State of Hawaii Reopening October 15th, 2020

As the State of Hawaii is working hard to transition into our COVID19 reopening phase on October 15, we could not be happier that this time of year we are also looking for the signs of early arriving Humpback Whales! While the official whale season runs December 15 – May 15, every year there are random sightings of the gentle giants in the Hawaiian waters far earlier. For us here in the islands, those random sightings are like messages of hope and excitement! This year, in 2020, there has been long months of waiting for hopeful messages, it’s time to don the binoculars and fingers crossed, be one of the lucky ones who get to see the early-bird whales!


Humpback Whales Migration to Hawaii

The migration to Hawaii from Alaska is long for the humpback whales, approximately 3,000 miles each way. As they begin arriving it only makes sense that they should need a time of rest, and that is why their activity isn’t as flamboyant in the early days. At first, we may just see them simply logging along, or perhaps an occasional fluke or pectoral fin wave.

The first to arrive are typically the adolescent/juvenile males. Because they are too young for mating, they will enjoy the warm tropical waters as a place to languish, play, and learn how to court the ladies properly when they are old enough. Adult males follow shortly behind the juveniles, and the last to arrive are the females. Of course, there are always exceptions and the rules above are loose at best, but they are a good overview for the most part.

Female Humpback Whales Migration

Some female humpback whales arrive with new babies in tow, and many others are ready to birth while in the warmer waters of Hawaii. Can you imagine a 3,000-mile trek with a newborn calf? Feeding them, keeping them safe from predators, making sure both mother and calf have enough nutrients to sustain them for the physical journey, it’s something all of the mothers face whether it is while traveling to Hawaii or on the migration back to Alaska. Did you know mother Humpback Whales whisper to their babies?

Since Hawaii is blessed with all of the whale babies, regardless of where they were born, we get to delight in seeing them rest on their momma’s nose as they learn to breathe the air above the ocean’s surface. We get to watch them as they learn to slap their flukes, wave Aloha with their pectoral fins, and oh the cuteness when they are practicing their newly learned breaching skills. There are times when the mother whale will bring her baby up close to a boat and position herself of the outside of her young for rest or protection. This can make for some very exciting whale watching!

Whale Watching on Maui, While Social-Distancing

Speaking of exciting humpback whale watching, boat tours are most definitely the way to capture the best experience and photos! If you are coming to Maui be sure to book some time out on a boat, private charters are available and highly favorable right now as we are all still social distancing. You may get lucky and see a humpback whale between now and the start of the official season.  However, if you aren’t a risk taker book for January and March, they are strong months for whale watching, or best yet, February is what we call “whale soup” – they are everywhere! Visit here to learn a lot more about the Humpback Whales!


Will Hawaii Re-Open October 1st?

Well folks, we got very excited by the announced re-opening date of August 1st for the State of Hawaii. So excited we shared a blog about it! For all intents and purposes, we have to retract that information as new waves of the coronavirus have swept through our state forcing the pushback of a reopen date to potentially October 1st. Will it happen? We hope so, but it remains to be seen and not very likely. With the 14-day quarantine reinstated for inter-island travel in Hawaii it is unlikely we will see transatlantic travel given the green light any time soon. But who knows! In the midst of all the speculation and waiting there are people hard at work trying to develop a vaccine. Their success just might be the ticket to get us up and running again. Another possibility, after the large number of new cases that caused the reinstated quarantine, is maybe our state will develop herd immunity, it’s happening in other states right now.


COVID19 – Rocked Hawaii Worse Than a Hurricane!

COVID19 has definitely rocked us like a hurricane, it is hurricane season in Hawaii after all. It has actually hit us harder than a hurricane. Since tourism is our main driving force, economically we are facing devastating times as millions of our people have no job to go to, until we can invite our guests to come back to the islands. In the meantime, many of you might wonder what it is like to be in paradise right now.


How is Hawaii Doing During These Tough Economic Times?

Despite the economic downturn, the islands themselves are flourishing! Without heavy foot traffic our flora and fauna are rejuvenating and healthily thriving. In the sea, the turtles, fish and coral reefs are healing from the constant barrage of sunscreen and human presence. This is the perfect time to do your research on reef friendly sunscreens so that when our doors are reopened for visitors you can do your part to help keep them as healthy as possible! Mangos, papayas, avocados, passion fruit, and bananas are popping in abundance from limb and vine, treating the locals to much ono deliciousness! Dragonfruit has flowered and will be coming along soon.


Our Ohana is Staying Aloha Strong!

