Bravo – that was six nautical hours extremely well spent.
On fabled 2/22/22, instead of playing Wordle or making strudel, I hitched a ride with Teralani Sailing Adventures for its twice-weekly Lanai Snorkel Adventure that putters over to the Pineapple Island. The luxury catamaran was at capacity (49) and the crew was lean and mask-free. Snorkeling was the centerpiece of this sweet ride, but holy smokes, there was way way way more stunning sights and scenery ahead to soak in.
We beach boardedTeralani 4at 8:30 AM amid warm sunny skies. No jackets or slippers needed. Climb aboard, find a seat, stow your carry-on gear, and let Captain Rick get this party pointed to the 140.5-square-mile island basically owned by bazillionaire Larry Ellison.
From the sandy shores of Kaanapali Beach it’s about a 13-mile nautical ride across the Au’Au Channel to our first snorkeling drop between the Manele and Hulopoe Bays of Lanai’s southern coastline. The slow-and-steady sail was a whale-watchers delight, or as the Captain confessed, we were “dodging whales” and loving Mother Nature’s bodacious bounty. Humpback mamas and their calves and feisty males battling for the mating rights to the next generation. Romeo and Juliet on the high seas – coming this summer to Netflix.
As guests geared up for our first 45-minute snorkeling experience, one landmark and one anchor-down display stood out. First was Pu’u Pehe or “Sweetheart Rock” – a picturesque sea stack that looks like a “tooth is missing” and recalls Hawaiian folklore about love and loss (Google it). The second was pure luck – on our starboard side a school of spinner dolphins appeared and frolicked freely and unfazed by our presence.
The ocean was warm and inviting and our throng thrashed about looking for sea creatures and familiar crustaceans (we were not in crab/lobster territory). I was struck by the sun’s rays and how they penetrated the water down to the not-too-deep coral bottom. All the fish seemed fluorescent and the coral grayish. Is that normal? No matter. Let’s dry off and eat.
As we began our journey back to West Maui lunch was served and the bar was open. Onboard was a professional photographer and during this down time he was shopping his underwater shots to guests who wanted to take water-world memories back to the mainland.
Our second snorkeling stop was at Mala Wharf near Lahaina Harbor. Star attractions were an artificial reef (pilings from an old dock scattered across the ocean floor) and the promise of an abundance of green seas turtles (honu). Promise delivered. Bobbing turtle heads and shells visible from the deck led to a frenzied boat exodus of overzealous explorers. I followed several honu as they majestically sliced through the calm depths. Others later claimed seeing moray eels and a reef shark.
After that second 45-minute swim I could feel it in my shoulders. Water aerobics with a turtle twist. The short trek back to our sandy dock was quiet and reflective. Land ho and sand between our toes at 2:30 PM. Right on time. Teralani 4 delivered a 5-Star family-friendly snorkeling adventure.
Observational Aside – just about every guest used their smartphone to take photos or shoot videos and then, by golly, put down these devices! Amazing! Shocking! Unbelievable?! Didn’t really see anyone, except one young fella of high school age, who was constantly scrolling and glued to their screen. It was a maritime miracle! Paradise won. Seas the day. Mahalo.