Frequently Asked Questions
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How fit do I have to be?
You need a certain amount of strength and agility to climb in and out of the boat on to the swim step or over the side to the dock, and stamina for swimming. Age is usually not a factor. There is always the option to go with the group or to watch or to stay behind.
What will the weather be like?
Usually in Hawaii we have a good variety of changing weather. Expect a mixture of sunshine, wind, and/or rain on most trips. There may be certain areas where we can expect some "challenging" sea conditions, such as crossing channels upwind. Our Downwind cruise
usually eliminates this!
How rough will the water be?
We travel in protected areas most of the time. On many days of the summer the ocean is like sailing on a lake - flat and calm. Sometimes we cross into open water for periods of time where we may experience greater motion.
Do I need to bring sea sickness medication?
If you are prone to motion sickness it is a good idea to bring sea sickness medication. Check with your doctor. We always have ginger in different forms onboard.
Where can if find eco-friendly sunscreen? Please see our marine habitat safe sunscreen page.
Do I need boating experience?
You don't need boating or sailing experience to enjoy traveling on our boats. If you are interested in hands-on learning about boat operations our crew would be happy to involve you in navigation or helping on deck.
Can I participate on my own?
Yes. Many of our guests are single travelers. Our cabins accommodate two people in each. We will match you up with another single traveler of the same gender.
How far should I book in advance?
As sessions have limited availability, we advise you to submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your placement! However, it is sometimes possible to join a project at the last minute so please contact us if you are interested in traveling in the near term.
What are the cabins like?
All cabins on a large yacht are irregular sizes to fit the contours of the ship. Every cabin onboard the Nautlius can accommodate two people, one is design for three people - one double bunk, and two singles, the other has a single upper and larger lower. There is a stateroom with a queen bed and private bath. You will find that you don't spend much time in your cabin as there is always something to do or see on deck
How much storage is there in the cabins?
There is limited but adequate storage for the amount of gear you will need on our trips. Soft luggage, like a duffel bag or backpack is most easily stowed as it is compressible.We cannot accommodate hard suitcases.
Can I have my own cabin, or the stateroom?
On most trips we are not able to offer a private cabin to a single person. Guests are welcome to make special requests in advance, and we will try to fulfill them, if possible at the start of the trip.here is a $125 charge to reserve the private stateroom, otherwise it is first-come, first-served and up to our discretion.
Do you take children on your trips? Is there a discount for children?
We will consider taking children. It depends on the age and the maturity level of the child. Parents /guardians are solely responsible for their children while on board. Some of our trips are not open to children. We have a limited amount of spaces. A child takes up a whole space and pays full price.
How often do we get off the boat?
We are one of the few yacht charters that spend most of the time onboard, or in the water What's the point in using the boat as a taxi and/or floating hotel for land-based activities? Let's go boating, wildlife viewing, fishing, snorkeling, free diving, etc..... We do have a kayak onboard, or we can swim ashore to private beaches or wilderness hikes, but it is probably to your benefit to do land-based activities before or after your charter. That said, we don't mind spending the day at the dock, saving fuel, napping, etc. if you want to spend land time :)
Smoking on board?
There is no smoking allowed onboard the boats.
I'm not an experienced kayaker. How stable is your kayak?
We usually have one double kayak (two people fit in the kayak). It is a wonderful way to enjoy solitude and explore the shoreline. Our crew will be happy to give you instruction and get you started. We use it in sight of the boat when we are at anchor.
Can I bring my hairdryer, electric shaver? Can I recharge my video batteries?
Yes, we have regular 110v household current available at all times.
Can I use my cellular phone?
While we usually have coverage on Oahu, it can be poor to non-existent in areas in anchorages of Molokai or Lanai. We can often catch a signal when under-way - just depends on where we are. For instance, being in the shadow of the sea cliffs on the back side of Molokai will block signals until you are a few miles away offshore. Our guests comment on how much they enjoy the simplicity of ship-board life and a break from technological demands.
How often can I shower?
We carry a good supply of water but it is important to remember that a boat is totally self-contained and in wilderness areas not always near a water supply. We ask that people not shower every day to help conserve water.We can also show you ways to conserve water where you can comfortably shower a couple times a day with very little water use.
Do you offer vegetarian or special diet menus?
All of our meals are served buffet style. We can usually accommodate dietary concerns if we are given sufficient advance notice.
Is it appropriate to tip the crew? How much?
If you feel that the crew have made your trip special and wish to show your appreciation a tip is very much appreciated. How much? 5-10% ?
What qualifications do the crew have?
Besides marine biologists (either by degree or life experience in the field). our skippers are all Coast Guard licensed Captains and usually the owners of the company! Our educated crew are all highly qualified with experience and training in emergency procedures, boat handling and mechanics, and first aid.
What wildlife will I see?
We expect to see a variety of wildlife
on all our trips, and have years of experience on the best places to find preferred species. That said, wildlife is wild life and it is only luck that determines how close wildlife comes to us or how spectacular their behavior. We always take a cautious approach when observing wildlife. We do not want to apply any pressure to animals that could result in a change in their behavior.
What kind of equipment is good for photographing wildlife?
If you are intent on getting good wildlife pictures, you should contemplate bringing a long lens. A lens of 300mm seems ideal, while lenses with lengths of 180-300mm generally give good results. Consider bringing additional fairly fast film to capture whale breaches and other action photos, and to allow photography in the low light of morning or evening.
Will I be able to fish?
Our trips focus mainly on wildlife. Surprisingly, only a small number of our guests are interested in fishing
with the hope of providing dinner. Let us know so we will be sure and have gear onboard.