November 5th, 2022
Today was to be a real early start, but it was worth it for the chance to do one of the most fun and exciting things to do on Maui, at least that was my take, Kate was a whole lot more skeptical. To the point, she very nearly didn’t bother!
In reality, if we were just normal travelers we would have probably agreed not to go, but as Travel writers, we felt her take would be pretty unique, she was definitely the unwilling ride-along and the perfect polar opinion to my first-in super enthusiastic take on the trip. What were we doing? Ocean Rafting!
However, even I was pretty miffed at another 5 am alarm call. We were supposed to be on vacation! We crawled out of bed and got our things to get and mustered a little coffee before heading out the door. There was no need for breakfast as we got that on the trip. As we headed out of the condo the whole sky really set on fire for a few minutes. It was a seriously incredible sunrise as the low clouds just erupted in incandescent pinks and purples. Wonderful.
Redline Rafting is one of a few Rafting trips you can take in Maui and is our preferred operator. They are all fairly evenly priced and offer similar tours but Redline just ticks our boxes and seems to do the tour the way we like it. Others do it in reverse, mainly so they don’t clash, but we prefer it this way around.
We met at the Kehei Boat ramp at 6:30 am Sharp and checked in with our guide. There were no latecomers so the team quickly got our raft in the water and we all boarded. When we say raft, this is a bit of an undersell. The Boat in question is a large 35ft RIB with powerful engines and room for 24 guests. It’s a big boat, and while the shorter tours are done on smaller boats the 5hr we were booked on was on the big boy.
We all boarded and took up positions. We headed towards the front, despite being advised against it, it’s a rougher and much wetter ride up front, but we fancied the privacy and space, plus it’s better for filming.
As we headed out of the harbor there was a Hawaiian Monk Seal swimming just in front of us, which really go the day off to a good start. The weather was not great, it was dry and warm but a little overcast. To be honest, this probably helped with the sunscreen issue we were having, as the newly mandated mineral locations were just not really doing the job. So the cloud helped us not burn to a crisp while out on the trip.
The first stop was Molokini and we arrived well before any of the big boats arrived. The Sea had been very calm on the way out and it only took a few minutes to get out here. The raft did a big loop around the islet and out on the backside things were a little wilder.
Back in the crater, it was nice and calm and after a quick breakfast of Cinebuns and fruit, the pool was declared open and we plunged in. The water was crustal cleat and the coral growth really seems to be bouncing back after some hard years.
There was nothing particularly special on show today, after scouring the reef, there were just lots of the usual suspects and no real special finds. After a good 40 mins in the water people started coming out and we moved on to the next spot.
This was really exciting. I have dived the back wall several times but never had the chance to snorkel out here. The ocean conditions were also really big today and huge waves lapped onto the rocks after building for miles out in the open ocean.
It was a very exhilarating place to get into the water. The spot the Raft stops at is called the elevator. And this is the point the two currents that rip around the back wall meet. It’s an oasis of calm in an otherwise wild section of the ocean. One really cool quirk is as the waves arrive, they do not break. They simply raise the water level up against the wall. You can be sitting comfortably on the surface and suddenly get lifted 10-15 ft up the wall, and then back down. it’s amazing fun!
The wall is often home to some big fish too. We have seen Sharks, Tuna, Giant Trevally, Massive Javanese Moray Eels, and even got tantalizingly close to singing humpbacks. There are also regular sightings of Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
Today, was a little disappointing. Two huge tuna cruised by, down at the bottom and off the radar of most of the snorkellers. still cool to see, would have gone great as a bowl of Poke!
After messing about in the stunning waves for a while we jumped back aboard and headed off to the next site.
La Peruse Bay
The Captain warned us this might be a bust. The conditions were looking very poor and the wind direction was bad news and normally meant they couldn’t hit the bay. This would be disappointing, but the Captain said if he decided against it if we insisted he would get us there by any means, but he strongly advised against that, and we agreed if his judgment was against it ours was too.
As it turned out this conversation and the last paragraph were completely pointless and we got there with only a few big hits from the waves, and only getting totally drenched on a few occasions. Up-front we really caught the worst of it.
At the Snorkel stop, we all piled into the water again and got a good 30mins with the fish. In all honesty, this was the worst stop. The water clarity was not great and while the spot is nice and remote, there was not a lot to see.
Back on the boat, we all got lunch and then headed off to the final stop. This part of the trip was the most fun we had all day, a real highlight of the trip. The captain took the raft out into the deep part of the ocean rather than plodding along the coast. Once a way out of shore, the waves were simply monstrous. We were on top of colossal 20-25 ft swells and then moments later in the trough of the same waves with towers of water on either side! It was highly impressive and the captain expertly surfed his way through these giants.
Then…with a little warning to all, cranked the engines and headed for shore. In this section of the ride the captain would tear done the face of a wave and just as he hit the bottom, turn hard o the wheel and zoom up the other side of the wave. Rinse and repeat, over and over all the way to the shore and the calm water. It was like a wild and real roller coaster and so much fun.
Arriving at the final stop, we were all pretty psyched, and ready for some cool Turtle interactions. In all honesty, this was a very disappointing site. We think we say about 4-5 Turtles, which after spending a week a Honokeana Cove is pretty disappointing! Those who have never seen a Turtle before were probably stoked, but turtles are so common in Maui, this really was not a high concentration. There was also not much else to really see here.
However, we definitely did not let that bother us. We have seen countless turtles and Turtle town was never high on our priorities for this excursion. And while we had not had great wildlife spotting, overall the trip was an absolute success. We both really loved it.
Kate’s reservation evaporated and we both had an absolute blast. Back on the dock we happily tipped and headed off for the rest of our day.
The afternoon was spent simply relaxing by the pool. It had been a really hard few days with a lot going on for me. While kate had a relaxing day yesterday it had been all go for me for 4 days straight. A nice chill by the pool, with a good book and a couple of drinks, was just the perfect tonic.
Things would calm down from now on and I could enjoy the last few days relaxing in Paradise.
Sunset Steak and Drinks on the Lanai
To complement this relaxing vibe, the evening was spent just relaxing at the condo. We cooked up some amazing steaks and enjoyed a selection of Island drinks. On the way back from the Rafting we met a resident who was harvesting fresh oranges from the trees outside. He offered us a couple and we juiced these added rum, orgeat syrup, and dark rum for a stunning Island Orange Mai Tai! Along with a few beers and some Pineapple wine, we had a very enjoyable evening watching the sunset and taking the calm and peace from our lanai.
The sunset also really popped tonight. We never really know if you are going to get a great sunset, an amazing sunset, or a life-changing one! Amazingly, life-changing sunsets do happen on a regular basis and even the lower end of the Sunset spectrum in Maui they are really good. Tonight was very special, it’s all to do with the cloud height and how the light scatters over through the atmosphere, but we got stunning fluffy pink clouds lighting up the sky. A perfect companion to this morning’s sunrise.