Magazine article Sunset

Viewing the Na Pali Coast Up Close by Inflatable Craft

Magazine article Sunset

Viewing the Na Pali Coast Up Close by Inflatable Craft

Article excerpt

Viewing the Na Pali Coast up close by inflatable craft Oldest, roughest, and greenest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai boasts a masterwork of erosion--the Na Pali Coast. The easiest way to get good views of its towering, fluted cliffs, waterfalls, and hidden caves is by water; the alternative is a rigorous walk on a 12-mile cliffside trail. More than 20 boat companies tour the coast, but only a half-dozen use inflatable rubber craft that can scoot right up to the cliffs for an intimate look. Twice-daily boat trips depart from Hanalei Bay, on Kauai's north shore (about 35 miles or an hour's drive from the airport in Lihue). Skimming along the coastline in boasts made famous by Jacques Yves Cousteau, you'll rove in and out of sea caves (some with internal waterfalls) and search for dolphins and whales. You'll stop in the calm waters of a protected bay for snorkeling and refreshment before returning to Hanalei. (Cost includes snorkel gear, life jackets, and, in some cases, lunch.) Business is brisk; it's wise to plan in advance. Group rates are offered for parties of 4 or more (boats carry 12 to 15); ask when you call to reserve space. …

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