We chartered Honolulu Sailing's Gaugin sailboat for a three-hour "Sunset Sailing/Snorkeling" private tour to celebrate our anniversary. This tour is a great option for one or two couples, or perhaps a small family, who want to enjoy the beautiful waters near Waikiki on a vessel that isn't packed with tourists.
We boarded the Gaugin from the marina at the Kewalo Basin Harbor, which is between Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu. Captain Rick, an experienced sailor, welcomed us onboard, and First Mate Sebastian offered to stow our possessions. Sebastian said he would be happy to do whatever he could to make our journey comfortable, safe, and fun. He did not disappoint us.
The Gaugin has a covered passenger section in the aft part of the boat that seats four comfortably with table between them. There is also space near the bow where you can sit or stand. (If the ocean is choppy, you'll need to hold onto the mast or ropes when you're upfront.) Below deck, there is a small galley with a refrigerator, stove, and table, as well as two bathrooms.
We brought our own cooked food and beverages, which Sebastian brought up to us from the galley whenever we wanted. He also reheated the food that needed to be served warm, and he cleaned up afterwards. Although his primary job is to help the captain and ensure our safety, he couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.
Sadly, Mother Nature was less cooperative. It was cloudy and cool most of the time (unusual for late April), and light rain fell intermittently. Captain Rick went further offshore than he had planned to escape the rain, which was heavier near the shore. Unfortunately, the weather prevented us from seeing a beautiful ocean sunset, which we had been looking forward to. Nevertheless, we still had a really good time on the boat, had some nice picture-taking opportunities near Diamond Head, Waikiki, and Kakaako, and we enjoyed learning about sailing from Captain Rick and Sebastian, and hearing about some of their previous adventures.
Incidentally, I had made our reservation through the Honolulu Sailing Co. web site. When I first attempted to pay, my credit card was unexpectedly declined. A few minutes later, I got an email from my bank asking if I had initiated this purchase and wanted it to be approved. That was a little scary, but I took a chance and said yes, and I was then able to complete the transaction . I can imagine that many prospective passengers experiencing a similar credit card issue would simply switch to a different sailing company. If my experience was common, Honolulu Sailing without realizing it may be missing out on potential customers.