**Updated : February 2023**
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Late last month we had the opportunity to head out on a two in one snorkel and whale watching tour with Hawaii Ocean Rafting. Not only did we have an incredible experience, but we love the fact that they are owned by Native Hawaiian and that they prioritize respectfully interacting with the whales while following federal approach laws. Read on for a full breakdown of the tour, information you should know, and our honest review of our complete experience.
Based out of Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii Ocean Rafting has multiple types of tours to choose from. Whale watching, snorkeling, or even private charters are all on the menu - we opted for the 4 hour "2in1 Snorkel and Whale Watch" and could not have been more pleased. After arriving at their booth/check in station at the Lahaina Harbor, you'll be fitted with snorkel masks and fins, and have the option to add on a wetsuit for $10. They also have sunscreen for you to use that follows the "reef safe" sunscreen policy on Maui. After getting everyone situated, the entire group (10 guests) will board the boat and head out to sea. Although we saw many whales breaching on our way out, our main focus was to get snorkeling first because the water was so calm. This might change and will be a call the captain makes. Snorkeling was very independent, with floaties available for those that need them. After about an hour in the water, we were provided with a delicious snack (fresh fruit and banana bread) before heading out to do some more whale watching. Although Hawaii Ocean Rafting follows the federal regulations of never approaching a whale within 100 yards, it is absolutely incredible to see the curious whales coming up to see us or play on the horizon. Baby whales were tail slapping and breaching, escort males were fighting over females, and mama whales were teaching their young. All while Hawaii Ocean Rafting keeps an eye out for an garbage floating in the water to fish out, truly incredible. Last but not least, they even provide you with a cookie snack on your way back in.
Our Honest Review
Ok, if you've read this far and you're still not sure whether to book or not, let me be the first to say this is the whale watching tour you've been looking for. Not only was the tour itself absolutely mind blowing, but it helps to have the peace of mind knowing that Hawaii Ocean Rafting is a responsible company doing their part to keep the whales and the environment safe. We can't speak for the other tours they have, but with this tour being our 7th whale watching tour together, we can truly say this is going to be one of the best experiences you have. We highly recommend booking in the winter, as this is when the humpbacks come down from Alaska to have their young and teach them how to swim and do tricks before heading back up. We also highly recommend wearing reef safe sunscreen and paying the extra $10 for a wet suit, not only will it keep you better protected from the sun but occasionally there will be small plankton like stingers - they don't hurt much, more like a little pinch - but the wet suit will also better protect you from these. Overall we give this tour our full approval, it was absolutely incredible and we loved the small group size as well!
Watch our Whale Watching Adventures here!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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