Checked in at the end of the pier with a staff member right at 6:30. There was orange juice and coffee and some pastries available for people. We signed the consent/release forms and waited around. The weather was OK, not the most ideal condition, a bit breezy and cold, I made a quick decision to pay $10 for wet suit, and it was well worth it! If I planned ahead, then I would have saved $ renting it from Boss Frog for $2.
We were greeted by another staff, then Captain Brad and Kelly, his pretty and helpful first mate. I had never been on a raft boat of this type before and I was surprised how steady and safe it was. It can go fast too. About half way to Molokini, someone spotted whales at a distance. After a few minutes, Captain Brad killed the engine, and we waited... and there they were, a large pod of humpback whales, probably 5-6, swam not far from us. We spent a good amount of time, watching them leisurely swam, just glided parallel with our drift. It was an incredible thing to watch them in their own habitat. I loved it because the raft was small and so close to the water, unlike the big yacht or catamaran that is so high above the water, people would have to scramble to get into a good position to watch. There were only 29 of us, it’s easy for everyone of us to get full unblocked view.
After that, we sped to Molokini, Captain Brad took us to the back side and talked about the crater. Then he went to the front side, Kelly dived in to secured the boat and helped us into the water. I love how she always strives to make people feel at ease. Big props for Kelly! I got into the water, loved the water clarity, but there weren’t many fish. They were pretty, just that in comparison to our kayak and snorkeling trip a couple of days ago in south Lahaina, Molokini‘s fish population is far below what we saw there (not sure exactly where).
Not sure exactly how long we stayed, probably between 30-45 min, we then left for the Turtle Town in the south side. Waves were getting more choppy. We were offered water, juices, a small turkey wrap and chips on our way there.
I wasn’t so sure about getting into the water at Turtle Town because the waves were getting big, but Captain Brad started pointing at the “honu” swimming around the raft, and off we went. And they were there, big, medium, small, one had fishes feeding on its back... swimming so gracefully around the raft. Because of the waves, we were told to stay close to the raft. Once again, I was glad that our group was small. I can’t imagine being told to stay close to the boat with another 100 people! We would be kicking each other fighting for space. Instead, I had the space I needed yet still felt safe because there were people close by (I was a bit scare because of the waves since I’m not a real strong swimmer).
We sped through pretty choppy waves all the way back. But at no time I felt scared or even a hint of seasickness. Captain Brad did a tremendous job handling the raft. Highly recommend this to everyone! Hope they will do well and open more itineraries, maybe to Lana’i!