Three miles off the coast, the guides hand over the snorkels, and then it's time. Tour members climb down into the floating cage and slip just beneath the water's surface. There they peer through large poly glass windows into the deep blue ocean as swimming shapes, perhaps hazy at first, pull into focus.
When the tour-goers finally glimpse the creatures, it might not exactly be love at first sight, but one thing is for sure: after spending time face-to-face with a Galapagos, sandbar, or tiger shark, they'll leave that protected cage with a whole new appreciation for these carnivores of the deep. That's of the utmost importance to Hawaii Shark Encounters, since the company hopes to turn each person they meet into a "shark ally," an advocate for the animals' global conservation.
Up to 19 passengers sit comfortably on North Shore Catamaran Charters' 40-foot sailing vessel, the Ho?O Nanea, which Captain Don Germain steers along Oahu?s scenic shores. The catamaran?s name means ?to pass the time in ease and comfort,? an apt phrase, as guests will find the day quickly and serenely passes when they?re onboard. North Shore can charter the boat for snorkeling adventures in Waimea Bay or for romantic BYOB sunset sails.
Though he earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California San Diego, Matt Zimmerman decided to pursue his love of the ocean instead of science and move to Oahu. He founded Island Divers Hawaii there as a way to share his enthusiasm for scuba diving as well as the discoveries it can share, from intricate coral to schools of fish locked in a never-ending struggle for tenure. Zimmerman and his knowledgeable staff teach dive courses for curious students and lead boat charters that give divers the chance to test their new skills in pristine waters.
Since 1989, Dolphins and You has worked to foster interspecies understanding in the open seas. The staff members all carry a deep respect and reverence for dolphins, which they impart on visitors who witness these intelligence creatures firsthand on the popular dolphin swim tour. Tours include everything from a traditional Hawaiian ceremony and song to swimming with sea turtles and learning the hula.
Since its founding in 1901, The Hawaii Yacht Club has been considered one of Hawaii's best-kept secrets. That's because its grounds, nestled in the Ala Wait Boat Harbor against the Pacific, provides a wide spectrum of sailing, fishing, class, family, and social activities for its members. The group's territory encompasses a clubhouse, a well-stocked bar, and The Galley—an onsite seafood restaurant that offers spectacular views of boats cruising amongst a sunset backdrop. In addition to affordable libations, live music, and late-night dancing being available up to three evenings per week, the weekly Friday Night Racing Series allows members to closely witness the finish of boat competitions as they pull into the harbor. Patrons may also solicit the space for private parties of up to 200 people.
Going on an excursion with the guides of Hawaii Tour Sites can get you anywhere from ascending the summit of Diamond Head, the Leahi volcanic crater, to snorkeling the depths of Hanauma Bay with turtles and tropical fish. Locally owned since 1997, Hawaii Tour Sites also organizes luaus and dinner cruises on a large catamaran with live music and an island-inspired buffet.