Is PacWhale Eco-Adventures open?
Our Lahaina retail store is now open in a limited capacity that allows us to enforce safety protocols and physical distancing between customers as well as staff. Our Eco-Adventures are temporarily suspended until local restrictions allow for operation. Please continue to check our website for updates.
What can I do to support PacWhale Eco-Adventures?
You can support us by booking a future trip or purchasing a gift card directly from our website. We begin taking reservations June 1st, 2020. As a social enterprise, PacWhale Eco-Adventures primary purpose is to fund and support Pacific Whale Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean through science and advocacy and inspiring environmental stewardship. The COVID-19 shutdown compromises the fortification and advancement of research, education and conservation work implemented 40 years ago on Maui. Your tax-deductible donation to PWF allows this important work to continue through the shutdown and beyond. You can make a donation and/or learn more about PWF’s programs and mission at pacificwhale.org.
Can I buy out the whole boat for a private trip?
Once we’re cleared to operate, absolutely! We will be reopening in accordance with state and local laws and orders and are working closely with governmental agencies to provide a safe venue for our guests. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Governor’s orders and follow the guidelines for individuals. To book a private charter, call 808-249-8811 or 1-800-WHALE11 (toll free).
I have allergies that cause me to cough and sneeze occasionally. Can I still join an Eco-Tour?
For the comfort of our passengers in these uncertain times, we ask that if you are coughing for any reason (beyond a quick cough to clear your throat) that you DO NOT join any group setting, including our Eco-Tours. We understand that it is allergy season, but given the heightened sensitivity to common allergy symptoms, we ask that you consider booking when pollen is not so prevalent or research a private charter.
Are you going to take my temperature?
While our primary concern is keeping our passengers, captains and crew as safe as possible, we realize that running a temperature doesn’t mean you have COVID-19 and, conversely, a person can be a coronavirus carrier without an elevated temperature. We strongly advise conducting at-home health and temperature checks in the days leading up to the trip. As a precaution, all guests will have their temperature taken using a digital “no touch” thermometer prior to boarding. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to board the boat.
With all these guidelines and restrictions, is this trip still going to be fun?
Are you kidding? It’ll be even more fun, given the past two months. Imagine breathing in fresh ocean air, snorkeling in pristine waters or relaxing on a sunset cruise. Plus, it’s an opportunity to enjoy our spacious, comfortable boats and expert crew with a smaller number of people onboard as our naturalists intimately share their passion for ocean conservation. As we all adjust to a new way of doing things, it’s even more important to find joy where you can. And we’re confident you’ll find that with us. It’s also a
chance to feel good about your purchase, which keeps our crew employed during this difficult time and funds Pacific Whale Foundation through social enterprise. With your continued support, we’ll be ready and here for you as things return to normal. Mahalo and a hui hou!
Is Hawaii safe for me and my family?
Rest assured that we are working closely with the government entities in Maui County to provide our guest with the safest environment and experience possible throughout the coming months. All travelers to the Islands should follow state and CDC’s guidelines for individuals. In addition, please review any and all orders issued by the governor and abide by state mandates regarding individuals and travel.
How can I help keep coastal residents safe?
The best and most effective way to keep everyone safe is to stay home if you are sick, experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or have knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19. Please advise us as soon as possible if you need to cancel your trip.
What is your cancellation policy?
Normally, we accept cancellations 48 days prior to the scheduled date of your trip. Due to the current health crisis, we will consider late cancellations related to the COVID-19 epidemic, i.e. quarantine, isolation or flu-like symptoms. As we do this in good faith, we deeply appreciative the earliest cancellation notice possible.
What if I start feeling sick a week or a few days before the trip?
Call us and let’s chat. Keeping our passengers, captains and crew safe is our No. 1 priority, without compromise. Due to current extenuating circumstances, we are extremely flexible when considering refund requests.
I took my temperature and exceeded the 100.4 threshold required for joining the tour. Can I get a refund?
es. We ask our guests to conduct their own health and temperature checks prior to arriving, however, if you are running a temperature, even as late as the morning of the trip, please call us for full refund. Again, we ask that you keep very close tabs on your own health and DO NOT COME IF YOU ARE SICK.
AT THE OFFICE
Is your office open?
Yes. Our office is currently open by appointment only. We’re also available via email or phone if you’d like to make a reservation or if you have any questions. Our email is [email protected] and our number is 808-249-8811, or you can call toll free 1-800-WHALE11.
Are your retail shops open to buy PacWhale swag?
Our Front Street, Lahaina retail location will open June 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In order to maintain required social distancing and keep everyone safe, we must limit the number of guests in our retail
stores. We appreciate your patience if you’re asked to wait until other shoppers have completed their shopping experience before entering the store. Please remember that you can also shop remotely via our newly designed e-commerce site at store.pacificwhale.org.
What is an e-waiver, and why do I need to sign it?
