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.
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.
South Pacific Watersports' expert captains send patrons on thrilling aquatic excursions, promoting both watery amusement and the conservation of Hawaii's delicate oceanic life. Adventurers cling to a rollicking bumper tube with up to three other guests as it skims the wake of Koko Marina tethered to a zooming motorboat or a benevolent plesiosaur's neck. Up to five folks can then clamber aboard a boat to Maunalua Bay, where knowledgeable instructors lead a 20-minute course imparting the basics of standup paddleboarding before turning pupils loose on the tide. Perched atop provided boards, students draw lengthy paddles through the surf while soaking in views of the ocean floor's inhabitants and mermaid sock hops through the bay's crystal-clear waters. The 90-minute outing also doubles as a full-body workout as paddlers buff up arms against rippling waters and clench abs and quads to stabilize their balance.
Hawaiian Parasail has more than three decades of experience hoisting Honolulans and visitors to the heavens from a boat-drawn parachute. Flight-fanciers ages 5 and older can savor views of Diamond Head and Waikiki that are normally reserved for migratory birds and the liberated ghosts of cane toads. Once passengers step from the boarding dock onto the parasail boat, the staff will prep them for their 8–10 minutes of air time by elucidating proper floatation-jacket and harness attire, by briefing them on sailing safety, and by demonstrating hand signals that can be used for communication with the boat team or for making shadow puppets on the bellies of shore-bound sunbathers. When the boat has passed through the harbor channel into the open ocean, the parachute will be unfurled and passengers will be securely clipped into their air carriage.