When you live on a rock in the middle of the ocean the people of the island become your family or ‘Ohana’. Communities are coming together in support of one another with Aloha in the form of food banks and other outreaches. Ohana’s are lending helping hands to one another, sharing whatever they might have that a neighbor needs. Supporting one another in homeschooling and day to day needs. Fishermen are sharing their shoreline hauls, ranchers are sharing their beef and poultry, seamstresses are sharing masks made from Aloha cloth, and volunteers are rising up to feed our homeless population. COVID19 has nothing on the Spirit of Aloha! It has struck us hard financially, but it has strengthened us in taking care of one another. We are Aloha Strong!


Hawaii is Still The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

We would be lying if we say we aren’t enjoying having the beaches, trails, and jungles all to ourselves. This is a very unique and unprecedented time to selfishly take advantage of living in paradise. Surfers love not having people cut in on their wave, scuba divers have the deep blue all to themselves, photographers can set their tripods or catch the most compelling shots without getting photobombed. And, we can meander trails and gardens, soaking in the fresh aired beauty that surrounds us and simply be alone in nature. We are so incredibly blessed! We live in the most beautiful place in the world and we can enjoy it without spending a single dime. That is pretty incredible! But, as incredible as it is, incredible does not pay the bills. We are all eager to get back to work. We are eager to see your friendly faces. We are eager to share the beauty of our islands with you!

We do not know when Hawaii will re-open, but we do know that when the time comes, we will be ready to welcome you to our beautiful State. Please spend some of your COVID time in the spirit of Ohana and help others when you can, blessings will always come back to you. Be safe, stay well, and live Aloha!

Maui Re-openning Challenges

Around the globe, and particularly the mainland USA, the coronavirus continues to change and challenge our lives daily. Hawaii is no exception as we struggle to keep the people of the island chain healthy, while trying to figure out how to re-open safely and save our faltering economy.

As cases spike, borders close and ‘re-opening’ dates see suspension and push backs. Maui was excitedly set to welcome the return of its tourists and business travelers on August 1st with eased restrictions of the 14-day quarantine and new guidelines for pre-travel testing.  Now, we once again find ourselves crossing our fingers that the newly slated re-open date of September 1st will become a reality.

New talks of creating ‘Resort Bubbles’ in Hawaii are still in the discussion phase and currently include Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kauai. If approved they could potentially look something like this: Test negative for coronavirus 72 hours before boarding your flight; upon arrival transport directly to your pre-approved resort bubble lodging and begin your 14-day quarantine order with the freedom to move about your resort, it’s grounds, and beaches within the confines of a predetermined “geofence”. You can soak up the sun and enjoy your own little slice of paradise, you just have to stay within your bubble. After completing the 14-day quarantine order, you are then free to move about the island and discover more of its beauty.  Surf, hike trails, drive upcountry, go out on a boat, enjoy restaurants, and more. While this “resort bubble” idea seems like it could potentially be set into motion, there are a lot of variables that keep it in question such as the operation of the “resort bubbles” interior restaurants, swimming pools, and other amenities. Health safety of the staff is another concern as they go home to their families at the end of their shifts. There is also the question of how to handle a guest who arrived asymptomatic and during quarantine tests positive.  What will it mean for the safety of the other guests and resort employees? Working hard to find the answers to these questions and more, leaders in the industry along with our Mayors and Governor are tirelessly trying to find a way to build bridges that will allow for Maui’s tourism to flourish safely once again.

If you are hoping/planning/daydreaming of coming to Maui, Hawaii, news outlets MauiWatch, HawaiiNewsNow, and MauiNow are the best places to find updates and the most current, accurate information. You can find them through Google Search, on Facebook and Instagram. Just remember, what is current and accurate today could easily change tomorrow since we are dealing with unprecedented unknowns as we try to navigate our way through the pandemic.


Reaping the Rewards Post COVID19

With upwards of 10 million visitors per year, can you imagine what Maui is like right now without our visitors? Locals are experiencing an unprecedented time here in Hawaii as lockdowns ease and we are able to enjoy the beauty of our islands all to ourselves! Many Maui residents are not yet back to work as our economy relies so heavily on the tourism industry, and we are reaping the rewards of our stringent dedication to adhering to COVID19 rules and regulations for the past few months. With our islands now being hailed as the ‘safest place in the world’ we are surfing, snorkeling, lounging on our empty beaches, and combing the trails in our beautiful jungles without the crowds. We’ve done the work to flatten the curve and are reaping the rewards in paradise!

What is open on Maui?

While many restaurants are still serving take-out or delivery only, there are a nice handful of places to sit down and enjoy a meal in good company. Shopping is more of the same, some stores are open, some are not.  This is a time when we are very keen on keeping it local as much as we can. Supporting local businesses is in the hearts of our residents, we hope when our visitors return, they will adopt this mindset as well to help our family owned businesses regain footing post COVID19 and once again flourish!

