Valley Isle Excursions Sky

Maui Activities: Adventures

  • Wailea Boating Company Private Charters
  • Kihei, HI
  • (808) 891-2628

Xian is better than owning a boat

I think of the money for private charters as my "I avoided buying a money pit (boat)" money. No matter how much we spend, it isn't as much as we would spend on a boat that we probably would only use a couple of times a year and never where we would really want to be on a boat. Like Maui.

Why not just charter when you want to have a boat? The problem is finding operators like Captain Mark with his 29' boat, Xian. A guy who keeps his boat like I would keep mine -- not too fancy, but everything in working order. With the quietest, cleanest-running engines he can find, but with plenty of power. Big enough to feature a private head, but small enough to be practical and not outrageously expensive.

Then, you need a day like today, which Maui has more than its fair share of, to make the charter a special experience. A 7am launch onto nearly smooth seas, clear skies, 72 degrees going up to 80, whales popping up every 2 miles, the dolphins out playing, and Haleakala at sunrise as a backdrop to some of nature's best scenery ever.

You could forgive an operator for a misstep or two on a day like today, in Maui, but Captain Mark didn't have any missteps, either. On-time, friendly, knowledgeable, safety-conscious, and 20 years local operating experience. He's the kind of guy that gives you the confidence to really relax and enjoy yourselves.

We went south from Kihei to the lava flows south of La Perouse bay. Mark knows the area extremely well, best snorkle spots, where the dolphins hang out, and some very interesting sea caves formed by lava tubes from 600 years ago. The snorkeling in Maui is hard to beat and visibility was fantastic.

We really had a wonderful time and Xian fit the bill perfectly.

So here are some review comments.

The boat is not new and wouldn't show really well for the status-conscious. For the practical-minded (like myself), it had everything we needed and kept up to date and working. Seems like Mark has gear aboard for everything. The boat gives you a sense of comfort and has a really nice foredeck with open seating for better sight-seeing and whale-watching. You can move fore and aft very easily and there are plenty of hand-holds. Plenty of room for 6 passengers who know each other. Intimate for 2 like us. The engines are Honda twin-225HP four-stroke and run very quiet which makes a big difference after 4 hours.

Captain Mark is on the talkative side. The islands have softened his New Jersey roots, but not the frustrated comedian within. Like us and probably 80% of you, it comes off as charming, warm and personable. You other 20% know who you are - decide for yourself. One of huge benefits of the talkativeness is that you end up learning things, about whales, geology, fish, Maui, and more that you never knew you were interested in.

Mark also runs a tour operation called Blue Water rafting ( which are basically super-sized zodiacs. There was a group out running a similar itinerary to us today and I think that would be a less-expensive way to see some of the same things south of Kihei. The groups are much smaller than the "big guys". It becomes obvious that Mark knows Molokini and the coast south of Kihei best. He is willing to work with you on any itinerary, pointing out the pluses and minuses, but given free rein, he'll probably head for the lava flows which he may know better than anyone. He was very flexible with us on timing and schedule which worked out great when we wanted to extend our time on this gorgeous day.

The food was practical and good - sandwiches, local fruits and cookies. He has gear for fishing, and seems knowledgeable about that, too, but we didn't fish.

Some refinement of the joke repertoire might help. Mark, if you read this, keep the water going all the way down to the bottom and leave the Rabbi at the dock.

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