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Michael V wrote a review Oct 2018
Saint Louis, Missouri435 contributions80 helpful votes
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The Moku Nui Lava Boat trip was the best thing we did on this trip This is a long review because it was such an amazing lava boat ride. I have organized this into three sections. 1. Short Summary The Moku Nui Lava Boat trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, hosted by an amazing team who focused on safety and showing the beauty of Kilauea and the Fissure 8 lava flow. The Moku Nui Lava Boat trip was the best thing we did on this trip; possibly the most amazing thing we’ve done on any family vacation. Breath-taking Safe Awe-inspiring So amazingly colorful And sunrise over the Pacific next to a two-mile wide lava flow Back in port before breakfast AMAZING! This was by far the most impactful and amazing part of our vacation. Yvette and the entire crew on the boat are fun, helpful and focused on safety. They helped us get the right boat ride and got us across the island to the boat dock, and provided a great sea-based tour of the volcano. 2. Overview of the 2018 lava flows Our next door neighbors visited the Big Island in April (2018) and got us extra excited about our trip. Then, between their trip and ours in July, Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, erupted at a new location... actually several - 20+ fissures opened up and Fissure 8 received much public notice for the sheer amount of lava it released, through a towering eruption, for the speed of its lava flow, for the size of the new land it created, and unfortunately for the homes it destroyed, impacting many lives. A couple weeks before our trip I wondered how we could possibly see the lava flow, expecting to be from far above, on a hillside safe from any lava. And then my wonderful wife and I discovered Moku Nui Lava Boat Tours. While they typically take customers on a smaller craft, the immensity of the 2018 lava flow, spanning some two miles wide and with some very fast-moving lava, and which created more new land on the Big Island than the entire time since Kilauea has erupted since 1983, they expanded to a larger boat that holds closer to 50 passengers. Moku Nui was helpful and informative and safety-focused from planning through the boat ride that Monday morning. And they showed us something amazingly beautiful. As we were staying in Kona, and as they sail from Hilo to the farthest point on the island from Kona, we went to bed early and awoke at 1am to leave so we could be in Kona at 3am for the 4am departure, so we would arrive at the lava flow before sunrise. We were a little tired for the rest of the day and it was so worth it. It took about an hour for the boat to get from Hilo to the lava, but the sky glowed orange the entire ride there. We floated at the lava flow for an hour. And after the hour return we were back in Hilo by 7am, amazed at what we had seen. Approximately four olympic pools of lava were flowing into the Pacific Ocean each minute at the time of our visit, creating much new landmass on the island, creating more new land between May and August than had been created since 1983 until 2018. Sadly some 600 homes have been destroyed, but thankfully nobody has been killed. On our way home we saw a rainbow! For the rest of our trip, we proceeded from the Big Island to Oahu to Kauai. On Kauai we made some crafts at the hotel, including painting some hand bags. Every one of us painted the lava boat on our handbags… the only thing all four of us painted... the event had that much of an impact on us. 3. More about the lava boat ride There were about 50 people on two boats - us and the other two companies were staring a boat. Our boat left first, but we were effectively traveling together. Right after we got out of Hilo Harbor and into the ocean we could see the orange glow off in the distance. We now know we travelled 61 miles on the lava cruise, so we were about 20-25 miles away and we could see a big orange sky... the first we saw was from the Pu’u O’o Crater... the steam cloud almost looked like a tornado, dark in the orange. The ride was a little rough but not bad... every so often the boat slammed down... and every so often we got a little spray on us. Before we left they told us to expect to be as wet as we have ever been, but we were barely sprayed in the face from the wave.... our clothes and feet were completely dry. The colors were amazing. While the ride out had a bit of spray, it was pretty calm, though there were numerous “smacks!” as the boat hit the other side of the water’s troughs… all part of the fun. While floating, the crew pulled in a bucket filled with warm water... 107-degrees warm... like a warm bath... and that was several hundred feet from the lava. On the ride back into harbor the sun was shining through the clouds onto one spot on the beach... the colors were amazing... different shades of blue water, different shades of grey sky, and different shades of green on shore. And then... a rainbow! Glorious! Regarding the photos we posted, please know that all of the clouds are steam, not smoke, from the lava evaporating the ocean water.
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Date of experience: July 2018
1 Helpful vote
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travelank2014 wrote a review Oct 2018
Centreville, Virginia17 contributions5 helpful votes
We went in Aug 2018. We wanted to do the hiking tour but due to lava flowing, it was closed at that time. So we took the boat tour with Moku Nui Lava Tour. They were a pleasure to deal with on phone and answered each question with patience and detail. The ride was rough especially if you are sitting in front. The captain looked very experienced and had mentioned the roughness before. We did the sunrise tour and had to drive in from Kona side. The boat left sharply at 4:00 AM. Due to open seas and boat, there were splashes of water both sides of the trip so dress accordingly. The view of the lava was simply surreal. After seeing the lava eruption you think that the rough boat ride is worth it. The only suggestion I have is if the restroom can be kept in a usable state.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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Eddie E wrote a review Aug 2018
Manchester, United Kingdom37 contributions33 helpful votes
I booked with Yvette from Moku Nui as I got the impression it was a fabulous and friendly firm. I found Yvette very easy to deal with via email. We booked on the 4am trip from Hilo which meant we had to get up at 2.30am. I was in luck as the Captain for the day was Yvette's husband Captain Kanoa. He was very friendly and we chatted before we even boarded the boat. I was with my 4 daughters who were all very excited about this trip. As you go out to see there are times when you have to hold on if you are near the front of the boat but at no time are you in any danger and this just added to the thrill of the ride. I had taken sea sickness pills which helped although some of my daughters who hadn't taken the pills either felt sick or were sick as it is quite choppy. This didn't detract at all from the amazing experience we had. As we approached the volcano in the distance there was a fabulous red glow all the way up the coast. We got extremely near to the lava without ever being in danger. The crew were very knowledgeable and Ekochi gave us a running commentary. Some of the photos we got were spectacular. It is extremely imperative for you to do the night tour as in the day you can't see the red glow at sea level. It was pleasure to deal with Captain Kanoa Yvette and all the crew. They have all been affected by the Volcano but at least this way they are gaining a little from it. Well done to them again.
