Trilogy Excursions: The Original Discover Lānaʻi Tour
The Original Discover Lānaʻi Tour
Growing up on Maui I was always intrigued by the neighbor islands you can see from our coast; Molokini, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe. Legend has it that at one time these five islands were joined to form the massive island of Maui Nui. This island would have been approximately 6,200 square miles, some 2,150 square miles than the present day island of Hawaii, which is commonly refered to as the Big Island. If I had been alive during the time of Maui Nui I’m sure I would have explored an area of it greater than the current boundaries of Maui. Alas, nowadays there is deep ocean separating the islands and I had never had a reason or opportunity to visit any of the neighbor islands before except Molokini. This all changed recently when I was lucky enough to explore Lanai with Trilogy Excursions.
Trilogy has been operating their Original Discover Lānaʻi Tour since 1973 making them one of the most experienced tour companies in the Hawaiian waters. The almost 40 years of experience shows in every aspect of their tours. Trilogy offers a variety of snorkeling, whale watching and sunset tours departing from both the Ma’alaea and Lahaina harbors but the thing they are best known for is their trips to Lanai. Trilogy is the only company with permission to escort neighbor island guests to Hulopoe Beach Park & Marine Preserve on Lanai. This beach park and marine preserve are usually only visited by the exclusive guests of the island’s two luxury hotels.
The tour I took departed at the reasonable hour of 10:00 am from Lahaina harbor. There is an earlier tour that departs at 6:30 am but I suggest the latter departure because not only do you not have to wake up while it is still dark but more importantly you get a bonus sunset sail on your return to Maui. On the other hand if you have just arrived to the islands from the mainland and are suffering from jet lag taking advantage of the early departure time allows you to maximize your vacation days. Viewing Maui and the surrounding islands from the water at sunset gives you a unique perspective. The group gathered at the Lahaina harbor and were qued into two groups depending on what tour you had booked. The sailboat was a gorgeous catamaran that I estimate had less than 40 people on it. This left plenty of room for everyone to roam about. Even though I was on the later tour we were still greeted with Mom’s famous cinnamon rolls. This is a Trilogy tradition and let me tell you they live up to the hype! I can always appreciate a nice cup of coffee, tropical fruit and a fresh baked good!
We slowly cruised to Lanai stopping a few times for a little whale watching. If you are visiting Hawaii during the months of December – April you are lucky to be here during whale season. Humpback Whales swim from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to our waters to mate and have their babies. It is one of my favorite times of year. The day I went on this tour the whales and their babies were out and about. We had only one breach on this trip but it was so close to the boat it felt like we should have gotten wet. Sadly I couldn’t catch a picture of it. Those giant creatures are surprising stealth.
Midway between the two islands the tour was treated to a light snack of an assortment of deli wraps and beverages. The crew walked around and made sure that everyone on board had enough to eat and drink. Upon reaching the point of Lanai we were greeted by a pod of bottle nose dolphins. This is a rarity in Hawaiian waters as Spinner Dolphins are more commonly seen!
Upon arrival at the harbor on Lanai we were welcomed by a handful of local ladies presented us with seashell leis. We had the option to either head straight to the beach for some tanning, swimming or snorkeling time or we could take a van ride into Lanai City. I went with the option of taking the van tour as I was intrigued to see as much of the island as possible. In Hawaii we refer to our elders as either Auntie and Uncle and this is really the best way to describe my van driver. She was a native of Lanai and had a wealth of knowledge about the island and its history. Oh and did I mention she was hilarious. We were given free time to wander around the little town and visit the cultural center.
After the island tour we were taken to the beach to join the rest of the group. The Trilogy crew has a huge assortment of beach mats, chairs, and snorkels with masks and fins for everyone to use. The water was patrolled by the staff and they were very eager to help anyone who was uncomfortable in the water. I even saw some people being led by hand out to the reef to snorkel.
It is this kind of Hawaiian hospitality that sets the Trilogy crew apart.
The Hulopoe Beach Park and Marine Preserve is a great place to spend the day. The hours we had there passed by way too quickly for my liking. This was quickly made up for by the feast that we were served. There was green salad, stir fried noodles, Trilogy’s signature BBQ chicken, veggie burgers, fresh vegetables and an assortment of drinks.
After the fest I rolled myself back onto the boat and was ready for a bit of sailing! The sails were hoisted and we caught some great wind and sped off. As we sailed towards Maui we caught our last glimpses of Lanai as it shrank into the distance. The sun was setting over it as we made our way back to what felt like a distant memory to me, Maui. Being on the water in Hawaii is in my opinion a must do on any trip to the islands. If you can manage to squeeze in a visit to a neighbor island even better!
This trip was such a treat. It is one of my most memorable experiences from my last trip home to Maui. As a local to the islands it is hard to impress me on these types of activities but the whole crew at Trilogy and the experience of finally visiting an island I have often wondered about, Lanai, totally won me over. I highly suggest this trip to anyone who has the opportunity to go!
The Original Discover Lānaʻi Tour is listed on the Trilogy website at $189 per person. They often offer specials on their website www.sailtrilogy.com so it is worth checking it out to see what offers they are promoting. You can also find pictures of recent adventures or community feedback on their Facebook page!
A surprise treat on this tour was that one of the Trilogy crew was a fellow travel writer. Kyle is a fellow Maui boy who has been to almost 50 countries! You can follow his travels by reading his writing at kylethevagabond.com