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Feb 04, 2016

A Glass Act: Hawaii Glass Bottom Boat

It's a crisp afternoon in Honolulu. Overhead, the sun is shining, the trades are lightly blowing, and yet another perfect day is unfolding.

Amid the afternoon sun, the Queen of Haleiwa, a twin-engine boat equipped with a glass bottom and a load of smiling passengers, makes its short journey from its slip in Kewalo Harbor toward the iconic slopes of Diamond Head. Through the boat's glass deck, those on board can take in the reef, sea life, and history of this special place without even setting foot in the water.

As the boat leisurely chugs along, the friendly members of the crew point out a pod of dolphins thundering nearby. Below, through the boat's visible glass deck, an array of fish and colorful reef slip passed. Once the boat has passed the fabled lineups of Waikiki, it comes to a halt as the afternoon light moves into overdrive. Time for Mother Nature's daily show.

Gleefully, many of the occupants of the Queen of Haleiwa jump into the ocean, taking in one of the finest views of the Waikiki skyline and sunset from sea level. As the sun begins to creep toward the horizon, the Queen of Haleiwa, with its beaming customers wide eyed and full of laughter, treks back to Kewalo Harbor, another perfect trip under its belt.

"It's so gratifying to see how excited people get when they can see the reefs, fish, and Waikiki skyline from our boat," explains Kenny Cole, co-founder of Hawaii Glass Bottom Boat. "This is a new boat that we had built about year ago, so our customers really appreciate that. We've put a lot of planning and energy into making this experience the best it can be for everyone. So it's just such a great feeling when our customers get to build a memory they'll never forget with us."

As Cole mentioned, he, along with co-founder Leif Robinson, both accomplished waterman and mariners, started the business recently with a hope of sharing their passion with both locals and visitors alike.

There's just so much to see and do on our tours, and we're only a short ride from harbor, so it's not a real mission. People are pretty amazed at just how much fish and reef you can see from the boat, despite being right here in the heart of the city, it really is quite amazing.

According to Cole, they're currently offering daytime, sunset, and private tours for those interested in seeing the city through a new lens. Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. They also plan to offer snorkeling tours in the near future as well.

"You really can't go wrong with any of our tours. They're all special in their own right and we try and teach people some of the history of the area along the way," added Cole. "That being said, it's hard to beat our fireworks tour. Every Friday evening, we'll head out to the reef and watch the firework show from the waters of Waikiki. It's such a great experience to see it from that angle. It's almost like a drive-in movie."

Whether you're just visiting Oahu or have lived here for decades, a tour of Waikiki by a glass-bottom boat is something that everyone should experience. To learn more about Hawaii Glass Bottom Boats, check out their website.

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Kewalo Harbor

1240 Ala Moana Blvd

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