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Paddling on Maui, Kaua’i and the Big Island

When the Ed Gillett stepped on the beach in Kahului harbour after 64 days of paddling his legs crumpled and he sat down in the shallow water. A local, who was staggering along the beach, stopped and chatted with him. He asked, “Where did you kayak from?” Gillett replied, “California.” “That must have taken two or three days at least,” the guy answered. “Yeah,” Gillett said, exhausted. His last meal had been toothpaste. He talked the fellow into hauling his boat above the high tide line and made a beeline for a junk food breakfast.

Kayaking Hawaii

Tourists largely arrive on a jet, a few come by cruise ship to Hawai’i. Most kayaking on Maui and the other islands is tailored to tourists not adventurers. However, there are some good trips for the more serious paddler, such as, the Na Pali coast on Kaua’i. On Maui my wife Imelda and I paddled as guests with South Pacific Kayaks on two trips. My wife, who is a summertime paddler, loved the first trip from Makena Landing. The guide gave us a short lesson on paddle strokes and then took us to a location called Turtle Town, the home of the endangered Hawaiian Green Turtle. Soon, we were snorkeling with this people-friendly reptile, watching it swim around looking for algae.
On the second adventure we paddled past the Pali Sea Cliffs on a stunning seven km, four and a half-hour round trip to a lighthouse. We were up early meeting our guide at 7 am. After the usual introduction on the beach we acquired our PFD, snorkel equipment and other gear and headed out. On this trip you’ll get to snorkel in crystal clear waters and possibly see green turtles. If you are really lucky, you’ll kayak near some Humpback whales. The guided trip costs around a hundred dollars per person and includes a deli lunch.
Kaua’i is the most northerly and oldest Hawaiian island. All in all it has ten rivers suitable for easy paddling in a kayak or canoe. I met Micco, the owner of Kayak Kaua’i at his Hanelei office and booked two trips for my wife and I. Micco and his brother Chino completed many epic journeys in the 80’s including a five month paddle along the Inner Passage (1981). However, their trips on Kaua’i are much easier and warmer. In my mind, the most enjoyable and easy adventure was a paddle to Secret Falls on the Wailua River. We rented and paddled a double to a trailhead and then hiked to the falls. Approximately, fifty kayak-tourists were there, but I was the only who took a swim. It was quite refreshing on a hot day. We raced two young guys on the way back, beating them handily.

Hawaii kayaking

I had one not-so-great adventure on the Big Island. I borrowed an old, double sit-on kayak from a friend’s shop (the last one left that day) and discovered later it had a small hole in the hull. To make a long story short it started sinking on a 12 km paddle along a lava coastline. By the time I got to shore it had about forty extra pounds of water in it. I thought at first my wife wasn’t paddling hard enough. I kept saying to her, “Are you paddling hard?” As the boat sunk, it was clearly slowing down. On any long trip now I inspect the hull and general condition of my boat, whether it’s rented or not.
 An easy trip for you would be a guided tour from Kealakekua Bay to the Captain Cook monument on the Big Island. The small piece of land that houses the monument actually belongs to the British government. Imelda and I visited James for a few minutes and then snorkeled nearby. The place is a bit over visited by catamarans or tourist-laden boats; the tropical fish are not quite as numerous as in a remote location. Also, a permit is now needed to snorkel here. If you wish to rent a kayak and save some money apply online at the Department of Land and Natural Resources website.
Most people travel to Hawaii for a holiday. My summertime kayak partner lives in Maui and I’m hoping to visit him soon to visit some different areas. We’re going to a small bay to kayak with sharks. Guaranteed we won’t be practicing our wet exits or rolling there.

LMS Visitor Centre nears completion

The Ladysmith Maritime Society (LMS) will soon see completion of a vital part of its ambitious project, the $1.7 million LMS Visitor Facilities Upgrade Project. The Reception Centre, designed for community users and marine tourists alike, will become permanent feature of Ladysmith Harbour this autumn. Weather permitting, the Reception Centre, currently under construction in Bamberton, will be towed to the LMS Community Marina during the second week of November.
The 3000 sq.ft. Reception Centre, on a concrete floating platform, will be secured to pilings and moored near the LMS Maritime Museum and its collection of heritage vessels. The facility will be accessed by a newly-built ramp, with a specially designed wider, sturdier, more gently sloped approach for individuals with mobility problems.
The new facility’s interior construction will continue at the LMS Community Marina, with completion slated for mid-December. The completed building will provide quality amenities such as showers, laundry, and meeting areas for marine visitors and meeting rooms for various local functions including LMS member activities. It is envisioned that the Reception Centre will attract marine tourists to Ladysmith Harbour, thus boosting the local economy.
An important part of the project, to be installed on completion of the Reception Centre, will be the first Ladysmith Harbour marine sewage pump-out station, designed for use by local boaters and visitors.
Construction of the LMS Visitor Facilities Upgrade Project is on schedule for the 2012 boating season, and is also on budget. LMS has been successful in securing funding from several provincial and federal funding agencies to cover the majority of the project’s elements. Thanks go to Western Economic Diversification Canada; Island Coastal Economic Trust Fund; Community Futures; and Enabling Accessibility Fund Canada.


About the author: Laurie Gourlay

Laurie loves organic farming.

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