For someone who spent her childhood and adolescence growing up on the The Garden Island, Na Pali Coast was always just out of reach. Between school, extra curricular activities and family travel funds prioritized for experiences off the island, Na Pali fell through the cracks.

When the opportunity arose to show a Mainland friend around my home island, we made like the smart tourists and booked a water tour of the coast. There are helicopter tours available which provide some incredible aerial views, but our tour included more intimate interactions with the elements, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The Blue Dolphin Charters experience was the perfect finale to our week long visit to Kaua’i. Captain Chad, a native of Kauai’s West side, and his crew kept us entertained, beveraged, and most of all, safe. He also reminded me of one of my club volleyball coaches by the same name, but I digress.

While no pictures, or even the most descriptive adjectives could capture that Sunday afternoon, in lieu of actually being there my best effort to illustrate the day is summarized below:

Na Pali Coast is truly a feast for all of the senses.


Just LOOK at this.

Captain Chad announced before we departed that if we were lucky, we might see some dolphins. She was on our side that afternoon:


The Captain said the dolphins respond to noise.

Hear the rush of the boat slicing through the water, head to the front of the boat like my friend Paris to make the most of the boat’s bobbing. Just make sure to plant your feet, bend your knees and hold on as the boat picks up speed:


There is plenty of seating on the boat, but we preferred this spot a la Jack and Rose.

Take in the salty air, then follow your nose to the middle of the boat as the crew serves up a hot lunch of Kalua pork, rice, Lomi salmon (our version of Pico de Gallo) and more while you enjoy nature’s emerald cathedrals once more as the boat makes its way back to Port Allen:


This is real life.

Toast the people next to you with your choice of local craft brews or a heady Mai Tai (Aloooha) because the sun is likely shining, you’re on a boat in Hawaii, the crew is warm and fantastic and you’ve hopefully followed the Captain’s orders to get under that waterfall!


As fun and refreshing as it looks.