I got to the shop a little early and Captain Chris explained a couple reasons clients return to his company year after year. First he told me all about his boat. It is a 30ft boat that smoothes out the trade wind swell very efficiently (compared to the other boats Chris has previously owned). The boat was manufactured by Zodiac, and has a inflatable surround attached to a rigid hull. This hull design has been proven to be a reliable design over the years by Captain Chris as well as many others. The Coast Guard as well as other branches of the military have used variations of Chris’s Zodiac for many years. Bolted onto the back of the hull were twin 250 outboards that provided plenty power for us to speed up the coast. After we went over the boat Captain Chris began telling me about the photography element of his tour, which is handled by his crewmember Erik.
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Travel Blog #98 - The Caves Of Napali With Napali Riders
Yesterday we took advantage of the flat summer ocean conditions on the North and West sides of Kauai and scheduled a trip up the Napali Coast with Captain Chris and the Napali Riders.
They Offer Professional Underwater Photograpy
Erik is the only crewmember that Captain Chris has. Erik is the snorkel instructor, he serves the food and the drinks, and he takes the pictures. When I say take pictures I want to preface that by mentioning that the entire check in area was actually an art gallery that was filled with high quality prints of Eriks pictures from the Napali Riders Trips. Between Chris and Erik they have collected over half a million shots so far and are planning on coming out with a series of photo books detailing various adventures they’ve had in the 15+ years they’ve been in operation. Erik was using professional level Cannon L-series camera gear and offered picture CD’s at the end of the tour for around $40, I thought it was a bargain.
After check in we got back into our cars and drove about a mile and a half down to the harbor. Chris was already there getting the boat into the water so we could get underway.
Once we were on the boat I was pleased to find that the seats on the side had an extra layer of thick foam padding on them to make the ride more comfortable. As soon as we were out of the harbor Chris throttled the boat and we began our speedy cruise down the coast looking for dolphins.
It did not take long for us to find a pod of dolphins that were swimming around in front of the military base. We slowed the boat and spent about 10 minutes taking pictures and just experiencing the presence of the dolphins at such close quarters, it was amazing.
After our dolphin encounter we continued up the coastline and when we got to cliffs the pace of the tour slowed down and Chris began to explain some facts and tell some stories about the areas that we were passing. We hugged the coastline and got into pretty much all of the sea caves that we passed. We went into a cave that opened into a big room that had a giant skylight (which was amazing). My favorite cave was one that we went to that was very far up the coastline almost to Hanakapiai Beach. This cave had a waterfall flowing through the ceiling at the entrance. Then we passed the waterfall and right when it was getting pitch black we began to see light coming in through a completely different entrance. Chris called this was the “Two Entrance Cave” because of its U shape with two points of entry. After we got in sight of Ke’e Beach off shore of Hanakapiai we turned around and began to make our way back down the coastline to find a good place to snorkel.
When we arrived to our snorkel destination we jumped in to find the ground littered with giant boulders. Swimming between these boulders were large schools of fish, as well as many other marine creatures.
The trip with Captain Chris was great; it was a bit of a bumpy ride and is not something I would recommend for anyone that is pregnant or has and medical issues. However, if you’re looking for a trip on a fast boat and want to be right in the middle of the action, as close to everything as possible…..Then you might want to consider Captain Chris and the Napali Riders.
Read the previous article: Tom Barefoot's Travel Blog #97 - The Sheraton Caverns with Seasport Divers
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