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The reflection of the blue sky in the crystal clear waters in Molokini and the myriad array of colorful fishes of different types remains indelibly written in my mind as I reflect on my snorkeling experience during a sailing catamaran Trilogy Adventure to the Lizard's Tail.

The 50+ tourists who made the cruise, along with my wife and I, were so excited that they kept repeating phrases, such as "fantastic", "unbelievable", and "adventurous", as they praised Captain Dusty Poortinga and his three member crew of the 50-foot sloop-rigged catamaran, "Trilogy V", which was built in 1996 by Shaw Boats in Aberdeen, Washington.

It is one of six catamarans operated by Trilogy Excursions, which began operations more than 30 years ago and has become an travel institution, delighting thousands of visitors each year with the best that Hawaii has to offer. Trilogy is Hawaii's premier family-owned and operated ocean and island recreation company and has been voted by Maui's top ten as the Number 1 activity on Maui.

Trilogy completed a 55-foot catamaran, named Trilogy 2, better known in the fleet as T-2, specifically for Hawaiian Islands cruising, and one of the first composite/expoxy catamarans certified by the United States Coast Guard. It was built by Coon Bros./Chamberlain Enterprises of Maui with a capacity for 49 passengers and crew. It is powered by twin 200 turbo Volvo diesel engines.

In July of 1991, Trilogy completed another composite catamaran, this time, a 51-foot high-tech sailing machine called Trilogy 3 (TIII). It was also built by Coon Bros. Inc. and licensed for 49 passengers and crew. The sloop rigged catamaran has twin 130-hp turbo Volvo diesel, with awning, netting forward, two heads, cushions, full electronics, and galley.

The company's largest is a Searunner cutter rigged catamaran build in 1993 by Shaw Boats in Aberdeen, Washington, and is a 64 foot cat licensed for 92 passengers plus a crew of four. It has a twin 350 hp Yanmar turbo diesel with full electronics, covered cabin, netting forward and aft, two heads, large galley, cushioned seating inside and outside.

Trilogy followed this up in 1996 with the construction of a 50-foot sloop rigged catamaran. It was built by Multis by Millett, Lalwai, Kauai, and is licensed for 49 passengers, plus crew. It is designed with electric heads, large galley, full electronics, Twin 230 Yanmar turbo diesel engines, two cushioned seating, custom dive ladder, forward netting, twin swim steps aft and shade awning.

Get Your Sailing Gear HereThat same year the company built a 54-foot sloop rigged catamaran. It was also built by Shaw Boats and licensed for 76 passengers plus crew. With twin 200 HP turbo Volvo diesel engines, the vessel is equipped with two electric heads, covered cabin, cushioned seating, large galley, netting forward, custom swim steps forward, twin swim steps aft, and full electronics.

Two years later, in 1998, the company had the Manele Kai, a 32-foot aluminum inflatable vessel build by ALMAR in Seattle, Washington. It has a normal capacity of up to 24 persons plus the crew. It is equipped with a massive 315 HP Yanmar turbo diesel engine 270 Hamilton Jet drive, twin dive ladders, and covered and cushioned seating.

The latest addition to the fleet is Trilogy VI, built in 2000 by Pacific Rim Yachts in Aberdeen, Washington. It is 54-foot catamaran and is licensed for 76 passengers plus crew. It is equipped with twin 350 HP Yanmar diesel engines, two electric heads, covered cabin, cushioned seating, large galley, netting forward, custom swim steps forward, twin swim steps aft, and full electronics.

Discover Molokini

The crew of Trilogy V has as
much fun as the guests.

The Trilogy V "Discover Molokini" snorkeling experience began at 6.30 a.m. as my wife and I checked in with the others at slip #99 at Ma'alaea Harbor, located on Highway 30. Captain Poortinga called out the names for all those who were booked for the day's experience and he expressed particular delight on learning that Jetsetters Magazine was planning to write something about the trip, which is made seven days a week.

With all the passengers accounted for, Captain Poortinga and his crew . . . Tammy Chmiel, Dave Politano and Milton Yamashita, made certain that everyone was served with Mom's homemade cinnamon rolls and the Captain's Blend coffee, along with seasonal fruit of a wide variation.

As Trilogy V made its way to the first stop at Molokini Crater, there was a sense of eagerness by all onboard to either snorkel or scuba dive. On this trip, the majority on board comprised of young couples who had tied the knot in Maui and were full of energy to experience the thrill of a lifetime.

Tammy ensured that everyone who was going to snorkel or dive understood the safety steps to be followed and showed the hand sign of wanting to quit swimming, if necessary. She ensured that all understood what they were getting into and she kept a wary eye on those who ventured into the water. A Dive Master is present in the water at all times as a floating lifeguard.

Trilovy V anchored at Molokini Crater, a small crescent-shaped island, which is a marine preserve below water and a bird sanctuary above water. The island's nickname is Lizard's Tail and it is 18 square acres in size.

Hawaii has nine species of Triggerfish;
the Hawaiian translation:
hu-mu hu-mu nu-ku nu-ku a pu-a-'a ,
"fish with a pig-nosed face."

The crew fitted passengers with snorkeling gear and scuba-diving equipment, while other passengers fascinated with the catamaran itself. Trilogy V has a capacity for 76 passengers and is powered by twin 200 HP Turbo Volvo diesel engines, two electric heads, covered cabin, cushioned seating, large galley, netting forward, custom swim steps forward, twin swim steps aft, and full electronics. It is a 1,200 square foot automated sails cat, and 54 feet in length by 27 feet abeam.

The snorkeling that followed was my best experience so far, and I have been to Bonaire, USVI, and Belize. The multi-colors below the water were dazzling and the sizes of the various types of fishes evoked considerable interest amongst all of us.

The area boasted of more varieties of tropical fish and endemic marinelife than almost anywhere else in Hawaii. The array of fishes includes Damsefish, triggerfish (the state fish of Hawaii), butterfly, angelfish, bright yellowfish, Moorish fish, wrasse, and coral of all descriptions. Then a turtle came by, adding to our experience.

Ma'alaea Bay -

After a lunch of teriyaki BBQ chicken , salad and corn on the cob served by the Captain, Trilogy V made its way to the second dive site of the day, which was equally fascinating and where some of the passengers opted for swimming, while others snorkeled and took part in scuba diving activities.

Ma'alaea Bay is famous for world class flatwater speed sailing and the crystal clear underwater experience was a Gauguinian pallette to behold. One passenger accidentally threw overboard a piece of bread and there was a big "woosh" as over one dozen fish scrambled for the crumbs.

On the trip back to the dock, many of the passengers expressed thanks to the Captain and crew and pledged to return for another exciting and exhilarating Trilogy sailing experience. Many of them purchased Trilogy T-shirts, hats, Trilogy logo products and other items.

Cruise p
rices range from $75 and up, depending on the program selected. Call Trilogy at 888/MAUI-800 for details. Or write to Trilogy, PO Box 1119, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96767-1119, or access Its an experience you would not want to miss. Aloha!

By Edwin Ali, Caribbean Correspondent.