Travel Blog #168 – Snorkeling Lanai With Paragon Sailing Charters

Aug 2, 2021 | Activity Information

Paragon Sailing Charters operates a type of catamaran that is not utilized by anyone else in the Hawaiian Islands. The designer of the catamarans that are used by Paragon Sailing Charters is the owner of the company, Eric Barto. Eric worked closely with the company that manufactured the boat for him on the mainland to ensure that he got exactly what he wanted. The basic ideas behind the design are simple. To start he took a catamaran design with a large spacious deck layout, then worked to lighten it and make it as efficient as possible. To achieve his goal he used some methods that were downright genius.

To begin he lightened up the entire chassis of the boat by utilizing high tech composite materials. Erik shaped the hulls to be as sleek as he could so they could cut through the water as efficiently as possible. Once he perfected the hull design he moved on to the rigging. He wanted the boat to utilize the power of the wind to achieve very high top speeds so he employed a carbon fiber mast that is not only extremely light weight, but also shaped like the blade of a knife so it can literally cut through the wind. When he was done he finished off the package with a top of the line mainsail and spinnaker. Because the entire boat weighs in around 8 tons he was able to get away with powering it by utilizing a single 90 outboard motor that is rigged so it can be completely pulled out of the water when it is not being used (to minimize drag).
We checked in at the Lahaina Harbor to begin our days trip with Paragon Sailing Charters. The crew of the boat was just finishing stocking the boat with supplies for the days trip when we arrived. The captain and the first mate welcomed us with large smiles and then invited us onto the boat. Within about fifteen minutes the rest of the passengers arrived and we began our journey over to the island of Lanai.

There was a breakfast buffet that was set up inside the cabin of the boat. I helped myself from the assortment of fruits, muffins, bagels and also got a cup of coffee. Once I was done creating my plate I moved towards the front of the boat to eat breakfast on the trampolines that connect the two parallel hulls of the boat.

Right after I was done eating we came across our first bit of action for the day, it came in the form of a late season pod of whales (for a trip to Lanai during the first week of May that was a pretty lucky thing to see!). Soon enough after that we were pulling up to our first snorkel spot of the day. I retrieved my dive bag from the cabin and began to get geared up for the dive.
Since I was young Ive been diving in the ocean quite a bit. Over the years Ive gotten pretty particular with my gear so I always bring my own gear when I go on dive trips. I like to have a weight belt that has the right amount of weight on it to match whatever suit Im wearing. (For my half suit jacket its normally about 7lbs, for my full suit its normally around 12 lbs). The spot we were diving at is one of my favorite locations in the state. I brought my full suit so I could be extra warm (which normally helps me have longer/deeper dives).

Soon enough we were in the water swimming around exploring the reef. Our captain had taken us to a snorkel area called Sweatheart Rock. This area is the setting for an ancient Hawaiian love legend, as well as some incredible snorkeling. It is a marine preserve so there is no fishing allowed, which helps to keep the populations of fish that inhabit this reef very healthy. However, the real reason why I like diving at this location is because of the incredible structure that can be found under the water. There are some large underwater arches and caves that I really like to swim though and explore. Today I came across some very nice fish, the most notable were a large male Uhu (Parrotfish) and a Black Striped Papio (Jack). After about 45 minutes I made my way back to the boat.

Once we were all aboard the Captain steered us into the harbor and the first mate handed out our picnic kits. Once we were tied up to the pier we got of the boat and made our way towards Hulope Beach. Many people consider this beach to be the nicest one on Lanai. It is located very close to the Manele Harbor and we were able to walk over there in about 10 minutes. We stopped here to eat our lunches and swim and then we made our way out on the point to take some more pictures of Sweatheart Rock from other side. After this we made our way back to the harbor where the boat was waiting to take us back to Maui.

Once onboard our crew hoisted the sails and we sailed all the way back to the middle of the channel where we stopped to take a blue water swim. When we were done swimming we all got back on the boat and made our way back into the Lahaina Harbor. As I got off the boat I said good bye to the crew and asked them a few last questions I had. During this conversation it came to light that because the boat was constructed how it was, we were able to do the whole trip all the way to Lanai and back on this 47 boat, with 24 people onboard….. Using only about 12 gallons of gasoline.