I went on this tour with my mom, who uses a wheelchair. My mom could have gone in the water with me, but decided to stay on the boat. She still had a great time as Kenae (our guide), Yanick (the boat captain), and Captain Taina made sure my mom had the opportunity to meet sting rays and to have a full, accommodated experience.
Captain Taina sent a driver to pick us up from the hotel. The dock was dirt, sand, and pavement. The sand was a bit tricky to manuver for the wheelchair but Kenae was quick to help.
The boat ride was calm. I struggle with motion sickness but I didn't want to wear the motion sickness patch in the water and the non-prescription medicine doesn't work for me. Sitting at the front of the boat, facing the wind, was enough to keep the sickness away.
Our stops included snorkeling with green turtles, black tipped sharks, sting rays, and countless georgeous fishes! We also saw underwater tikis! Kenae guided the tour in French and in English to accommodate all guests.
The underwater tikis are a tribute to the culture that missionaries tried to exterminate. The tikis are near a church that was built on the foundation of a temple the missionaries destroyed.
The glass bottom boat meant my mom could see on the boat as clearly as I could see it in the water! Yanick drove the boat next to turtles that were surfacing so my mom could enjoy them, and Kenae brought gentle sting rays to the boat to meet my mom. Kenae had a fish and shark reference guide aboard the boat for the guests to use at our leisure.
For lunch, Kenae and Yanick carried my mom ashore. Kenae and Yanick prepared an incredibly delicious lunch from scratch, including home-grown ingredients and home-baked goods. The lunch alone was worth the price of the tour!
Lunch was on Captain Taina's family private island. The tidepools on the private island were full of wildlife, including eels, baby octopus, and freshly-molted crabs. Kenae introduced us to some of his wildlife friends, including a friendly but shy eel.
After lunch, Kenae and Yanick carried my mom back to the boat. Then it was back to the dock and a short ride back to the hotel.
We will book this tour again the next time we come!!! What a phenomenal experience!!!
Not to mention, Captain Taina is the first woman captain for a tourist boat and saved a turtle from poachers! I didn't know that going into the tour, but it made me even more glad to tour with Captain Taina!
- face mask (covid safe)
- snorkel (some are available on board to share)
- towel, preferrably quick dry (no towel service aboard)
- hand sanitizer
- underwater camera
- bring your own snorkel and practice before you go. My snorkel has a valve, which is great for expelling water. However, quick breathes draw water into the valve. And, I quickly found out that when I'd get excited from seeing a turtle or shark, I would gasp! It's ok, just spit it out and enjoy the wildlife!
- if you bring a GoPro, bring at least a second battery. Other guests and myself both ran out of charge.
- reapply sunblock between water entries
My attempt at phonetic pronunciations:
Ia orana (hello) = Ya-Oh-Rah-Na
Mauruuru (thank you) = Mah-ru-ru
Mauruuru roa (thank you very much) = Mah-ru-ru row-ah