Captain Max boat cruises

by Mariam Beard • Last Updated: October 2022

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Are you looking for a unique snorkeling experience with turtles? Look no further than Captain Max boat cruises! In this video, we review the experience of snorkeling at Turtle Canyon with Captain Max boat cruises.

What is Turtle Canyon?

Turtle Canyon is a reef formation just off the coast of Waikiki, where Hawaiian green sea turtles get their shells cleaned by the fish. It’s a popular snorkeling spot and a lot of boat cruises will take you there.

How does it work?

We checked in with Captain Max boat cruises at Kewalo Basin Harbor, which is about three or four miles from Waikiki. The boat is a 32 foot high-speed rigid hull inflatable boat, which is really small and quick. The groups are limited to just 6 guests plus a captain and one crew member, providing a nice small and intimate experience.

Once the boat was set, the captain gave us the green light and we were able to put on our snorkel gear and hop in the water.

The cruise INCLUDES snorkel mask, fins and a life jacket. This is important to note because most snorkel cruises only provide snorkel vests – which are inflatable vests. The captain stayed on the boat and the crew member was in the water with us the entire time as our in-water guide.

The cruise runs multiple times throughout the day, so if you want a specific time or specific day it’s definitely good to book early. Especially since it only takes 6-guests!

What to wear and bring

Wear your swimsuit underneath your clothing because there’s nowhere to change on the boat. There’s also no bathrooms on board but the harbor does have a public restroom. The boat is 100% open with no shade, so definitely make sure to pack or wear your reef safe sunscreen.

I prefer my own gear so I always bring my own snorkel gear but snorkel rentals are included with the tour. I’d also recommend packing sunglasses and a hat because the boat is completely open and there is no shade. I’d also recommend bringing a bottle of water as well.

Overall Review

I really like this tour. I love snorkeling and this boat did not disappoint. This trip is great if you’re looking to snorkel and come back right afterwards. The whole cruise is only 1.5 hours. There’s no food or drink served on board and you’re not sailing afterwards. You’re going just to snorkel with turtles and coming back right after.

The boat departs from Kewalo Basin Harbor. If you’re staying in Waikiki, Kewalo Basin Harbor is about 4 miles from Waikiki. While there is paid parking at the harbor, keep in mind that the harbor can get very busy. If you decide to drive, give yourselves ample time to find parking in case the parking lot is full.

Visibility varies

I’ve been to Turtle Canyon on days where the visibility is so clear you can see fish and turtles in the water from the boat. I’ve also been on other days where there’s High Surf and the visibility is less than great.

Overall, this is a great tour if you’re looking for a short 1.5 hour long activity. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a small group snorkel experience to just go snorkel and come back afterwards. If you’re prone to motion sickness and very long boat rides don’t work well for you, this entire cruise is only 1.5 hours.

If you like this video, check out our other snorkeling videos and our itinerary idea Series where we show you different things you can do here on the island.


The number one thing that I would highly recommend that you bring is some sort of waterproof bag. People are getting on and off the boat, they’re wet, and water is dripping from them. If you have something valuable that you don’t want to get wet, such as any camera gear or cell phones, it is an excellent idea to get a waterproof bag.

My favorite waterproof bag is a 25 liter in mint green. It’s padded, has clips to make it comfortable, and it’s completely waterproof. It’s also big enough to fit a towel, cell phone, hat, and whatever else you need. It also has a clip section to clip on your sandals, flip-flops, or slippers, so they don’t get misplaced. There’s an outside zipper for you to put more things, but this is not waterproof. On the inside of the bag, there’s an inside pocket where you can put your wallet and cell phone.

Size: 25L, Color: mint green

What I Use:

My personal favorite for underwater is the GoPro Hero 10:

The (optional) underwater housing I use is also by GoPro:

When I’m doing underwater shots for snorkeling, I’ll use a red filter to grab more colors. Although the GoPro 10 is waterproof, I like using the underwater housing (with or without the red filters) to keep it clear of any saltwater. If you opt to use the GoPro brand red filter, you’ll have to use the underwater housing “shell” to attach it.


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Aloha! I'm Mariam.

I'm an Oahu resident sharing my adventures here in Hawaii to help take the guesswork out of planning your trip to Hawaii.

I've worked full-time as a concierge for a decade and have planned thousands of itineraries for travelers like you!


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