Beach Loading 101

The Adventure is Part of the Experience

The Adventure Starts Here

Maui is paradise for sea life, for birds, for the myriad of plants that are fortunate to call this fertile soil home, and most of all for people, both locals and visitors alike. But for boats, Maui, and Hawaii in general, can be a rough place to hang your line.

Why? Maui has a very limited amount of harbor space, with only three available on the entire island, with Maalaea Harbor on the west side of the Kahului Valley and Lahaina Harbor each hosting about 100 slips for commercial and private vessels. And to round it off, Kahului Harbor takes the vast majority of the islands supply ships as well as cruise ships and other large vessels but there are no tour boat slips available. There are around 200 boat slips on the entire island of Maui.

This leaves South Maui harborless and its stunning reefs harder to access for eager snorkelers, especially those who opt for the more-comfortable catamaran experience versus the small snorkel raft. Most cruises looking to snorkel at Molokini Crater, the small islet between South Maui and Kaho’olawe and the island’s most famous snorkeling spot, come from Maalaea, 14 miles away, forcing an upwind sail back at the end of the day, taking over an hour. Stories of sea-sick tourists at Maalaea Harbor in the mid-afternoon are common. But you don’t have to be one of them!

A Very Special Vessel

The Kai Kanani II is a unique vessel among Maui’s fleet of world-class catamarans:

  • The 65-foot luxury catamaran lives on a permanent mooring off of Maluaka Beach in Makena, a short 5 to 10 minute drive from Wailea’s award-winning resorts.
  • She is the only vessel permitted to “beach load” in South Maui, which means we pull up on the beach, the bow of our boat resting gently on the sand while our crew assist our passengers as they climb our stairs onto the deck of the Kai Kanani II.
  • Maluaka Beach is a mere 3 miles from Molokini Crater so we can be picky about where and when we snorkel, giving us the ability to stay away from the crowds.
The Beach Load Experts

Beach loading does have its challenges: it takes experienced captains and crew to make sure the experience is fun and safe. Luckily, Kai Kanani has been at it for more than 30 years and has the most experienced beach-loading crew on the island, with each one specially trained to deal with the specific conditions that occur at pristine Maluaka Beach.

Because of this, our passengers enjoy a much more exclusive experience, snorkeling Molokini Crater alone on the Sunrise Deluxe Snorkel, the only vessel to do so on Maui, and an incredibly relaxed experience on the Signature Deluxe Snorkel, our most popular tour. Our passengers snorkel the same amount as other boats but spend less time sailing upwind and battling seasickness. And what if you just want to enjoy a South Maui sunset from the water? We’ve got you covered with our Adventure Sunset Sail

For the discerning adventurer, the Beach Load is an incredible experience and many guests find it was the funnest part of their funnest day on their Maui vacation. Want to come find out for yourself? Book your tour today and receive a 10% discount just for booking online. We look forward to the adventure!