Some fun things that are open are boating activities (with limited restrictions). Lucky for us at Sea Monkey Private Charters, we are open for business and super excited to extend a 25% off kama’aina discount to our local folks! Our crew worked hard during the shutdown phase of COVID19, with our boat in dry dock they put in long, hard, hot hours to make our beautiful boat shine like a diamond! She’s fast, she’s fun, she’s luxurious! Come spend a day with us and together let’s celebrate our graduates, our local newlyweds, and our healthy friends and families! There is no better time than now to get your friends together, split the cost, and hang out for a day on the best boat you’ll find in Maui!

Maui Re-opens To Visitors August 1st, 2020

As of August 1, 2020, with new health and safety rules set in place, the State of Hawaii re-opens its arms and welcomes the masses to come back to our islands. The fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival will take a back seat to the new highly favored option of providing documentation of a negative result COVID19 test taken 72 hours prior to boarding your flight to Hawaii. Please make sure you do your homework to learn about the guidelines for traveling to Hawaii, they are set in place to help keep us all safe and healthy. And in a time, such as now, we very much need for you to care for the safety of our island people by committing to follow Hawaii’s guidelines for a successful re-opening, including pre-testing, wearing masks, and social distancing. Be aware that some shops, restaurants, and activities may still not be open, but our palm trees still sway, our sunsets are still magical, our beaches still beckon us to put our toes in the sand and surf the waves, and the Spirit of Aloha still reigns! Come see us!

Maui is for lovers: lovers of spas and massages, lovers of hiking thru rain forest and waterfalls on the Road to Hana, lovers of snorkeling with sea turtles and most breathtaking sunsets in the world. If you are looking for something more, wishing Google would find you something a little different than the norm, a tad more lavish, a lot more private, we hope this blog will help you find what you are looking for.

Exclusive Accommodations on Maui

Luxury Accommodations on Maui

When you want to feel at home the moment you walk in the door of your private villa, we recommend you book your stay with Molly McMillen at Luxury Retreats. A concierge above the cut, Molly delivers curated properties equipped with high-end amenities alongside an exquisite itinerary to fill your Maui days with luxe local experiences from rainforests and waterfalls to world class spas and golf courses. Contact Molly to begin planning your unforgettable stay on Maui:

Upcountry Maui

Upcountry Maui - Piiholo RanchFor the ultimate upcountry Maui experience imagine this: Your limo picks you up from your hotel and whisks you to the Kahului Heliport. You soar over the North side of Haleakala Mountain to Hana Town and view East Maui Waterfalls. Your flight lands at the secluded Baldwin Family’s cabins tucked up at 2000 feet on the slopes of Haleakala.  Step out of the helicopter to be greeted with coffee and pastries and to be met by your own personal Piiholo Ranch Wrangler. Spend 2 hours exploring the lush green pastures and fragrant eucalyptus forests as you ride horseback on the 800-acre Piiholo Ranch; the ocean and mountain views are nothing short of spectacular.


Your Own Private Photographer

Private Photographer MauiIf you could freeze time in a capsule so you would be able to remember his hand brushing your hair off your cheek, or slipping and falling in mud and laughing until your side hurts, or that magic moment when the last light caught your champagne flute as you toasted sunset, would you? One of the most raw things you can do is to trust a shadow to follow you to capture your moments in real-time: no posing, perfect imperfections, timelessness. Let Stephanie Betsillbe your private photographer. With an inspired eye and creative spirit, she will turn the pages of your story into works of art that you can re-visit time and time again.


Oh, The Places We Go for Wine

Maui Wine Country

Did you ever think you would have to go to jail to get the best wine? What if we told you the Old Jail House would be one of the most beautiful, tucked away little treasures you would find on the island of Maui? The roughhewn stone walls are thick set with chinking and lush foliage giving it an air that transports your mind to an era gone by. But the romance of the little gem has only just begun on the exterior.

Maui Wine Private Tasting

Inside you find a jaw-dropping, warm and cozy setting under a vaulted wooden ceiling; the perfect pairing for your private party wine tasting. Set in foothills of Haleakala, in Ulupalakua, Maui Wine is a ‘don’t miss’. The wine is the climax; however, the grounds are so charming it is a total package all the way around. Bring your bridal party here and raise a glass to the mysteries of the past as you send up a toast to your future.


A Very Exclusive Peek into the Past

The Kings Gardens Maui

Discover The King’s Gardens where you can experience a taste of the lush and beautiful rainforest of Hana without the long drive. The exclusive grounds are a well-kept Royal Hawaiian secret. Only select few have the honor and privilege to walk these private paths of past King’s with a personal guide who shares cultural and natural knowledge of the estate. Visit the private waterfall, and learn about their young cacao, and chocolate tours too. Be a part of the chocolate making process, or just be a taster! Home to very rare and endangered species and Hawaiian artifacts, The King’s Gardens will only send directions disclosing their location to you after your booking is secured and verified.  Don’t miss out on this magical and mystical place to immerse yourself deep within Hawaii.


