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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Maher

Snorkel Adventure with Gemini Sailing Charters

Updated: Feb 16

 


Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions

“There is a spout in the distance! Look on your left!” Chad was pointing at my 11’o clock. I could see a mist of air shoot up from the ocean maybe 400 meters away. We were sailing with Gemini Sailing Charters on their Gemini Catamaran heading north toward Honolua Bay. Honolua Bay is well-known by locals and travelers alike as being one of the most calm, pristine places to snorkel and surf.


Everyone pointed and took pictures as the tail of a humpback whale lifted out of the ocean. The peak of whale season is from December to March, and February is the best time for whale watching. We were sailing through the Au’au Channel, one of the most protected areas of ocean in Hawaii. The channel lies between Lanai and Maui and protected by Moloka’i to the north and Kaho’olawe to the south. Thousands of humpback whales travel 3,500 miles from Alaska to mate and give birth within the Au’au Channel.


The Gemini was heading against the wind and rocked over the white capped waves. I held on to my hat as the wind blew forcefully. I felt the splash of the ocean as I sat just outside the front of the cabin on the deck. It felt so freeing to be out in the ocean again. It is just what Chad and I needed. On board, the cabin felt very spacious and clean. Our guides were very informative and helpful. There was even a photographer on board taking everyone’s pictures! Chloe is an amazing photographer. She captured some epic underwater photos of us! I felt like a mermaid!



Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions



Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions




Gemini Sailing Charters provides excellent snorkeling, whale watching and also sunset tours that you just got to do! Gemini embarks from Ka’anapali, one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S! Ka'anapali is known for its huge stretch of beach and luxury resorts and the famed “Black Rock,” a cliff diving spot for thrill seekers. The Gemini picks up right in front of The Westin Resort, which is just next to the famous Whalers Village, a beautiful, high-end outdoor shopping center.




Sailing north along the channel, we passed by Napili and Kapalua Bay. My favorite viewpoint is along the coastal trail just past Kapalua Bay. I often sit atop the smooth rocks within the lava field and gaze at the 360-degree view. From there, I can see across the ocean to Molokai and a view of the expansive mountains of West Maui. Every time I go to that viewpoint, I feel grounded. Within that area is also protected Wedge Tail Shearwater Bird Sanctuary. The cute white birds can be seen nesting within the tall grasses and coastal shrubs.

 

Further north is DT Flemming beach, the beach right next to The Ritz-Carlton Resort. DT Flemming beach is where you can get great milk shakes at the Burger Shack restaurant and explore Mahana Ridge Trail, a trail that snakes into the West Maui Mountains. The beach north of DT Flemming beach is Mokuleia Beach (Slaughterhouse Beach), a challenging dive spot that Chad and I experienced last May. It was there that we had seen at least 20 dolphins!

 



Further north from Mokuleia beach is Honolua Bay. As soon as we entered the bay we were sheltered from the wind, and the water became instantly calmer, and the air felt warmer. The crew buoyed up the catamaran and everyone geared up to snorkel. Our tour guides provided snorkeling equipment and a snorkel lesson for beginners. They also provided reef safe sunscreen and flotation devices. Since Chad and I are pros, we brought my own gear and jumped into the water before everyone else!



Chad jumped off the stern of the boat while I entered from the ramp that was lowered between the two hulls at the bow. Chad and I met along the port side of the catamaran, and he gave me the OK signal.



Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions



              I gave him the OK signal back. I swam towards the shallow areas along the cliff sides surrounding the bay. The entire bay is protected by cliffs with clusters of boulders and large rocks along the perimeter.



Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions



              Parrot fish could be seen nibbling on the mounds of coral, and clusters of fish huddled underneath the small crevices. As I floated weightlessly enjoying the warm ocean water and the sun on my back, I could see small sea creatures peek their heads out of their homes. Most of the fish ranged from a few feet to two inches. The coral grew large in some parts of the bay, and almost touched the surface of the ocean from 10 feet down! I was careful not to get poked by the sea urchins and barnacles of the protruding parts of the coral.





              As I admired the way the fish crisscrossed and spun around in circles, I became startled as I saw something large swim by from the corner of my eye. It was a 5-foot barracuda! It’s unlikely that a barracuda will bite you if you keep far away from it, but I am 5-foot 1inch, so my heart started to pound. My eyes widen to soak in the beauty of the silvery barracuda! I was thrilled to see such a large creature after staring at relatively small creatures! It reminded me of when I was swimming in Kauai with Chad at Kalihiwai Bay and barracuda just came out of nowhere!


              I quickly swam over to Chad and signaled to him that I saw a barracuda and he looked in the direction that I was pointing. We tried to find it, but we didn’t see it again. Our guide said that the barracuda’s name is Barry, and he swims around the area occasionally. Thats comforting!


              Back on the boat we had a delicious hot lunch! I was starving after our long snorkel! Juicy chicken, fried rice and veggies, cookies, and a strong Mai Tai! The food was excellent and satisfying and there was plenty for everyone!




Photo Credit: Chloe Cryan 2024 > 2.7.24 Gemini Snorkel > Island Dream Productions




The Gemini sailed south, back toward Ka’anapali as we rocked out to pumping music! It was a smoother ride back because the wind blew at our backs and the waves pushed us forward. The sky was clear, and the sun was blazing. We spotted a mama whale and her calf breaching out of the ocean just next to us! The Gemini slowed to a stop for a moment to give us a chance to observe the whales and our tour guide gave a very informative and interesting speech about humpback whales.


Fun Facts about Humpback Whales: Female whales are bigger than the males and only have temporary relationships. However, males can often be seen protecting the young. The males can often be seen showing off and fighting with other males to impress females. Females can get pregnant as young as four years old! Food isn’t as abundant as it is in Alaska, which is why they come here for a short time only to give birth and mate.








The Gemini Snorkel Sail Adventure is highly recommended. If you are visiting Maui, and looking for relaxing day out in the ocean, Gemini Sailing Charters is the way to go! Happy Sailing! To book a tour check out their website now!





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