The new e-waiver will replace the previous physical check-in procedure. Per USCG requirements, we are required to keep a manifest of all guests on our vessel(s) and to allow contact tracing in the event of possible COVID-19 exposure while on board. For this purpose, we now require contact information on our waivers. In addition, your confirmation email will also include our policies regarding COVID-19 and identify possible risks should you choose to join us on an Eco-tour. Upon booking, we will send an email link for the e-waiver to the email address on file. The person who booked the reservation is responsible to forward a waiver for each adult in their party to complete. As this is a new system, we thank you in advance for your patience.
How do I check in, and can I check in early?
To avoid large gatherings in the office, we are temporarily checking in guests using our new e-waivers. At the time of your booking, we’ll send you a link where you can access and sign the waiver, followed by reminder 24 hours prior to your tour if the waiver hasn’t been signed. Once we receive the waiver, we’ll send instructions on where to meet the crew. Please be easily accessible by phone the day of the excursion in the event we need to contact you.
I signed the e-waiver. Do I need to do anything else to check in?
If you have paid and signed the e-waiver, you’re done. Please read the confirmation email carefully as it contains pertinent information on our COVID-19 policies, suggest items to bring on your excursion and meeting instructions for the Eco-tour. Please note the boat you’re on and the harbor your tour will leave from as we have multiple boats that operate from two separate harbors.
ON THE BOAT
How many people will be on the boat?
The number of people allowed onboard varies with each boat and trip type. Our current policy requires a minimum separation of six feet between groups. Most of our vessels are 65’ double deck catamarans, which easily accommodates social distancing while our guests enjoy on a smooth, comfortable ride. Generally, our tours will be operating at 50% capacity or less.
What is your policy on bringing your own gear vs. using the gear provided?
Our operation has three options for your convenience: Bring, Borrow or Buy gear. We are confident in our sanitization practices onboard and will continue to offer our gear free of charge to use while onboard. Of course, you’re always welcome to bring your own gear. We also sell our industry-leading silicone masks and purge snorkels in our store and offer a 25% discount with every excursion purchase.
How is the gear sanitized?
Following strict adherence to the manufacturer’s specifications, we submerge all masks and snorkels in commercial-grade sanitization solution. Staff members wearing gloves remove the equipment, let it dry, then safely store it. Gloves are used throughout the entire process of the guest receiving the equipment.
Can I go inside the main cabin onboard?
Due to physical distancing requirements, we are asking all passengers not seated in the main cabin to use this area sparingly, primarily when/if you need to use the head (restroom). Our crew members will be assisting you with any needed bar and food service to help maintain social distancing.
Do I need to wear a mask?
We are currently requiring face-coverings for all guests throughout the tour boarding process and while onboard our vessels, as well as in our retail stores. We ask that you bring your own snug-fitting mask, bandana, thick neck-sock or scarf. Most face-coverings are acceptable as long as they fully contain spray from a cough or a sneeze. We also offer PacWhale souvenir masks for sale in our retail stores.
Will deckhands be wearing face covering?
Yes, deckhands are required to wear face-coverings unless a safety concern dictates otherwise (ie, needs to have clearer vocal communication in order to keep folks safe) or performing duties that require public speaking or in-water activities. During these times, our crew will maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other employee or guest.
Will captains be wearing face covering?
Captains may wear face-coverings, but due to the nature of their duties (frequent radio and loudspeaker use that require clear vocal communications) this is not a strict requirement currently according to government mandates.
How can I tip the deckhand without shaking their hand?
There will be a jar on each boat if you’d like to tip your crew. If you prefer to leave a tip by card, you can do this on the tour or inform the office – we can help. Be sure to remember the tour and boat name so we get this to the appropriate crew.
Can I smoke onboard?
In 2006, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature passed sweeping laws under HRS328J expanding the scope of smoke-free prohibitions in various enclosed and partially enclosed areas. Effective January 1, 2016 the prohibition now includes electronic smoking devices also known as e-cigarettes. Furthermore, Maui county parks and beaches are also smoke free. [Maui County Code 13.040.20 amended by Ord 4120]. To learn more about Hawai`i’s Smoke Free Environment click HERE (include: https://health.hawaii.gov/tobacco/home/laws/)
I want to go but would rather not touch items handled by other guests/staff during the tour. What can I do?
For guests who prefer a no-touch tour, we have modified our policies to allow outside food and sealed non-alcoholic canned drinks on board. Guests may also bring their own snorkeling equipment, cups and floatation devices. Per Maui County Liquor Commission rules, we will check all coolers prior to boarding for alcohol to prevent outside alcohol from being consumed on the premises.
AFTER THE TRIP
Are your retail stores still offering a free gift after each tour?
Yes, our retail stores are ready to serve you and, as always, have a free gift (our way of saying mahalo to our guests) and will be providing these to you with gloved hand.