Trip Date 08/20/2017
Posted On 05/05/2018 13:00:43
Destinations | Review | Hawaii | Kauai | Na Pali Coast | Captain Andy | Sunset Sail | Catamaran
It is very seldom that the island of Kauai is talked about without a mention of the Na Pali Coast. Due to the remote location of the coast, it is best seen either on foot, by boat or by helicopter. If you plan to visit the Garden Island of Kauai, read on for an overview of a sunset sail that took us to the beautiful Na Pali Coast.
Briefing and Introduction aboard AkialoaWe headed to the Port Allen Harbor Marina Center Office in the early afternoon to check-in for our pre-booked excursion ($217.00 for two plus optional tips). Compared to some of our Kauai "off roading" adventures, the drive to Captain Andy's Na Pali Original Sunset Dinner Sail was quite tame, and we arrived with time to spare for our required 2:15 PM check-in.
After listening to Captain Cory's humorous delivery of introductory comments (medications, jackets, sunscreen, smoking, shoes, etc.), I knew we were in for a great evening. As a group, we walked to the boat dock, removed our shoes and climbed aboard Akialoa, the 55' Gold Coast Catamaran that would be our home for the next four hours.
Following Captain Cory's safety briefing and orientation to Akialoa, we pulled away from the dock and were headed toward the Na Pali Coast. Scott and I enjoyed our forward facing seats for the beginning of our journey. The wind and sea spray added to the ambience of our trip, and we soon felt the grit of salt adhering to our sunscreen sprayed bodies. We quickly jumped up to see the unexpected starboard side performance delivered by the school of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. If only I was quicker with my camera as the dolphins spinning in the air was the best show that I've ever seen off the side of a boat. We were apparently quite lucky, as one of the crew members commented that, while they see them on most of the morning sailings, they only see dolphins on about 10% of evening sails.
The Beautiful Na Pali CoastContinuing north, we sailed around Barking Sands (the U. S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility) and past Polihale State Park before reaching the famous 15-mile stretch of cliffs known as the Na Pali Coast. We had toured this area by helicopter in August 2006 and were excited to have a different view of the cliffs (looking up this time) that were featured in movies such as Jurassic Park and King Kong. We enjoyed great weather as we sailed alongside the 4,000 foot cliffs, valleys, waterfalls, sea caves / lava tubes and beaches on the northwest shore of Kauai. With such beautiful scenery at our side, we even passed up the appetizers being offered on the deck below!
Dinner aboard the CatamaranThe sail went up at the half-way point as the captain slowly began turning the boat around and the crew opened the bar. We enjoyed a "sneaky tiki" followed shortly thereafter by a buffet dinner which included:
- Tossed green salad
- Grilled flat iron steak with sour cream horseradish sauce
- Garlic and herb grilled chicken garnished with basil, tomato & pine nuts
- Rice pilaf
- Grilled asparagus
- Lime cheesecake topped with whipped cream
- Beer, wine, "sneaky tikis", soft drinks and water
Sunset over the Pacific OceanOne of the reasons that we chose the evening sailing was to experience a romantic Hawaiian sunset. Captain Cory made an announcement at 7:45 PM informing us that we were about 15 minutes away from sunset and nearly everyone made their way to the starboard side of the boat for photos - both as the sun was setting as well as at twilight.
With only about 15 minutes to our docking place, our sailing was coming to an end just after the setting of the sun, however our memories of the evening will last much longer. We were very happy with our decision to sail with Captain Andy's - the captain and crew (Soren and Dylan) worked hard to ensure that everyone enjoyed their evening, and this couple did just that! We now want to take a smaller boat along the coastline so that we have the opportunity to sail into some of the caves - that's for our next trip to Kauai!
Tips for Sailing the Na Pali CoastAs the weather is unpredictable, if you have multiple days on Kauai, consider reserving your sailing during the early part of your visit. Should your scheduled sailing be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, you might be able to join a sailing during the latter part of your visit, rather than just getting a refund.
Captain Andy's has several options for sailing the Na Pali coastline. Slightly more expensive, the Star Class Yacht sailings are aboard one of two yachts 65 feet in length and offering a more luxurious experience with meals prepared aboard the boat rather than catered:
- The Star Na Pali Snorkel BBQ Sail leaves in the morning therefore having a better success rate of seeing the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. Before a BBQ lunch served with beer and wine, guests have the option of snorkeling or relaxing on the boat. A continental breakfast is also offered after departure.
- With a slightly more upscale menu the Star Na Pali Dinner Sunset Sail departs in the afternoon and sails by the coastline before turning around for a freshly prepared dinner and sunset.
Slightly less expensive, the Classic Sailing Adventures are aboard the 55 foot Akialoa:
- The Classic Na Pali Snorkel Picnic Sail is a morning sailing offering a continental breakfast and deli lunch served with beer and wine. The lunch is served after sailing along the Na Pali coast and your choice of either relaxing aboard or snorkeling nearby during the 45 minute anchor stop.
- Our selection, the Classic Na Pali Sunset Dinner Sail, departs in the afternoon and after sailing near the coastline, turns around for dinner and sunset.
Dining on the Island of KauaiIf you will have a few days on the island and are interested in some budget friendly dining options, read our post titled "Reviews: Kauai Eats - Mostly on the Cheap" for some restaurants to consider checking out during your stay on Kauai.
Kauai ExcursionsWhich of the many excursions offered on the Garden Island of Kauai is your favorite - and why?
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Capt Andy's Sailing Adventures, Eleele, HI, United States
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