For 29 years, The Watercraft Connection has been helping locals and tourists alike explore the waters of Oahu. The family behind the business sends guests into a harbor nestled in the historic surf town of Haleiwa. There, folks board jet skis, ocean kayaks, or chartered boats and head out to explore the beaches of nearby Ali'i Beach, Puaena Point, or Anahulu river.
Getting a close look at local flora and fauna is a big part of these expeditions. Customers can glimpse green sea turtles and wild peacocks while kayaking down the Anahulu, or spot dolphins and whales while lounging on chartered cruises. Diving and snorkeling trips offer a deeper perspective on coral reefs, sea creatures, and the pirates who evolved gills sometime in the 1700s.
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.
One hundred feet beneath the surface of Maunalua Bay, the Corsair⎯a World War II airplane—rests on a sandy floor. Its massive shell and magnetism for schools of soldier fish lures deep-sea explorers to the site every year. As divers propel themselves alongside the plane's wing and fuselage, they get an up-close look at the wreck's current residents, which range from colorful goatfish to reclusive moray eels.
With more than 30 years of experience, the scuba instructors at Waikiki Diving Center lead daily dives for certified divers to submerged sites such as the Cosair wreck. Earning a five-star Instructor Development Center designation from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the center's team coordinates parties of 12–14 people and takes them out on one of two customized dive boats—The Submariner or Snoopy V—for adventures ranging from snuggling sea turtles to earning PADI open-water certifications. To enhance visitors' experiences, Waikiki Diving Center's crew arranges complimentary shuttle service to and from Waikiki hotels.
Founded with the goal of curating unique island adventures that promote up-close encounters with local wildlife, Island Water Sports Hawaii facilitates humans’ return to nature with intimate tours and activities. Working out of the Hawaii Kai Marina, Island Water Sports’ passionate staff of boat captains ferries guests out into Maunalua Bay to partake in aquatic adventures including snorkeling. The company’s signature eco-friendly submarine scooters secure riders' heads in clear, bubble-like helmets that draw on the principles of diving bells to safely seal air inside and keep faces dry, comfortable, and breathing easily throughout underwater tours. On boat tours, the balmy sea air tussles the manes of Island Watersports’ skippers as they point out awe-inspiring vistas and wildlife such as humpback whales that migrate to Hawaii from Alaska to nurse, mate, and take their sundresses out of storage.
Aboard a 170'x50' catamaran, dinner cruisers with Ali'i Kai taste piquant Polynesian dishes while watching traditional tribal dance in front of a stunning ocean sunset. During the two-hour dinner cruise (up to a $79/person value), complete with a lei and an additional alcoholic beverage (a $12 value), palates can experience new island flavors with buffet items such as the spicy pipikaula salad, pulehu cilantro-lime-marinated beef, or the mango-pineapple-teriyaki-glazed chicken. Vegetarians who call or skywrite their preferences in ahead of time can nibble on a specially made meat-free meal.