A Kaua’i sail can be tough on land lubbers, but whales are worth itWednesday, March 23, 2011
For the feint of stomach, March is not the best time to climb aboard a boat for a sail around the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i.
During the month of March, the winds blow extra hard, churning the water into a nausea-inducing frenzy, said Captain Kawika Kilar of the Southern Star. Add the tsunami that hit Japan and continues to reverberate through the Pacific Ocean and things are even choppier than usual this March.
Despite the high winds and bumpy seas, a boatful of tourists headed out on March 22 in the hope of snorkeling with the fish that swim in the tropical waters and getting a close-up view of Kaua'i's famed Napali Coast.
We didn't spend any time in the water and we didnh't get too close to the Napali Coast. That's because the landlubbers on board where having a tough time with the bouncy ride. By the time we were one hour into our five hour sail, there was a line of sick passengers barfing off the back of the boat, who had paid $159 for adults and $109 for kids ages 2-12. The price includes a continental breakfast and a cooked-to-order lunch, although that amenity was lost on many of the passengers.
Those of us who aren't susceptible to sea sickness were in the front of 65-foot $2 million Southern Star catamaran, enamored with sea turtles that floated nearby and the cute dolphins that jumped out of the water to spin in the air before splashing back down.
But the highlight of the day were the majestic whales that surfaced near the bow of the yacht to blow their water spouts and show their tails as they dived deep in search of cooler waters. One whale treated us to a leisurely swim alongside the yacht that lasted for more than 15 minutes.
In all, we saw a dozen whales-enough to impress the heck out of me-but it was not a great whale watching day, Kilar said. That's because late March is the end of whale season in Hawaii. The great mammals will soon be heading off on the 3,000-mile journey back to Alaska, where they spend their summers.
The best time for whale watching? January through early March. The best time for a smoother ride on the ocean around Kaua'i? The summer months, Kilar said.