When money is no object and your only limits are how far your imagination takes you, we hope the things you found in this blog will literally make you feel like your rainbow met with a pot of gold. We would feel remiss, however, not to offer up one last thing. For you lovers of the water, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, snorkeling, cruising, and so much more: we have to invite you to come see who we are, we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Welcome to a glimpse of Maui! Home to more sub-cultures than any of the other Hawaiian Islands, our Valley Isle has a little bit of everything. Culture and history, marine life, rainforests, water sports, and mouth-watering foods are but a small slice of our paradise without even mentioning our beaches and sunsets.  Here are 10 of our top favorite things to do here on Maui, be sure to visit for a longer list of Hawaii fun! Also, let TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Search be your best friends while planning your Hawaiian vacation, it is hard to go wrong when you are getting results and opinions from people just like yourselves who have been here, done that. However you choose to spend your time you will be glad you chose to spend it on Maui. Maui No Ka Oi!

#1 Maui Ocean Center


Fun for all ages, but especially the small ones who aren’t quite ready for snorkeling.  At the Maui Ocean Center you have the perfect opportunity to see Hawaii’s vast array of marine life, many of which can be seen nowhere else in the world. Sharks, sea turtles, eels, fish and so much more. Assorted presentations take place throughout the day to teach about Hawaii’s ocean dwellers from the shallow reef to the open sea. Visit the Humpbacks of Hawai’i Exhibit & 3D Sphere, and through the latest cutting edge visual and audio technology observe Maui’s Humpback Whales up close and personal in their habitat of the depths. This is one of the most exciting things you can do on Maui!

Polynesian-Luau#2 Polynesian Luau’s

Maui has a vast array of historical luau’s filled with storytelling of Polynesian culture. Through the grace and beauty of the hula, the war-cry, strength and might of the haka, fire spinning, authentic weaponry, and costumes beautifully crafted from the gifts of the earth; you are immediately transported into the depths and integrity of the Spirit of the Islands. Your meal will include succulent native cuisine such as poi, taro, lau lau, I’a. You will find an abundance of venues to choose from: Feast of Mokapu, Old Lahaina Luau, Wailele Luau, Drums of the Pacific and so many more. Every guest to our beautiful island should experience a luau at least once in their lifetime. Be sure to find the one that you feel you can’t miss and book your reservation far in advance.

#3 Road to Hana


Ready…  Set… coffee, cooler, swimsuit, camera – Go! Before you begin plan to set the entire day aside so that you can relax and enjoy this winding scenic highway on island time. No hurries, no worries. We recommend downloading the Gypsy Guide App. Let the narrator do the work for you as you make your way through the rainforest with cliffside jaw dropping coastal views. Be sure to check out the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls with a 400’ drop, 7 Sacred Pools, Ke’anae Peninsula, Puohokamoa Falls, Wainapanapa Beach, and so much more. Make sure you top it off on a blanket to view the starry night sky; it is unlike anywhere else on the island.  For more information and great tips for your Road to Hana adventure – check out this article.

#4 Sport Fishing

Sport-Fishing-MauiFish on! Even the thought of hearing those words gets the blood pumping and adrenaline rushing with excitement and there is no cure except to get out there and do it. Lahaina Harbor is full of seasoned fishermen with a deep-seated passion for the sport. They are professional and they know what they are doing. You know the drill, it is called fishing not catching for a reason, but they work very hard to help give you the time of your life. Whether deep sea trolling or bottom fishing in more shallow waters, they do their darndest to help you reel ‘em in, but it is the ocean and there is no guarantee. You might come in with a big haul and you might come in skunked, it happens to the best of the best. Start Me Up Sport Fishing, Die Hard Sport Fishing, Finest Kind, all come highly recommended. Embrace Start Me Up’s motto: Stop wishin’ and go fishin’!

#5 GolfGolf-Maui-Kapalua

If a good round of golf is your favorite pastime and way to relax, Maui is the ultimate destination. Home some of the most beautiful and best golf courses in the world. The rolling greens set amidst serene mountain and costal views is nothing short of spectacular. All the while hosting designs by golf legends including Arnold Palmer. The Plantation Course at Kapalua Bay is the annual home to PGA TOUR’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions. In South Maui? Try one of the three 18-hole courses at Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club for an experience spread over 7,000 yards of sheer challenge and beauty.

