Sometimes, when you're facing hardship, the best way to clear your head is an outdoor adventure. That bit of wisdom is at the heart of every tour at On The Rocks Adventures. Run by combat veterans, the non-profit tour company helps visitors to Oahu get in touch with the island's natural beauty through hikes, cruises, and sailing expedition. These outings aren't just limited to vacationers; the company's guides also work with fellow vets, at-risk youth, and families facing hardship to boost self-confidence and team-building skills throughout outdoor adventure. Read on to learn more:
Tours: The tours at On The Rocks Adventures take guests to nearly every corner of Hawaii's third-largest island. You might snake across the picturesque Koʻolau Range during a group hike, sail the waters off of Waikiki, snorkel with dolphins, or even ascend some of the island's signature rock features.
Expeditions: On The Rocks's team-building expeditions help groups of all ages build their interpersonal skills while challenging themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. They've tailor each one to meet the needs of specific groups, making sure that everyone from middle schoolers to adults can triumph over age-appropriate challenges.
Giving back: As part of their commitment to their fellow veterans, the guides at On The Rocks Adventures use the proceeds from their paid tours to offer free expeditions and wilderness courses for eligible service members and vets.
On his webpage, iDcard CEO Shawn Dohmen explains that his title stands for "Cheap Executive Officer"—a joke that references his fondness for finding deals on everything from restaurant tabs to golf games. Shawn's knack for saving money spawned the idea for his company, which provides discounts on goods and services from hundreds of businesses in Hawaii and elsewhere. It was his desire to save trees, however, which led to the iDcard. Instead of carting around a cumbersome coupon book in a baby stroller, customers redeem their deals by handing their iDcards to the many merchants that accept them.
Participating businesses in the iDcard network include restaurants, hotels, gyms, nightclubs, and pet groomers. Customers can show their card to sponsors over multiple visits, and receive the same discounted massage or meal each time. A downloadable phone app even alerts them to valid sponsors nearby, allowing them to easily locate opportunities for savings.
With more than 22 years of experience as a professional surfer and parasailer, Greg Longnecker knows how to master unruly waves and harness coastal winds. He shares his adrenaline-charged experiences with clients with the aid of USCG-certified crews at X-Treme Parasail. They lead many of their ocean voyages aboard the Honolulu Screamer, a vibrant water-propelled jet boat powered by twin C-12 engines.
The vessel cuts through coastal waves at up to 40 miles per hour as musical beats pump from its 20-speaker sound system, just below the decibel range of Poseidon's hearing. Greg and his captains alternatively provide tours up the Waikiki coastline, as well as jet-ski training and parasailing tours, which can send customers soaring up to 850 feet above the water's surface. On most excursions, participants may lay their eyes on Diamond Head and the Ko'olau Mountains, or turn seaward to gloat obnoxiously at green sea turtles and spinner dolphins.
In the Hawaiian language, "manu kai" translates to "sea bird." The USCG-certified Manu Kai catamaran certainly lives up to that billing: it whisks passengers off on seven distinct sailing adventures, including snorkeling in Turtle Canyon, Friday-night fireworks cruises, and sea-life tours highlighted by cameos from dolphins and other creatures. Read on to learn more about the Manu Kai:
Year built: 1986
Size: 43 feet long, 22 feet wide
Its favorite pre-sail meal: peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Extras: two bathrooms, a full-service bar, a surround-sound system, and custom lounging nets
Capacity: It can accommodate up to 49 people.
Location: on Waikiki Beach between the Moana Surfrider and Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki's two oldest hotels
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.
Though they both prize the feeling of wind in their sails, there's no way that 15th-century mariners ever had as much fun as the crew of Maita'i Catamaran. Maita'i's leisurely voyages begin from Waikiki Beach, where passengers board the 44-foot, twin-hulled catamaran before breezes catch the specially designed wing mast and carry the boat out onto the water. As the vessel glides across the crystalline waves, the gregarious crew invites guests to relax with beer, champagne, or mai tais as they soak in the sun and sea breezes to a soundtrack of catchy island melodies. For slightly more immersive oceanic experiences, Maita'i Catamaran also leads snorkeling excursions where passengers can swim amid butterflyfish and parrotfish and challenge humuhumunukunukuapua'a fish to spelling contests.