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Exploring Hawaii's coast by kayak.

The Hawaiian Islands were first discovered by Polynesians piloting canoes, and a tradition of voyages of discovery still lingers here. Maybe that's why it seems so appropriate to see Hawaii from the vantage point of a small craft paddled over the waves.

Over the last few years, sea kayaking has grown in popularity in the Islands; the best-known experience is the ambitious trip along Kauai's Na Pali Coast. A kayak keeps you close to the water, giving you ample opportunity to appreciate the sounds and sights of the ocean.

The outfitters at right (listed by island) all lead guided kayak tours; craft are generally sit-on-tops. Some outfitters also rent a variety of craft to experienced kayakers who want to strike out and explore coastal waters on their own. Ask if a snorkel and mask are included--being able to see the ocean from below as well as above greatly enriches the experience. Unless otherwise noted, area code is 808.


Kona Kai-Yaks, 74-5563 Kaiwi St., Kailua Kona 96740; 326-2922. Two-hour ($40) beginner's tour teaches techniques; customized half-or full-day tours and overnight trips can be arranged.

Ocean Sports Waikoloa, Box 5000, HC02 Kohala Coast 96743; 885-5555, or (800) 835-8538 from the Mainland. Morning 3 1/2-hour tour is geared for novices and combines 2 to 3 miles of paddling along the flat, cove-dotted lava coast ($45, including snorkeling and picnic lunch).


Outfitters Kauai, Box 1149, Poipu Beach 96756; 742-9667. Half-day, mile-long introduction ($48) departs from Kukuiula Harbor, goes past Spouting Horn blowhole, and includes a 2-hour beach stop at scenic Lawai Bay. A longer and more challenging day trip ($115) runs along the wave-pounded wilderness of the Na Pali Coast; experienced kayakers are better able to enjoy the 15 miles (6 hours) of paddling.

Kayak Kauai, Box 508, Hanalei 96714; 826-9844. Basic day trip along the Na Pali Coast costs $115. From October through April, when seas are too rough on this stretch of coast, a day trip from Kalapaki Beach heads around Kauai's southeast corner to Koloa Landing near Poipu Beach ($90).


South Pacific Kayaks, 2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei 96753; 875-4848, or (800) 776-2326 from the Mainland. South Pacific offers kayak rentals and two guided trips: an easy, 21/2-hour introductory paddle in the Makena area ($49), and a 5-hour trip from Maalaea to Papalaua Beach ($69, including lunch).


Twogood Kayak Hawaii, 171 Hamakua Dr., Kailua 96734; 262-5656. Rental package costs $56 a day, including lunch, mask, snorkel, and transportation to and from Waikiki. Owner Bob Twogood also started tours of Kailua Bay last May.
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Author:Fish, Peter; Phillips, Jeff
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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