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Photography - Help me select the best Na Pali boat tour.

Photography - Help me select the best Na Pali boat tour.

Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 06:01 PM
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Photography - Help me select the best Na Pali boat tour.

We are couple of casual/hobby photographers. We are visiting Kauai in mid-June. Our main goal of doing a Na Pali boat tour is to get some good pictures. We are not at all interested in snorkeling or whale/dolphin watching or visiting remote island. We want to have the best possible views of Na Pali coast. We have 7 days each in South and North coasts so we have the flexibility of touring from any location. There are way too many options out there and it is confusing.

First Dilemma: Morning or Afternoon? I think I know the answer to this but wanted to get your all opinion. I am considering the afternoon tour as the sun light falls on the mountains rather than sun being behind the mountains. However, is there a higher chance of cloud cover in the afternoon? Also, it is weird that a lot of companies are advertising "sunset" cruises while their itineraries show them returning to the dock by 6 or 6:30 PM. A true sunset cruise would be ideal for photography. Is there one that offers true sunset cruise?

Second Dilemma: What type of boat? Catamaran or Raft? Does it matter? The raft seems like a recommended choice by many due to less number of people and also being more personable. But looking at how people are being seated on the edges, I am not sure how easy it would be to click pictures, specially when you are sitting sideways and need to hold on to the rope. All the additions of exploring the caves or getting under a waterfall are good to have but not necessary. Will I miss something incredible by not being able to explore the caves/arches or going close to waterfalls? A catamaran can not get as close to the coast as a raft. Is there an advantage of being able to get closer to the coast? Is there any advantage of taking raft vs catamaran?

Third Dilemma: Depart from south or north? I don't think it makes much of a difference but I see that there are more companies offering tours from the south. Does it matter which location the boat departs from? Is there any portion of Na Pali coast that is not covered in a tour that departs from the south? If I choosing to do an afternoon or "sunset" tour, is there any advantage for one location over the other?

Nualolo Kai: Some companies have a tour that includes accessing Nualolo Kai beach but are slightly more expensive. What is the general opinion about being able to get off and hike at Nualolo Kai?

Any other considerations that I missed? Sorry for the long post and really appreciate any inputs/suggestions/recommendations.

Thanks.
uday029 is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2023, 11:14 AM
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Not an answer to your questions, but have you considered a helicopter tour over the coast? We have done both: Na Pali'i Catamaran in Hanalei and Jack Harter Helicopter. I always turn to the copter pictures when remembering the trip. A pod of spinner dolphins accompanied or boat for several minutes!
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rncheryl
Not an answer to your questions, but have you considered a helicopter tour over the coast? We have done both: Na Pali'i Catamaran in Hanalei and Jack Harter Helicopter. I always turn to the copter pictures when remembering the trip. A pod of spinner dolphins accompanied or boat for several minutes!
Yes, I have looked at helicopter tours. At this point we have budget for only one tour (boat or helicopter) and I thought a boar tour might give a more wholesome experience.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 11:54 AM
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I can't answer all your questions, and I'm definitely don't consider myself a photographer - but I do like to take photos. I've been on two cruises to the Na Pali coast, one in June and one in November (I think 2009 and 2015, or so). Both were out of Port Allen on the south coast, one with Holo Holo and one with Captain Andy's. I believe both were catamarans, and I recall the ride being pretty bouncy on at least one of them (not sure a raft would have been very enjoyable). I looked at my photos, and they are better from the June trip. There are about a dozen or so here, starting with this one. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what the view from the boat was like.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 09:13 PM
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Ms_go, those are some amazing pictures. Thanks for posting them.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 09:07 AM
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Fantastic pictures. We attended Sunday services at the church in Hanalei. The most friendly, outgoing people you would ever meet.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rncheryl
Not an answer to your questions, but have you considered a helicopter tour over the coast? We have done both: Na Pali'i Catamaran in Hanalei and Jack Harter Helicopter. I always turn to the copter pictures when remembering the trip. A pod of spinner dolphins accompanied or boat for several minutes!
Yes, the one thing you must experience on Kauai is a helicopter tour! And when choosing a helicopter choose the one without doors, it's great for taking pictures! You can see the super nice Napali Coast coastline, the canyons and waterfalls of Waimea Canyon, and the whole island!
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