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Date of experience: July 2018
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jami97 wrote a review Aug 2018
San Diego, California32 contributions13 helpful votes
Ok, first let me say, the crew could not have been nicer and great to be with a local crew, some of which have lost houses in the area due to the lava. The viewing of the lava into the ocean was mind blowing!! Once in a lifetime for sure. The boat ride however was challenging to say the least. Let me first say, that they really do warn you about the rough ride. I consider myself very well travelled, adventure lover and tough. I have been on small dive boats for a week and may other gruelling events and multi day hikes. However this boat ride is gruelling!! please heed the warnings. I needed a mask and snorkel and felt like buckets of salt water were being thrown at me for 1.5 hour boat ride. The ride out is rough rough rough. Take extra seasick meds if you get seasick and then take more!! Do not be fooled into thinking it is not going to be a bad ride. Once again, prepare yourself for the worst boat ride, however the viewing of the lava makes it all worthwhile. Great crew, did their best to show us all the 4 miles of lava reshaping the coastline. Go on the 5pm boat so you can see the laval flowing as the sunsets. Wear swimsuit and take dry clothes for after
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Date of experience: August 2018
2 Helpful votes
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seastef wrote a review Jul 2018
Seattle, Washington49 contributions118 helpful votes
There were a lot of things that weren't as we expected, some of which they correctly explained before we booked. 1) they're combining with 2 other companies on a 39 passenger boat. We chose them because we carefully researched and liked that they used to run a 6 passenger boat and had awesome feedback from that time. But, like I said, they made the boat switch clear before we actually booked. This just meant we had to go back to the other people in our group and make sure the change was okay. 2) the "credit card price" is the credit card price PLUS a surcharge. So, the cash discount is WAAY more generous than what you expect/ the credit card price is higher than you might think. Again, they made this clear before we showed up, but it would make things a lot easier if they were clear so we got our group organized once instead of multiple times. 3) they claim that both sides of the boat have great views and the captain turns the boat to make sure both sides can see. That is just plain UNTRUE. If you are short and don't score a spot on the starboard side, you will have no view at all before sunrise (and why else are you getting up at 2 in the morning?) The captain did finally turn the boat after we made it to the far end of the ocean entry. Infuriatingly, he then spun the boat more quite a few times on the way back, so the folks on starboard still got views when it was finally our turn and wrecked our photos and our ability to observe the lava's behavior and interaction with seawater (of course, like I mentioned well after there was plenty of sunlight, so the photos wouldn't have been great anyway even if we'd held a steady course for longer. I would have liked to have seen the sequence of lava drip forming, lava drip falling, and lava drip hitting the water...3 times he spun the boat when I could have finally gotten to see that) The lava is amazing and if we could have seen it before sunrise, or enjoyed a steady view as the folks on starboard did, indeed it would have been the experience of a lifetime as so many other reviewers said. Unlike the other company's boats, they do not assign seating. They let people who are over 60 pick seats before allowing anyone else to board. Also unlike the other company, they wait for people who were late. Check in was 3:30, but they waited for the people who didn't show.. we pulled away from the dock closer to 4:15 (one of the other company's boats was away before 3:45). Again, we were all getting up to see the lava before sunrise and this delay meant we didn't get down there until well into Civil twilight. For the groups who would have missed the boat, that's nice to have waited, but it really messed up the experience for 33 other people who showed up when told to. A really nice experience for those for whom a bumpy 2+ hours on a boat is an okay thing. If you can score the starboard side (take someone with you over 60 and you'll get one!), I imagine you'll forget the discomfort entirely. I hope spelling out some of the surprises helps others who consider this trip. We were tied up to the pier again before 7:30.
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Date of experience: June 2018
2 Helpful votes
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Response from Yvette J, Owner at Moku Nui Lava Tours
Responded Jul 18, 2018
Aloha and mahalo for your feedback! I’ll address the “Captain turns the boat so both sides have great views” first. I have never guaranteed great views on both sides to anyone. I tell our customers that the Captain tries to give both sides equal viewing, this ultimately depends on the all around conditions that day. The conditions at the flow, as far as winds, tide and seas etc. will make the difference as to what position the Captain can safely and comfortably maneuver the boat. He tries to reach the best stability, so there is minimal rocking and splashing. We do not have assigned seating but we do let the elders and heavy set people board first with the choice of either side but at the rear of the boat, this is a safety precaution. As you know, there are 3 companies who share one vessel with 3 different Captain's. I am not sure which Captain you toured with but all the Captain’s number one priority and concern is safety. I am so sorry you felt unorganized when relaying information to the other party but I do have information clearly stated on our website about the change in vessel, as well as our rates. I also do not hide the fact that this tour is an extreme tour and if you can’t tolerate an open ocean ride, then this tour is not for you. As far as, the “other company’s” you are referring to, there is only one other company who is permitted to do this tour and they board their passengers the same way we do. We are so sorry you were displeased with our tour but we very much appreciate your feedback and will definitely take your concerns to heart. We truly hope you enjoyed the rest of our beautiful island.
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