Adventure cruise tour operator American Safari Cruises celebrates its inaugural season in Hawaii on October 26, 2011 when the 36-guest Safari Explorer begins its first inter-island voyage. The upscale yacht will sail 24 voyages between Maui/Lana’i and the Big Island through May 2012.
Seven- or 10-night active, adventure un-cruises explore Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui, Molokini and the Big Island. Itineraries sail between Maui/Lana’i and the Big Island and reverse; a scenic ferry ride connects guests between Maui and the yacht on Lana’i.
“We’ve spent six years nurturing relationships with local businesses and families in Hawaii,” said Dan Blanchard, principal and chief executive officer. “Introducing our guests to the traditional culture and history of the Hawaiian Islands is a key component of the trip and crucial to our philosophy of authentic travel.”
A Hawaiian blessing for the yacht and crew took place on October 25 on Moloka’i. Hawaiian cultural advisors from Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i and the Big Island were invited to attend. The blessing celebrated the beginning of operations in Hawaii. Traditional Hawaiian protocols are also being arranged at each island to ask permission for entry.
“Traveling among the islands on a yacht offers convenience and comfort with included activities at your fingertips,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “This is a new way to experience Hawaii, and guests will visit places most visitors to Hawaii never see.”
Exclusive cultural tours on Moloka’i are included during a two day visit. Lawrence, a 50th generation of his Hawaiian Halau lineage, will guide the group to a waterfall in the pristine Halawa Valley. Along the way, guests spend time with Lawrence and his family “talking story,” listening to the land and absorbing the spirit of the natural world and ancient cultural practices passed down through generations of native Hawaiians. Guests may also choose to tour local farms—Moloka’i Plumerias and Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm.
Others may choose to walk through ancient taro terraces. Guests will have a chance to help restore the terraces and make poi, a paste made from the root of the taro plant. After a visit to the Moloka’i Museum and Cultural Center, a Hawaiian pa’ina celebration feast features locally sourced cuisine including fresh fish and poi, seaweed, Moloka’i sweet potatoes and pork from the imu (underground oven), all staples of the Hawaiian diet. Local musicians join in the celebration along with a kumu hula dancer.
On Maui, an early morning tour to catch the sunrise at Haleakala National Park takes guests up 10,000 feet for a spiritual sunrise ceremony and stunning views of land, sea and sky. In the afternoon, guests enjoy drift snorkeling at the nearly submerged crater of Molokini.
Off the coast of Hawaii, the Big Island, the yacht spends time searching for dolphins, whales and whale sharks before anchoring offshore for water sports activities. On the second day, a skiff excursion takes guests snorkeling near Kealakekua Bay before going ashore for a bit of history at the place where Captain Cook died. In the afternoon, a local guide escorts guests on a historical walking tour of Kailua and Holualoa, a village filled with art galleries.
Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands. Guests can be as active as they like and explore by foot, kayak, paddle board, sailboat, mountain bike and motorized skiff excursions. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea. The unstructured itinerary allows time for viewing wildlife such as humpback whales and snorkeling tours are a highlight throughout the trip.