A Na Pali Coast tour with Napali Catamaran isn’t just about snorkeling. It’s also about exploring the Na Pali Coast from the water. Since it is impossible to circumnavigate the entire island of Kauai by car, the only way to see this rugged coastline is by hiking the trails, taking to the air by helicopter, or traveling along the coast by water.
On the way to the snorkeling area there are scattered spots along the way where Napali Catamaran's captain and crew of one explain Hawaiian history and legends associated with each spot. The rugged coastline is dotted with bare steep rock faces, lush green patches of trees and plants, and waterfalls spilling off the side and disappearing into the air.
A second cave had an opening in the ceiling through which another waterfall poured through. As we pulled away from the cave we could see where the waterfall started high up in the cliffs of Kauai's Na Pali Coast.
As we continued on we passed random sandy beaches that can only be reached by water or by hikers hiking along the 11-mile Na Pali Coast trail. On one small beach we spotted two monk seals basking in the sun after a heavy meal. When monk seals beach themselves they kind of look like giant brown slugs.
We reached our snorkel destination and jumped into the water. There was only one other boat in the area, which was nice because sometimes when you join trips such as this numerous boats all head to the same spot. Since there was just one other boat and Napali Catamaran groups are small, it was easy to find our own spot to snorkel without having to worry about getting kicked in the face by someone else’s fins.
There were a large number of different kinds of fish, but we were really excited to see a turtle right away. We ended up spying a few turtles slowly swimming around. We've encountered turtles while snorkeling in Hawaii before, but this was different because the turtles we saw here were all swimming around with shoals of fish following along and cleaning off their shells. We had apparently stumbled upon a turtle spa.
After almost an hour of snorkeling, we hopped back into the boat, had a quick lunch provided by Napali Catamaran, and then headed back to Hanalei Bay. This time we traveled much faster without stops as the ocean becomes a little choppier as the day progresses.