Thursday, April 4, 2019

Saying Farewell: Hawaii UnCruise

Looking Back on the last 4 years with UnCruise Hawaii

Crew bonding at the erupting volcano
Humpback whale tail action
No Boat, No Problem
2019 Crew w/Danny and Anna Akaka
  It has been a heck of a ride running as Expedition Leader aboard the UnCruise vessel Safari Explorer on their Hawaiian Islands adventure cruise these past four years. I have been able to work with some wonderful people, meet some amazing locals, and give so many guests the trip of a lifetime. I have been able to see new wildlife that I had never seen before, and I was able to finally step foot onto the island of Molokai, and experience the 'Friendly Isle' at its best.
2019 Crew, my last day

Monk seal snorkel, 5 Sisters Lana'i
This made the cover of the Brochure
   The trips are seven days filled with snorkeling, whale watching, kayaking, hiking, cultural immersions, wining and dining (for the guests), and educational presentations. It is truly adventure luxury at its finest and a very unique way to see the Hawaiian Islands. Not many people ever get to the islands of Lanai and Molokai. We would do both every week. We would also cross the infamous Alenuihaha Channel every week. While it is no Drake Passage or Cape Horn, there is a reason no one else does this crossing with any regularity.

Halawa Valley, Molokai
Greg pounding poi, Molokai
 Breaching humpback whales, bowriding dolphins, nighttime manta rays, and swimming with sea turtles was the norm. Beaked whales, whale sharks, roughtooth dolphins, pilot whales, false killer whales, pygmy killer whales, oceanic white tip sharks, hammerhead sharks, monk seals, and black footed albatross were some of the rarities.

The Dillons: Backwall Molokini

  There are too many highlights to write down but here are a few that come to mind. Swimming with 40 hammerheads, pilot whales, oceanic white tips, and an albatross with Captain Zodiac adventures. Also letting our blind passenger drive the zodiac with Mitch and Collin at top speed an a flat calm day offshore Kona. Seeing an aerial collision of two humpback whales who were fighting over a female. The Dillon Family Christmas trip pictured above. Skurfing pre whale season, jumping off the top deck, Molokai Pizza parties, a New Years Eve beer, levitating out of my bunk crossing the Alenuihaha, stealthy surf sessions to Honolua Bay, cruising the 3000ft sea cliffs on Molokai's North shore, the list of baby names, the whale shark birthday drawing, crew Movie nights, seeing my baby in Lahaina, and making the trip seem smooth when the boat was not there....twice.

the rare Black Morph of
the Longnose Butterflyfish

 I don't know how many fish presentations, photography talks, whale presentations, star talks, shark talks, next adventures, and slideshows I did but it felt great giving them. It seemed like I was able to make the experience a little more immersive for many of the guests. I mean who else would get them as excited about seeing the lauwiliwilinukunukuoi'oi'ele'ele....or the black longnose butterflyfish?
2017-2018 Crew
Aerial Collision
  Every year the crew that I was privileged to work with would blow me away with how professional and genuine they are. I could look at pictures of crew from each year and think about fun experiences with every single person.
One of my favorite shots
Kyle, Amanda, and Hannah
basking in the sunset
  While I am pretty bummed that I am not planning on going back to the Safari Explorer next winter, it will always hold a dear place in my heart. Thanks for all the wonderful memories everyone!
Frogfish at Mala Pier
2017-18 Crew

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Manta night snorkel, Kona

Kayaking at the blowhole, Lana'i
Sweetheart Rock: Pu'u Pe'e

Uncle Polipo, or 'Pops', welcoming us into Halawa Valley with
the traditional blowing of the Pu.