A Trip Onboard a Hawaiian Sailing Canoe

Looking at my itinerary for my trip to Maui I saw an interesting activity. We were scheduled to sail on a Hawaiian Sailing Canoe. I instantly envisioned a typical Canadian type canoe with a post in the middle holding a sail but what I later saw was something slightly different.

A Hawaiian Sailing Canoe in Wailea, Maui


I came to learn that a Hawaiian sailing canoe with essentially a large canoe with an outrigger for balance and at the front sat a mast and sail to help the boat go even faster than man power. Polynesians were believed to have come from the Marquesa Islands and Tahiti over 2,000 years ago on these ships – sailing over 2,600 miles with out much in between to Hawaii in these boats. They used everything from stars to birds, water temperature and clouds to navigate their way across the pacific ocean.

Today there are only roughly 20 of these sailing canoes in all of Hawaii with the Maui Sailing Canoe the Hina being the only one on the whole island of Maui. Made from newer materials modelled off of an original sailing canoe the Hina now does two daily sailing tours which depart from the Polo Beach in Wailea Maui. Each tour holds 6 people and lasts about 2 hours. You can choose to enjoy the sun and lay out on the mesh or try  your hand at learning to row the canoe. Near the end of the tour they stop for people to go snorkelling and you have a good chance of seeing some sea turtles and depending on the season you might even see a whale or two.

Tips for going on the Maui Sailing Canoe:

  • Snorkel gear is provided as is water and juice.
  • Don’t bring anything valuable unless it is waterproof. If needed the crew and lock away small belongings on shore.
  • Wear your bathing suit and/or clothes you don’t mind getting wet.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!

Sage Owner: Operator of the Maui Sailing Canoe

While on the sailing canoe we learned a lot from Sage the owner and guide who was very knowledgeable not only about the history of the boats but also about Maui and Hawaii. It was a fun morning trip and was way better than a typical sailing trip in Hawaii when you are crammed on to a large boat with a bunch of strangers guzzling Mai Tais… not that Mai Tais are a bad thing… I actually really like a good Mai Tai… Mmmm.

To see more about the trip of course watch the video above!

My trip to Maui was provided by the Maui Visitors Bureau. As always all views and opinions expressed are my own. At no point did they ask me to get a sweet tan while sailing on the sailing canoe.

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  • Reply
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks
    July 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Sage is a cool guy! We went on a similar tour with him last year. Great story teller

    • Reply
      July 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      He was pretty great! Cool guy for sure :)

  • Reply
    July 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    That looks awesome and like so much fun!!

    • Reply
      July 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      It was a really fun day! I only wish the tour went even longer! :)

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