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Kauai Sea Rider Snorkel & Whale Watching Tours
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: At team Sea Riders we pride ourselves in what makes us different from other companies. Kauai Sea Riders has been providing specialized small group Zodiac Eco Tours on Kauai since 2005. As a Marine Biologist, I have always focused on providing Eco Tours to our guests – focusing on education while at the same time having a great time. All of our staff are professionally trained and share the same passion and reverence for this amazing ocean environment we get to play in everyday! We choose snorkel locations that aren’t over crowded or common, and you will have a Divemaster guiding your snorkel adventure ensuring you have an exceptional snorkeling experience. At the end of the day, our goal is to have our customers feel that they have been expertly cared for, had an experience of a lifetime, and have learned something new about the ocean and its incredible inhabitants.
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Regardless of which enterprise you pick for your whale watching excursion, your experience will be influenced by several variables: condition of seas, weather, and whale activity. Our choice of Kauai Sea Riders was primarily based on the credentials of Captain Tara being a marine biologist. We felt that having an experienced and knowledgeable captain/marine biologist leading our tour would guarantee not only a fun outing, but one was we could gain a greater appreciation for humbback whales.

Kauai (and all of us) is still looking for that blend of experience and knowledge.

Our party of four found some positives from our tour:
1) The zodiac was a blast to ride across the ocean. Rougher seas could change that, regardless of the type of watercraft.

2) Listening to the whales communicating was very interesting.

3) Seeing Spinner dolphins by the dozens perform just feet away from our speeding boat was a real treat. A sight to remember for a lifetime.

What we felt like were negatives:
1) Captain Tara, while very likeable and personable, did not live up to our high expectations of having the type of insight one would hope to have from a marine biologist. The lack of technological equipment to assist in the locating/tracking of whales surprised me. (Even guys in the midwest have fish finders on their bass boats.)

2) Knowing that whale sightings were not guaranteed, but having seen blow spouts in the near distance left me feeling a bit disappointed in not seeing any up close and personal. Everyone on the tour were "spotters". And perhaps my inability to spy blow spouts heightened my feeling of inadequacy. But that is also why I went on a tour. I saw just as much from the beach with binoculars, as I did from the boat.

In all honesty, the tour was worth the money. We were just hoping for a huge bargain, but got an expereince for what we had paid.

1  Thank John H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 18, 2013

After reading the awesome reviews on here, we booked this excursion with 12 people in my family. I think my expectations were off the charts for this tour. Here's me thinking that we're going out on this zodiac, Captain Tara would know where the whales hang out, and we go watch them breaching, waving fins at us, maybe swim below the boat. So you need to calm down your expectations a little when thinking about booking this. First, Capt Tara is awesome. Very friendly and knowledgeable and VERY good with kids. My 5 year-old niece was with us and she had a blast. The boat was great, with lots of splashing (you will get wet) and riding the waves. (if you have any back problems, zodiacs aren't your friend, by the way) We zoomed around on the water, looking for whales spouts, fins, backs, and tails. I think we saw a good 5 pods of whales all around, but they were in the distance. There was no "sweet spot" to watch the whales, everyone on the boat just kept an eye

Here's where I was disappointed. Tara keeps her distance from the whales. I completely understand the ecological need for keeping a distance, I agree with it, I think it's necessary but....it deflated the experience. It was more like, "There's a whale tail! (it's 100 yards away, but it's a whale!)" We weren't lucky enough to see any big breaches, but that's just chance. A tail here, a spout there, and the back of the whale occasionally. My wife says she'd give this 3 stars.

But hey. Tara is great. Couldn't be better, and she knows her stuff. Perfect and a LOT of fun for kids. Don't expect the up-close-and-personal whale experience, though. You may get lucky and get a major breach, but it's mostly just looking at a whale tail or 5 and a few spouts.

1  Thank drdave75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

To be blunt my husband, and I chose for our safety to not go on this excursion. The day we were to go out -a bad storm was heading towards the island, a strong wind front was coming through, and the waves were coming in very choppy, and rough (dangerous waters). My husband has been a captain for 15+ years and was quite concerned. Staying at the Hyatt we had concierge call ahead to see if the trip was going to be cancelled-surprisingly it was not. We went down to the harbor and met with Capt. Tara- we voiced our concerns, and she agreed, as well as voiced that she was just as concerned about the weather. We asked about refunds and her response quote "If I'm going out, so are you" ... In short that did not settle well, and blatantly told her no, and that we would book with someone else through the "Hyatt" as soon as she heard that, she was very quick to offer a refund/ reschedule. I'm sure Captain Tara is very knowledgeable with the aquatic wildlife, but in regards to safety, we felt that the financial gain was more heavily weighed, then the safety of her passengers.

8  Thank Natasha5683
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Great time! Tara and Rob made it a lot of fun and made sure everyone was wet! Food they served was great and everyone had a good time. We ran into hundreds of spinner dolphins, running with us at the bow wave and other times coming right at us. Tons of fun. Both are very knowledgeable, personable and professional. Always felt stable and safe. Wish we'd have had time to snorkel with them. Very impressed.

Thank B G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

I am always a wreck geting into the ocean - afraid of whats going to eat me rather than just enjoying all the wonder of the sea. Thanks to Captain Taras patience in explaining everything and then getting into the water and encouraging me to just start looking around Iwas in the water swimming with turtles and fishes before I knew it!!!! Great teacher and patron of the sea

Big thanks from Stephanie

Thank stephbethke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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