#6 Snorkeling

Sea-Monkey-SnorkelHawaii’s blue waters are home to some of the most colorful tropical fish in the world, some of which cannot be found anywhere else. Whether you choose to snorkel from shore or on a private boat charter for the day you can search for and often find the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles cruising about or munching on coral. The lava point formation at the north end of Charlie Young Beach Park is almost always a sure bet for sea turtles and has a variety of fish for up close easy viewing. For added fun check out a Maui Reef Creatures Guide on Google or pick one up at a local surf shop so you can look up all of the awesome fish you saw. Hopefully you have a lucky visit from the Hawaii State Fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa!  More fun snorkel destinations include Mala, Olowalu, LaPerouse Bay, Honolua Bay, Baldwin Beach, Black Rock, Kahekili Beach Park, and so many more there are too many to name!

#7 Ono Grindz / Good Eats!

Ono-Grindz-ImageThere are so many great places to eat on Maui it is hard to pack them all in on one vacation. Folks often revisit the island with a list of food they have been craving since their last visit! Unforgettable sunsets and fine dining are romantic to be sure, but some of the very best eating can also be found at the small local joints and food trucks. Whatever your palate is a shakedown of some of the absolute best don’t miss spots: 808 Grindz Café, Geste Shrimp Truck, Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill, Poi by the Pound, The Kula Bistro, Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli, Maui Prime for a take-out steamer bucket, Sale Pepe, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shoppe, Hoi Hoi Hawaiian Bakery, Grandma’s Coffee House, Aloha Mixed Plate, Sam Sato’s, Ono Taco Truck, Da Kitchen, Tin Roof, The Mill House, Okazuya, Mama’s Fish House, Star Noodle, Ohana Seafood, Mala, Frieda’s, and The Plantation House. Happy eating!

#8 Learn to Surf & Stand Up Paddle Board

Maui-Surf&Cultural-AdventuresBlending knowledge of Hawaiian culture by those born and raised here in the islands, along with their surfing and paddle boarding skills has brought great recognition to Maui Surf and Cultural Adventures. Located in Lahaina and run by some of the most genuinely friendly people you will meet on Maui.  Their surf instruction is foundationally built on The Spirit of Aloha. Eager to share their rich experience in and on the water, they are gentle guides with giant enthusiasm. The island of Maui is teeming with many great surf school opportunities, but if you want to take home a piece of Maui in your soul, let Maui Surf and Cultural Adventures teach you that entering the sea is a far greater experience than you ever imagined.  808-281-8015.

#9 Helicopter Tour


The volcanic mountains that form the Hawaiian Islands are majestic and rugged. Many areas are too dangerous and cannot be accessed. Thankfully Helicopter tours are able to whisk you up over places so beautiful, so lush, so incredible that beholding the sights literally just takes your breath away. Hidden gems, waterfalls, valleys, Pu’u Kukui, coastlines along sheer cliffs, inside the caldera of Mount Haleakala volcano, barren fields of lava, farms and ranches, multi colored sand beaches, boats dotting the blue ocean, the Road to Hana, all seen from above. Helicopter pilots are vetted with many years of experience so you can feel safe as you explore like a bird. Visit to secure your flight!

#10 Iao Valley


If I had to describe Iao Valley in one word it would be reverence, a feeling more than tangibility. There is a presence about this stream-cut rainforest valley that for many can be felt like a drumbeat; you can’t touch it, but it is there. It is a spiritual place for the local, born and raised Hawaiians. It was a battleground where blood and bodies laid so deeply, they formed a dam in the valley’s stream as King Kamehameha fought to win sovereign reign over the nation of the Hawaiian Islands. It is the sacred resting place for their ancient kings of old. So full of history and mystery, this is a landmark you do not want to miss.

The irony isn’t lost in that while looking for the Top 10 Most Fun things To Do on Maui, you will also find that Maui itself has been ranked in the Top 10 places to visit in the U.S. and also in the world!  Incredible! The best of the best! Now that my friend, is what dreams are made of. Find your Maui destination bragging rights here: Maui Ranked Among the Best in the US and World Article.

how to now get sea sick

When you have spent days, weeks, even months excited about your upcoming snorkel trips or humpback whale watching aboard your very own private charter boat tour in Maui the last thing you want is to spend the day seasick. One of the absolute worst feelings on the planet: being stuck on a ride you cannot get off of when you are sick as a dog. Being carsick is horrible, but at least you can pull over, get out, and walk around. Stuck on a boat and seasick is utterly miserable because until you get back to land you are indeed stuck. We put together some proven useful tips to avoid seasickness and make your day at sea as fun as possible, the more of them you use in combination the better your results.



1. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Avoid caffeine if you can live without your coffee.
2. NO alcohol the night before your boating excursion! If you can abstain from alcohol the entire day before, even better.
3. Do not eat spicy, greasy, or acidic food at dinner or after.
4. Build up antiemetic or scopolamine drugs such as Bonine, Dramamine, (some require physician prescription – follow doctor’s orders) in your system 12-24 hours prior.
5. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a good night’s sleep.


