Just took Ocean Riders' Lana'i Circle Trip on Saturday, May 23. I have probably done about a dozen similar types of trips throught the islands, but I'd rate this probably the best. First, the boat takes a MAXIMUM of 18 people and we were lucky enough to have only 10 that day. That means individualized and personal attention from Chad, the fearless Captain and Patty his terrific right hand woman. They both went out of their way to provide the best experience possible.
We snorkeled at three separate spots and all were good, though the third was amazing - like swimming in an aquarium! We had the amazing good fortune to see a humpback whale, flying fish, manta rays, and an amazing pod of 50or more spinner dolphins, and Chad was so willing to stop and explore and allow us to get photos. (Other trip operators I've been with basically say, "OK, time to move on!") At one snorkel site, Patty tossed some bread crumbs into the water to attract the fish and give us an amazing up-close experience with dozens of fish. She also dove down to the bottom to retrieve an octupus to show us, and gave very informative talks about things we were seeing. At one point I foolishly didn't hang onto my cap, and it flew off. I was not even going to say anything, but Patty saw me looking behind the boat and as soon as she learned what happened, she said something to Chad and he pulled the fastest 180 degree turn and retrieved my cap for me, graciously making me feel at ease and not embarrassed. On many trips, I have found that boat crews can be impersonal or even condescending, and Chad and Patty's approach was just the opposite. By the end of the day they felt like new friends.
The snorkel equipment they provided was excellent - the first time I've ever had a mask on one of these trips that didn't leak even ONCE! They also served a delicious deli lunch - go for the tuna! My ONLY "complaint" that would make me rate them only a 9.5 instead of a 10 would be that some muffins or coffee cake at the breakfast would have been great, and that they should replace the candy bars at lunch with some chocolate chip cookies... (OK, I am a foodie!)
Thank you Chad and Patty for a day I'll remember for a long time to come. You're the best!
San Francisco, CA
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