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Fun in Paradise Special
Fun in the Water
Kauai Fun in Paradise
Fun in the Air
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Fun in the Water
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Splashing in Paradise
Fun in the Water
A trip to the Garden Island is not complete without some time spent in, on, or under the water. The Pacific Ocean's turquoise waters surrounding the island and Kauai's sparkling clear inland streams and rivers beckon whale watchers, anglers, boaters, divers, surfers, and other water sport lovers. The dilemma may be what to dive into first.
A whale-watching ocean tour is an intimate way to experience the awesome Humpback Whale and enjoy the variety of Kauai's beautiful landscapes from an offisland perspective. Every fall, Humpback Whales leave their Alaskan feeding grounds to journey to the waters of the Hawaiian Islands to sojourn for the winter, mate, birth, and nurse their young. (Whales think that Hawaii is romantic, too!) Whale-watching cruises give you an up-close and personal encounter with these magnificent mammals from about November to March, when Humpbacks are most prevalent.
You can choose to whale-watch from aboard catamarans, zippy rubber zodiac rafts, cruise vessels, and sail boats. Some tour companies offer dual-powered (motorized and sailing) catamarans for snorkeling, whale watching, and sunset cruises. Some provide the more extreme rigid-hull zodiac inflatables.
Be sure to bring a camera. A waterproof disposable camera is a good idea, as well as a towel and an extra set of dry clothes, because you will get wet. Binoculars will help with closer observation of whale activity. For best viewing with binoculars, use 8x40 or 7x50 magnification. If you don't have sea legs, consider taking nonprescription or homeopathic motion sickness prevention medication before getting on any ocean craft. Hawaii winter wave swells can be immense and the sea ride can get quite bouncy.
Whales abound in the waters all around Kauai, putting on a show with playful behavior such as fin slapping, lobtailing (slapping the tail fluke), and breaching (jumping out of the water). Don't be surprised to see a school of Spinner dolphins, traveling in parallel pairs along your tour boat, rhythmically leaping out of the sea. Baby dolphins flip themselves into the air with abandon alongside their parents. You may also spot albatross and Boobies (birds which nest and hatch in the caves of the Na Pali cliffs).
Are you ready to dip your paddle in clear fresh water fed by sparkling waterfalls? Or would you rather explore sea caves, cliffs, and waterfalls and then snorkel in a secluded bay or lagoon amid tropical fish? Or both? Then a kayaking tour is the perfect activity for you.
Millions of years of erosion and weathering have created more plains and rivers on Kauai than on any other Hawaiian island. Kauai's six rivers are the only navigable rivers in Hawaii: Waimea; Hanapepe; Huleia; Wailua; Kalihiwai; and Hanalei. Via river kayaking, you can discover tropical rainforests, woods, and swampy jungles amidst a profusion of colorful flowers and butterflies.
Most kayak tour operators offer waterfalls tours combining a perfect blend of paddling, hiking, swimming, and picnicking at places like Secret Falls up the Wailua River.
snorkeling, diving, tubing, and swimming
Beneath the kayaks' paddles, the surfboards' swooshing fins, and the touring catamarans' bouncing pontoons, lives a cool, quiet blue world that belongs to Kauai's abundant sea life. Diving and snorkeling tour operators provide instructions on how to use their equipment and even how to get great photographs and videos of your sea adventures. Some of the best snorkeling locations are: Koloa Landing; Lawai Beach; Poipu Beach Park; Lydgate Park; Tunnels Beach; and Kee Beach. Grab a snorkel, mask, and flippers for an afternoon, and enter Kauai's enchanted underwater world.
"Tubing" is a unique experience. Plan to get wet. Tubing takes you on a guided tour through jungles and tunnels using former sugar plantation irrigation waterways while you "float on air," relaxed on an inner tube. Tubing is an effortless way to tour some of the island's otherwise inaccessible areas.