My boyfriend Ben and I chartered the Kainani for a six night sail on our trip to Hawaii. We spent two nights off Maui, sailed to Molokai, spent an evening, then visited the back of Lanai for two wonderful nights with a final evening spent on the southern tip near Manele Bay. It was a well planned trip that began and ended with beaches, with amazing views of remote and beautiful western Lanai, its fishing and tide pools, its austere lava formations, sandwiched in the middle, and wonderful snorkeling throughout.
Keao ("Kay-Ow") and Iwa (I believe it's pronounced "Eva" but god bless her I said it both ways all trip and she never corrected me once) are excellent hosts. They greeted us with big smiles when they came to pick us up (and our ridiculous amount of luggage) in the zodiac, then offered to follow Ben to the rental car return so he didn't have to take the shuttle. We had communicated well about the meal plan and that we were to bring our own drinks/snacks so there was no need to do a grocery trip. We started off instead with some excellent snorkeling right there at Mala Wharf.
The next morning, after breakfast, Keao went over the boat's safety procedures and some sailing basics. We spent the evening in a bay near Kapalua (NW Maui). Again, excellent snorkeling. Unfortunately this is when Ben and I started to show signs of a cold. We proceeded to get truly sick over the next two days (I made a netti pot out of foil, I was that desperate). Keao and Iwa didn't even flinch. You have to understand, as spacious as the Kainani is, they were still in a confined space with two coughing, sniveling, nose-blowing, germ-balls. And yet I never felt any apprehension from them, only genuine concern. They even made us grilled cheese and tomato soup (and lots and lots of tea)! We couldn't have been in better care.
Thankfully we still managed to capture footage of a 3 foot eel slipping from one tidal pool to another, swim with wild sea turtles and dolphins, learn how to make spring rolls, see a 10 point buck, catch and eat both an Ahi and an Ono, kayak to a private cove, learn a new card game, explore a sea cave, eat Opihi (a Hawaiian shellfish) straight of the rocks, and most importantly, made new friends.
I can't stress enough what wonderful people Keao and Iwa are. I admit I read a negative review here on Tripadvisor and was a little apprehensive before we met them (I thought the reviewer came off as a little high maintenance, but you never know). From the moment I saw their big smiles as they came across the wharf to pick us up, I knew we were in for a good time. They may be young, but they handled both boat and service with a practiced ease. We very much enjoyed helping them sail (we even got to steer across one of the channels), but we never felt like we were needed. We had complete confidence in Keao as our captain, and Iwa, though she may be named after a seabird, is a little fish! The food was delicious the entire trip; some mornings or afternoons we'd keep things simple (like fresh yogurt with fruit and granola or sandwiches) but that's how we liked it. We could have had anything we wanted. Most of the time, Iwa was marinating meats or whipping up fluffy pancakes or making breakfast burritos or preparing any fresh fish we managed to catch. Both Ben and I work in the service industry and are great lovers of food. We felt comfortable and content, happy and well fed the entire trip.
Our sail on the Kainani was truly magical. It could have been a rough situation for everyone but we had a wonderful time. Only in the days following our sail did we really come the appreciate the majesty of the Hawaii we experienced; I think we're still coming to fully appreciate it.
We hardily recommend Kainani sails to anyone with an adventurous heart. Anyone who has been on a boat will understand but for those who haven't: Boating is not too different from RV'ing. The (freshwater! woohoo!) showers are a handheld nozzle in the corner of the bathroom and the range is run off propane. That said, the Kainani is far nicer than any RV I've ever stayed in. The beds are spacious and there is wood panelling everywhere. There's plenty of room to get away for a private read on the bow or a friendly card game below deck. Not to mention the gorgeous view from the portholes! Best sunsets ever!! It's like a free pass to anywhere. A singular experience. Ben and I are already planning our next sail on the Kainani.
If you own or manage Kainani Sails Day Tours, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.