1. Eat a good breakfast but remember to keep it non-greasy and on the bland side. It will help quell any acids left over in the stomach.
2. Keep hydrating! And again, avoid coffee if you can survive without it.
3. 2 Hours before you set out to sea take a dose of your Bonine, Dramamine, or antiemetic drug of choice.


1. Wear Sea-Bands on both wrists. Available here.
2. Don’t look down! Avoid books, electronics screens (cell phones!), and binoculars. Remember, look to the horizon.
3. If you feel yucky, stand up and away from noxious odors. As badly as you want to sit or lay down stand as long as you can stand it.
4. Look at the horizon! If the boat you are on permits you to be on the bow, hang out there and let the wind and sea air work their magic on making you feel better. If the bow is not permitted, then try to hang out midship where the motion of the ocean is less prevalent.
5. Do not go into the room of doom! Anywhere enclosed is the room of doom, but a small bathroom down below deck is the absolute worst place you can be. Stay out in the fresh air.

6. Ask your captain to get the boat moving if the boat has been sitting and bobbing for a while (This is one of the great perks of having your own private boat charter!).
7. Have some ginger or peppermint candies in your pocket for quick and handy relief.

Seasickness is a complex physiological reaction to motion. Your eyes are telling your brain one thing and your inner ear is telling your brain the opposite. Some people are never affected, which is totally unfair in my opinion, because others seem to suffer the effects to the nth degree. If you are one of the lucky ones, please have empathy for your ill, struggling shipmates. If you are one of the unlucky ones and you have tried all the tips above and still nothing works for you, we only have one piece of advice left to offer: Hang your head over the side of the boat and let ‘er rip LEEWARD!

You may wonder what types of marine life and animals you might see on your upcoming Hawaiian boat excursion.  Well, we are here to tell you marine life in Hawaii is as abundant as it is unpredictable!  Every day is different on the ocean, which makes it very special and magical.  We often see Hawaiian green sea turtles, lots of colorful tropical coral and fish, and in season – majestic humpback whales!  Our favorite ones of all are the dolphins! Main reason for that is because, unlike most of the marine life that does not want to have much to do with us, dolphins are quite the opposite.  They are very social with people and they are famous for their incredible maneuver of bow riding or surfing the wave created by the boats.  It is truly amazing to watch the precision of their movement as they easily navigate around the bow of the boat at various speeds and angles.   Watch this video to see Hawaiian Spinner dolphins bow riding the Sea Monkey wave.

Types of Dolphins in Hawaii

Hawaii has 3 different types of dolphins: Bottlenose, Spotted, and Spinner dolphins.  These dolphins have many similar characteristics and are often confused.  Here is a quick way to tell them apart:


Bottlenose Dolphin

Intelligent and high up on oceanic food chain Bottlenose dolphins are the largest of the 3. Adult bottlenose dolphins have a length ranging from 10 to 14 feet long and weight 330 to 440 pounds! They are known to travel further off shore and are typically seen in smaller groups, usually less than 10 in a pod.  If you are wondering just how intelligent these creatures are – movie Dolphin Tale was based on real life events inspired by an amazing survival of a Bottlenose dolphin named “Winter”.  This inspirational story has impacted many lives; it demonstrates just how amazing and human-like these animals are.


Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

Unlike Bottlenose dolphins, Spotted and Spinner dolphins are much smaller in size (5-6 feet) and are generally known for travelling in larger pods, up to several hundred strong!  Spotted dolphins main distinctive characteristic is their white-tipped beak and, as their name suggests, spotted color pattern on the body.


Spinner Dolphin

Spinner Dolphin

Spinner dolphins are most frequently seen, as they like to rest in shallow bay areas during the day and hunt at night.  They are known for their incredible acrobatic spins in the air (up to 7 times) as they breach out of the water.  It is debatable why they do it.  Theories range from them trying to rid of parasites to just leaping for joy.  We don’t know exactly why they do it, but if you are ever lucky to see it – just enjoy the show! One of our recent charters was lucky enough not only to witness a show of a lifetime but get kissed by a spinner dolphin!  Watch below to see those wonderful playful creatures approach this family in the most personal way!


Can you swim with dolphins?

Absolutely not! As a general rule of a thumb wild life should always be left alone.   There are a variety of ways in which human interaction can hurt dolphins.  For example, in case with Spinner dolphins, it can disrupt their natural sleeping cycle. Believe it or not, they are actually sleeping while on the move with one eye open and half of their brain functioning.  Another side of their brain is shut down, which allows them to rest.  Spinner dolphins are nocturnal; so they need to be awake and alert at night when catching food and keeping away from predators.  Swimming with them during the day could jeopardize that rest and their wellbeing.


