Riding a raft to Kauai’s Na Pali Coast

Eric Noland, Travel Editor

Spray frequently sloshes over the boat’s sides, so you have to be a trouper, because you’re going to get wet. The bathroom, meanwhile, is the ocean. The boat is stopped periodically and those who need to take care of business leap off the sides. (Might want to go light on coffee that morning.)

The crew was extremely professional, with no horseplay, and there wasn’t a drop of beer on board, even for the guests.

Even on the way back, when the winds whipped around us, the perspective from well offshore, at the very surface of the ocean, was somehow reassuring. If only because that’s how the ancients beheld the Na Pali Coast – a primeval wonder that has changed little since their day.

IF YOU GO

GETTING THERE: Kauai Sea Tours’ beach-landing raft excursion is offered from April to October (the winter is generally savage on the Na Pali Coast). Check-in time is 6:15 or 7:15 a.m. in Port Allen, about a half-hour drive from the Poipu Beach resorts. Although the tour company’s Web site says the trip lasts 6 to 6 1/2 hours, our boat departed just before 8 a.m. and was back by 1:45 p.m. Continental breakfast and picnic lunch are provided. With an Internet booking, the cost is $135 for adults, $105 for children ages 5 to 12.

INFORMATION: www.kauaiseatours.com; (800) 733-7997, (808) 826-7254.