personal attention.
Some rafting tours offer the opportunity to snorkel or dive Lanai’s reefs and caves, which are teeming with tropical fish, 200-pound green sea turtles, whales, manta rays, underwater caverns and ancient Hawaiian burial caves. Ocean rafting tours can be booked on the Hana Coast as well as Molokini. Most rafts have sun canopies and easy-access boarding ladders to make getting into and out of the boat easy.
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