Today we met up with Liko Kauai Cruises at the Kikialoa Boat Ramp, just west of Waimea town. This harbor is the closest place to launch a boat to the Napali Coast. The channel is not as big as Port Allen so large boats are not able to utilize it, but Liko Kauai Cruises operates a boat that is just small enough to be able use this conveniently located inlet. As soon as all of the days passengers arrived and checked in near the pavilion we boarded the boat, and were soon motoring out of the harbor.
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Travel Blog #104 - Liko Kauai Cruises, AM Napali Snorkel
Rarely will you find a boat that is so well suited to the excursion that it goes it as the boat that is operated by Liko Kauai Cruises. Their 49 foot catamaran is powered with twin 260hp inboards and the overall design is fairly narrow. This combination allows their boat to be long enough to really smooth out the rough seas, have powerful engines enough to cut through the swells, and a narrow enough profile to still be able to make it into the “open ceiling cave” like the smaller zodiac rafts.
The boat was very well powered and got us up to speed in no time. Bench seats were mounted in rows from the front back to just past the middle of the boat. This configuration offered seating with great views, but little protection from the splashes that occasionally came up over the bow. It all added to the thrill of the ride and it wasn't long before the Captain was throttling his motors back down so we could get a better look at a passing pod of dolphins.
We spotted the dolphins from a ways off from the splashes they made as they jumped around. As we got closer we could see that the pod was made up of a considerable amount of dolphins. At one point in time they were swimming off the front and both sides of the boat. There was plenty of room for everyone to stand by the rails and admire the dolphins swimming right next to the boat. We stayed with the dolphins for a while before we continued to make our way towards the cliffs of the Napali Coast.
As we got closer and closer to the cliffs the continued to grow until they were towering for thousands of feet above our heads. We stayed in close to the shore and toured up the coast all the way to the mouth of the Kalalau Valley. On the way we saw waterfalls that came down off the cliffs, beaches that went through natural tunnels and sea caves nestled in to the bottom of the more then 3000 foot tall faces of rock. The sea was flat enough that we could even explore one of the more well known caves along the coastline, the "open ceiling cave".
The "open ceiling cave" was created from a giant sea cave that's roof collapsed in on itself, creating a massive skylight in the ceiling. This boat was able to navigate into the cave so we could get a better view. I was very impressed by the Captains skill at handling the boat in such a tight situation. After we finished checking out the cave we made our way back to the smoother waters of the southern side of the coast to eat lunch and visit the captains favorite snorkel spot.
As soon as we got into the water I spotted a turtle that was swimming near the surface I got some good pictures of it before we moved on to see what else we could see. I saw some large Parrotfish (Uhu) as well as some smaller Snowflake Eel (Puhi). We continued to swim around until we worked up an appetite and then made our way back to the boat where we ate some sandwiches and enjoyed the warm sun that had finally peaked out from behind the clouds. We definitely enjoyed our morning with Liko Kauai Cruises. On the way home I couldn't help but think about how perfect this boat would be for some of my family members that are just a bit too fragile for the small zodiacs, but would really appreciate being able to go inside the cave.
Read the previous article: Tom Barefoot's Travel Blog #103 - Sunshine Helicopters, Princeville Helicopter Flight
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