Aloha! As you are planning your vacation to Beautiful Kauai, we invite you to spend half a day with us on Catamaran Kahanu. Captain Lani and crew share an intimate Hawaiian ocean experience of our rich heritage and history of our ancestors and places we call home.
Come, take off your shoes, sit back and relax as we take you to see the Nai’a – playful spinning porpoises and dolphins, the Hawaiian green sea turtle – Honu, the Kohola – humpback whales December through April, cascading waterfalls, the mystical sea caves, pristine valleys, and the grandeur of the Na Pali Coast.
Enjoy this opportunity to breathe in the gentle sea breeze, swim or snorkel in the warm waters of Nualolo Kai (weather permitting) surrounded by tropical reef fish, see a Honu – Hawaiian green sea turtle, and have a delicious lunch with soft drinks after being in the cool waters while onboard, Catamaran Kahanu.
Since 1985, Captain Lani Swain and his wife Debbie have committed their lives to sharing the beauty of the Na Pali coast with visitors and their families from all over the world. Through their combined expertise they have sustained Catamaran Kahanu throughout the years.
An ocean man, Captain Lani loves surfing, fishing, sailing catamarans, and almost anything you can do in, on, or under the ocean. With over fifty years of ocean maritime experience and a lifetime of working and playing in the ocean you know you will have a safe and enjoyable tour on Kahanu. Captain Lani’s first priority when guest are onboard Kahanu is their safety. Captain Lani has been operating catamarans since 1971, and his pride and joy, is “Catamaran Kahanu”. When you ask him about work he will often say, “It’s another beautiful day at the office!” Captain Lani has a little gruff exterior but underneath you will find a man who lives aloha by showing love and respect for his kupuna, his ‘ohana, and this aina he calls home.
The sweet nahenahe voice you hear when you call Catamaran Kahanu is Debbie Uilani Swain. Your first point of contact with Catamaran Kahanu, she is there to answer any of your questions about our tours. Debbie lives aloha and shares it with everyone she comes in contact with. You will find her visiting the various island orientations sharing her knowledge about the island of Kauai and her Hawaiian culture with the malihini (visitors). Debbie has spent her entire career in guest service relations. She enjoys meeting people from around the world and sharing her knowledge about Kauai and Hawaiian culture with them. She also enjoys dancing hula to relax and continue to perpetuate her Hawaiian culture and her love of her family.
Captain Lani and Debbie express appreciation for all the blessings akua (God) has provided them from their ‘ohana to their employees along with the wonderful visitors who choose to spend their precious vacation time with Catamaran Kahanu.
One of our crew members you might meet on your trip is Captain Emma Shrack. Despite being born and raised in Kansas; Emma has always been a lover of all marine life. In college, she earned a B.S. in biology, focusing on marine biology, before rounding it out with a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, wanting to not only study marine life but also the effect the world has on its environment. In 2016, she finally began working on the oceans she loved so much and quickly fell in love with the humpback whales. To be with the whales year-round, she started to follow them on their annual migration, splitting her time between Alaska in the summers and Kauai in the winters. In addition to falling in love with the humpbacks, Emma also fell in love with the maritime industry and began working towards her captain’s license, after receiving much inspiration (and even more training) from Captain Lani. Emma loves educating our guests on the humpback whales and explaining many of the behaviors seen here in the winter as the humpbacks use the warm, Hawaiian waters as their birthing and mating location.
Year round, the waters around the Hawaiian islands are home to an amazing marine life such as sea turtles or honu, spinner dolphins or nai’a, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, and a great variety of native shore and seabirds. However, in the winter, the Hawaiian waters become just a little more magical with the arrival of the Hawaiian humpback whales or koholā. Every winter, thousands of humpbacks travel to the Hawaiian waters to give birth to their calves as well as mate for the following year, making it the only place in the United States where these majestic mammals reproduce. The humpback population, once devastated by whaling, is currently growing leading to more and more humpback sightings near Kauai. It’s estimated that around 12,000 individuals, more than half the population in the North Pacific, return to our beautiful waters every winter from December to April. Although many companies now offer whale watching trips, Captain Lani was the first one to work around these gentle giants in the waters around Kauai and his experience with the humpbacks is what gives our passengers a completely different experience. In fact, we like to say we don’t do whale watches, we do whale research and give passengers whale experiences. There are many things still being researched with humpbacks and many things never recorded, like an entire humpback birth, so we are always watching and recording new behaviors while giving passengers an up-close look at one of the most magnificent animals on the planet. Join us this winter season to get the chance to see these graceful giants known
for their singing, curiosity, and amazing acrobatics such as breaching, lunging, and tail slapping. There’s no doubt that they will truly steal the show.