Life span and reproduction  

Bottlenose Baby Dolphin

Bottlenose Baby Dolphin

Average life span of a Hawaiian dolphin is 20-40 years, with spinner being the shortest of the 3. Their sexual maturity ranges between ages 5-14, depending on the breed.  Dolphins are known for their human-like behavior when it comes to reproduction as well.  Bottlenose dolphins are born often with assistance of a “mid-wife” in shallow water, and mothers nurse their calves for years.


What are the best places to see dolphins in Hawaii?

We often see spinner dolphins just outside of the Historic Lahaina Harbor; also near Island of Lanai’, off Ka’anapali Beach, and deeper in the channels.  It is never the same day out in the ocean and marine life can be unpredictable.  Generally, the more time you spend on the water the more you get to see; and Sea Monkey has been fortunate enough to see dolphins often on many of our trips.  Check out our reservation page to get more information on what we offer. Moments of witnessing wild life in its natural environment can be absolutely incredible.  Always remember to be respectful and keep your distance. And if you are lucky enough to be approached by the dolphins – sit and enjoy the show!  You never know you may be lucky enough to be kissed by one of them!


Guide to the Road To Hana in Maui

There are many resources available to help you prepare for and make the most of your journey on the Road To Hana. Our goal here is not to tell your more of the same, but to share a few thoughts from local perspectives.

Drive the Road to Hana Like a Local

Stillwell’s Bakery

Stillwell's Bakery and Cafe Maui, Hawaii

Stillwell’s Bakery and Cafe

Most often you hear “Start your day in Paia Town.” Paia is great. Paia is lovely. Parking in Paia is a nightmare. Consider beginning a little out of the way, but not too far that it throws in a kink. Stillwell’s Bakery in Wailuku is off the hook with its freshly baked pastries and breads.

Breakfast can be full and hearty or a simple, small start, but guaranteed delicious. Coffee is piping and parking is plentiful. It’s so local that I might have to go into hiding for dishing out the 411 on our secret little tucked away gem.

Skip Twin Falls

Stillwell's Bakery & Cafe Scrumptious Pastries

Stillwell’s Bakery Scrumptious Pastries

This will not be a popularly accepted opinion by any guide book, but here goes anyway – Twin Falls– skip it. Traffic wise it puts you way ahead of the pack and on your way to finding an abundance of beautiful sights more worthy of your time. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a local say this I could fill my tank for a cruise to Hana!

Mile Marker 16, Ke’anae Peninsula

Drone image of Ke'anae Peninsula

Ke’anae Peninsula

It doesn’t take long on the Road to Hana to appreciate the ‘I Survived the Road to Hana’ T-shirts. The twists and turns keep you busy dividing your attention between the road, the scenery, and for some the nausea (see tips below!). One place you need to be on high alert is approaching mile marker 16, you are within a few short minutes of two most often overlooked treasures.  Makai, or ocean side look for the road that leads down to Ke’anae Peninsula.

After heading downhill you will come to where the land begins to flatten out. Park your car, lock your car, grab a camera and get out to explore the majestic rocky coast. As beautiful as it is – it is equally dangerous, so keep a safe distance from where the waves meet the rocks.  Rogue waves can be strong enough to sweep you off of your feet!

Mile Marker 18.9, Wailua Valley and Ko’olau Gap

Wailua Valley is on the road to Hana

Wailua Valley

Back on the main road just past Ke’anae keep your eyes Mauka, or mountain side, approximately mile marker 18.9 for a very small lot.  It only holds a couple of vehicles and you will find there is a set of stairs going up on the right hand side. You definitely want to go up the stairs. Once you have ascended, the beauty you will behold is transcending! Wailua Valley and the Ko’olau Gap– the home of many distant yet spectacular waterfalls. You can also see the rim of Haleakala’s Crater. Look down the other side for a picturesque view of Ke’anae.

Please note: The gated road in the parking area keeps visitors out of the privately owned valley. There are some adventurers who trespass and hike, though it is highly frowned upon to do so. Plus, you do not want to come face to face with an angry wild hog, their tusks are no joke and they are not friendly like Pumba. But, please do your best to not miss this breathtaking stop and make sure you have your camera ready.

Nahiku Marketplace Hana Maui, Hawaii

Nahiku Marketplace Hana

Nahiku Marketplace

As you travel on and feel your belly rumble for lunch, hold out for the Nahiku Marketplace. Local vendors dish up Thai food, scrumptious tacos, and my personal favorite – the yummiest coconut shrimp on island at the Island Chef stand. There is a vast array of gifts to be found, such as jewelry and unique Maui souvenirs. Inside the coffee shop you will find the most mouth watering Lilikoi (passion fruit) bars and coconut bread – this is the stuff cravings are made of.

