Holoholo – to go out, especially for a ride of leisure. And that’s exactly what we did on our 25th anniversary when we went for a sunset dinner cruise with Holoholo Charters. There are several very good and reputable businesses offering snorkeling, whale watching and sunset dinner cruises. We took the advice from the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook and booked our dinner cruise with Holoholo Charters. And we were not disappointed. Click the images to view larger.
The cruise itinerary called for us to leave Port Allen at 3:00pm and take a leisurely cruise west and north along the Na Pali coast. Ever since I took the helicopter tour of Kauai 5 years ago (something I highly recommend) and saw the Na Pali coast from the air, I wanted to take a cruise in the late afternoon to capture some stunning images of the beautiful and rugged coastline. The sheer cliffs of the Na Pali coast are only reachable by foot and by boat. There are no roads on the west side of Kauai. In fact, there is nothing on the west side of Kauai except for beautiful scenery and abundant sea life. So I was anxiously looking forward to the cruise for both the photography aspect and hopefully to see some humpback whales and spinner dolphins up close.
Faith enjoying the beautiful sunshine on our 25th anniversary.
Unfortunately the weather conspired against us and the swells on the west side of Kauai were simply too big for a dinner cruise on a catamaran. When the captain told the group that we would take an alternate route along the southern coast of Kauai, he assured us that no one, not even he and the crew, would enjoy going out on the west side. It was simply too windy and rough over there. Everyone was given the opportunity to get their money back if they didn’t want to take the alternate route. Surprisingly, Faith still wanted to go even though earlier in the day she was questioning the wisdom of taking a dinner cruise on such a blustery day.
So we headed out to the boat and out to sea. The scenery along the way was quite beautiful. We cruised right off the coast of where we were staying. Our building is the single-story building in the center. Our condo was the second one from the left.
Our condo at Kiahuna Plantation.
Although it was rough and windy even on the southern coast, I was still able to capture a nice image of Faith on the boat with the charter name in the frame. This will be one we’ll enjoy in the future as we look back on the trip.
Faith on the Holohol Charter sunset dinner cruise.
The captain announced that some spinner dolphins were off the starboard bow. I never did see them, but others did. We did get some fantastic opportunities to see humpback whales breaching and cavorting in the surf. We even got to witness a young calf, just born this winter, breaching and getting some exercise before he begins the long commute back to Alaska for the summer. This is my best shot of a whale breach. The water was very rough and you just couldn’t predict where the next breach would occur. We had seen breaches from our condo, so it seemed to me that on a calm day the opportunities for photos would have been much better.
Humpback whale breaching.
There is some absolutely stunning scenery on the southern coast between Poipu and Nawiliwili bay.
Kauai’s southern coast.
Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, around 4 million years old. The volcanoes on Kauai haven’t been active for millions of years and the island is now only a fraction of it’s original size. Erosion from wind, rain and the pounding surf have caused a good portion of the island to be whittled away and disappear into the Pacific Ocean. Those forces of nature have exposed old lava tubes and beautiful rock formations. The thin vertical lines in this image represent fissures from the original volcanic eruptions that later filled with lava. You can also see the different layers of lava and ash that accumulated over the life of the volcano. I think I would really enjoy the opportunity to study the geology of this island and learn more about its history. I wish I had paid more attention to my geology class in college.
Kauai’s history in its geology.
The occasional sea bird passed by the boat during our cruise. I did manage to get a somewhat decent image of a brown booby from the ever-rocking boat.
At one point the captain took us to a secluded cove where there was a house just off the beach. We learned that the house was part of the Kipu Ranch which is the largest privately owned parcel of land on the island. The house is only accessible by a private dirt road or by boat. The Kipu ranch was one of the locations where the movie The Descendants was filmed. The beaches in Hawaii are all public, so you can bring your boat right up to any beach and get out and explore. We saw a woman walking the beach doing some beach combing with her boat anchored just off the beach around a rock outcropping. It was an idyllic scene that really spoke to me. The tranquility of living in that house with the outstanding view just seemed like a wonderful opportunity. I could picture an author or artist living there and working on a book or painting.
You might be wondering about the food on this cruise and I can tell you this: You don’t take this cruise for the dinner. The food was good, but it wasn’t anything special. What WAS special was the voyage, the marine life, the beautiful scenery and spending the afternoon and evening with Faith. Of course the free Mai Tais, beer and other beverages helped as well. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat even if they only served drinks and a light snack. There are plenty of great places to eat on Kauai, but a cruise like this is all about the journey, not the cuisine.
Sunset Dinner Cruise
Oh, I guess I should say a little something about the sunset. We were just minutes from the dock when the captain pulled into a small cove and waited for the sun to set. As we waited, the crew would take pictures of the couples on the boat with the setting sun in the background. As Faith would say, it was a picture perfect sunset. That means there were no clouds and a big orange ball just above the water. With all that light directly behind everyone, most people only got silhouette images of themselves with the setting sun. Note to self: Next time bring a flash!!
The ride home was a lot of fun for Faith. She had grown quite comfortable on the way out with the strong wind and waves, so on the way back, she took full advantage of riding the swells as the boat headed back to the harbor. She stood inside the cabin looking out and hung on as the boat went up and down over and over again like a roller coaster. She was like a kid again. I doubt she’ll ever forget that memory!