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Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Phoenix, AZ
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96 posts
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Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Our family will be in Maui in March and we are staying in Kihei. We'd like to do a whale watching trip. I'd prefer to go out of Maalaea or Kihei if possible to save the early-morning drive, and I've read enough previous posts to know we'd probably want a morning trip for the calmer waters.

Trilogy has positive feedback on these boards, but their only Maalaea trip is in the afternoon. Is there another recommended company that does a morning trip somewhere out of South Maui? Our family is 2 adults, 4 kids ages 9-17, none who get seasick. Paying for 6, price is a consideration. But I'd prefer a great experience overall, even if it includes a drive to Lahaina.

Thanks in advance!

Nanaimo, Canada
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1. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Kai Kanani, leaves from in front of the Makena Beach and Golf Resort.

www.kaikanani.com/maui-whale-watching-tours/

Blue Water Rafting is another option, leaving from the Kihei Boat Ramp. It is FAST, and can be hard for people with back problems.

Edited: 09 October 2013, 20:52
Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Also consider Seafire from Kihei boat ramp. Well priced, nice people, safe vessel (also a raft). I've only done their Molokini tour but it was terrific. Captain Don has vast experience in the local waters and his assistant Dana is extremely personable. She had everyone's name memorized before we even left the dock!

I believe their whale watch leaves around 1030 am.

In addition to Joan's caution about rafts & people with back issues, note that there is no 'head' (toilet) on most rafts. There is a public washroom right at the boat ramp though.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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3. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

You can also combine your whale watching with a snorkel trip. 2 for the price of one if you are interested!! There are tons of boats that leave from Maalaea, no need to drive to Lahaina. This link will give you an idea of the different companies.

www.mauiactivities.net/results.lasso…

S.F. Bay Area
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4. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Sorry for bringing up another ghost, but I still can't forgive the Kai Kanani's operators, Makena Boat Partners, for all of the irreparable damage their vessel did to the island's coral -- even after being notified by DAR months earlier, during which time the already relatively vast damaged area actually doubled in size.

Keep in mind that this business had been fined for similar violations previously, and the the company's principal proprietor actually had the gall to dispute the state's contention that the coral was valuable!:

While I realize there is much value in forgiveness, and perhaps some adjudication in the hefty fines the company finally paid after much litigation and dispute, I'll unfortunately never attain a level of comfort required to recommend this business or their tours.

Sorry to chime in against a recommendation, Joan ... takes something pretty personal for me to pop in unexpectedly with all this info, but I'll never forget the incidents that occured in this instance, nor the response(s) from this company that is still doing business on island..

Might be worth the time to drive to Lahaina if you really want that stellar family experience! :)

Alo)(a, NKO

Nanaimo, Canada
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5. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Not a problem NKO. I knew about this history, but I did remember another TA regular using it, and they presented a different perspective to the situation. It is a company I never suggested before, until this TA person wrote about it in their trip report.

I know not to recommend PWF boats!

Phoenix, AZ
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96 posts
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6. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Thanks to all who have chimed in so far. I had already read about PWF ;0 I will have to see if my husband wants the rugged raft experience or a bigger, more stable boat.

NKO, is there an operator you recommend out of Lahaina or elsewhere?

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
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7. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

I always rec a 2-fer over a dedicated Whale Watch because I've seen more whales on sunset sails and snorkel tours then I have on Whale watches...go figure. All the captains know where the whales are and steer for the active groups.

S.F. Bay Area
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8. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

My personal favorite operator is Teralani; however they only leave from Ka'anapali - which adds a few miles in both directions to your journey.

http://www.teralani.net/

Trilogy is also highly recommended, and they leave from the harbor (Lahaina,) Ka'anapali ... as well as Ma'alaea, but the water can be pretty rough outta the latter harbor (I booked a large corporate group on that tour last year & more than a few sadly lost their respective cookies.. ;)

http://sailtrilogy.com/

The Gemini is another highly regarded company, but only does sails outta Ka'anapali..

These are my three faves, though there are a few others folks seem to like - Mama also makes an excellent point/suggestion.. :)

Edited: 10 October 2013, 01:28
washington
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for Maui
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9. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

Funny NKO...Teralani is our family tradition for our yearly sunset sail/whale watch, love those folks!

Milwaukie, Oregon
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10. Re: Family whale watch from South Maui ?

I stay in Maalaea often so prefer to go out from that harbor. Have enjoyed both Quicksilver and Pride of Maui for combo snorkeling and whale watching.

I know most folks on this forum are not fans of PWF, but their early AM whale watch is usually not crowded. If you can handle 6 AM'ish, it's a good, lower cost option. My travel companions did it this past January and had rave reviews of the commentary, the boat, and the # of whales spotted.