Best Advice

I am about to give you some of the best advice ever: call the coffee shop the morning of your journey while you still have cell phone service (808) 248-8800, ask them to hold a few bars and loaves for you and let them know you are on your way. They sell out early in the day and it is a sad, sad day to get there only to find they do not have any left.

Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach, Maui Hawaii

Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach and Hasegawa General Store

Now, fully sated and back on the Road to Hana you are only 6 miles to town. After you visit and play at Waianapanapa (Black Sand Beach) and head into town, the Hasegawa General Store has a mish mash of many things you may have forgotten, want, or need. From cold bottled water and snacks to full on groceries, they also have tools, t-shirts, hats, cool Hana stickers for your car back home, and so much more. Stop in and browse; it supports local economy.

Complete Your Circle Around East Maui

Many visit Hana Bay (in close proximity to Hasegawa’s) and then call it a day. They turn around and head back toward their starting point. If you aren’t staying the night in Hana and it isn’t close to getting dark, I encourage you to continue on and complete your circle around East Maui. Yes, the road can get precariously narrow in places, so please drive safely. It is worth it to witness the raw beauty that is so different from any other part of the island. Be extremely careful in choosing where to plant your feet if you are out to take pictures over cliff side. You might find there is no more but a tiny little bush between you and a very long drop down to the ocean.  Feeling the earth crumble underfoot and realizing you are standing on a precipice is terrifying. Never under estimate the very dangerously disguised beauty of Hawaii!

Kaupo General Store

Kaupo General Store Maui

Kaupo General Store

Other great stops if time permits is a bathroom break at the little roadside Kaupo General Store. The hotdogs there are a yummy treat, too. It is a little bit of a trek from Kaupoto Ulupalakua, and has more than its share of bumps in the road for a good clip; however, it eventually turns into smooth pavement with some pretty fun rollercoaster like hills.  Beware of the cattle guards that can rattle your car like a set of maracas.


Ulupalakua and Maui’s Wine Country

Maui Wine Country

Maui Wine Country

Once you make it to Ulupalakua you are right in the heart of Maui’s Wine Country. I cannot fail to mention having a glass of pineapple wine, it’s crisp, it’s sweet, it is oh so Maui. The Ulupalakua General Store is very paniolo (cowboy) townish, unique and super cool with a wide variety of fixin’s and gifts.

Grandma’s Coffee Shop

Grandma's Coffee House Kula

Grandma’s Coffee House Kula

And lastly, but never to be forgotten is Grandma’s Coffee Shop in Kula where the local coffee says POW, but the relaxed vibe of the place says chill. Serving up healthy choice wraps or downright sinful sweets, Grandma’s is a one of a kind find in world filled with coffee shops. These 3 little tips are especially good if you have decided to make your trek against the flow and start out the Road to Hana on the backside.

It’s always a good idea to do your research and have a few sights you know you don’t want to miss along the road to Hana. Hopefully you can tuck a few of these suggestions in along as you explore.

Stay Safe and Other Advice

Natural Nausea Treatments

Most importantly be safe. While the following information isn’t fun, I feel it is important to mention a few things. I don’t care if you’ve never gotten sick on a carnival ride before or not, every car on the Road to Hana needs to have an anti-nausea arsenal ready!! If bonine makes you drowsy, Down to Earth in Kahului has holistic remedies. Also anything ginger.. ginger ale, ginger candy, etc… Is there anything more horrible than being stuck on a tilt-a-whirl that does not stop for hours? Don’t find out – be prepared!!

Lock Your Car

ALWAYS lock your car, and never leave valuables unattended – even locked trunks are never a guarantee (this unfortunately goes for pretty much anywhere on the islands).

Please Drive with Aloha!

If you see a string of cars behind you pull well off to the side carefully to let them pass. Local vehicles are easy to spot and they really do not want to drive slowly behind you. Let them get around you; if you don’t they will inevitably pass you anyway. Truthfully, it puts both of you at risk for there are very few safe places for passing – the locals do not wait for the safe places.

Check the Weather

It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the Hana weather report for the duration of your stay so you can try and pick the least wet day.  It is the rainforest after all so rain is inevitable. Hard rains or days on end rains are the ones you want to avoid due to risk of mud and rock slides.

Always take along a sweater or lightweight blanket, once the sun goes down travel can be quite chilly! A flashlight and paper towels in the car is a good idea too, and perfect in case you want to destroy that loaf of coconut bread on the way back.

The Road to Hana is a magical place you will never forget. Be safe. Have fun. And enjoy the ride!