Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Molokini kayaks open the world below the waves

Published on June 18, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a glass bottomed boat? Garishly painted cattle boats full of sunburnt tourists peering out at the murky depths? Well Clear Blue Hawaii would like to change that.

The Hawaii-based company produces a range of transparent bottomed kayaks, SUPs and RIBs, all fitted with their trademarked ‘Clear Blue™ Viewing Window’, so you can paddle and watch the underwater world as you go. “A tiny window,” I hear you cry, “A tiny window does not a glass bottomed boat make!” Wait ‘til you meet the stunning Molokini.

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The Molokini kayak is the closest you’ll ever get to an invisible boat, it’s entirely see through (or should that be sea through?) and, so as long as you’re paddling through clear water, you have an uninterrupted view of the wonders below the waves.

The Molokini is made from polycarbonate, the same material used to produce bulletproof glass and fighter pilot cabins, so there’s no risk of cracking the hull. However if you do get a bit close to the rocks and scratch the kayak’s transparent bottom, the manufacturers assure us that visibility will not be affected.

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In perfect conditions, when the weather and the waves are just right, it is possible to see over 20 metres down, which is deeper than PADI recommend for open water divers. 20 metres is good enough visibility to see a lot of fish, as the attractive ones tend to stay pretty close to the surface.

The Molokini is named after a crescent-shaped Hawaiian island, which is in fact a partially-submerged volcanic crater and Hawaii’s only ‘Island Marine Sanctuary’. It’s exactly the kind of place that you would want to be kayaking in, especially in a see through kayak.

The Molokini is flat bottomed so, while you’re drifting around mesmerised by the pretty fishes, you are unlikely to be capsized by a wavelet. However that shallow bottom doesn’t mean bad tracking as the Molokini comes equipped with three retractable skegs. Skegs are essentially mini keels, they can be raised if you’re paddling over shallow coral and lowered when you want to go in a straight line, helping you get back to that happy hour cocktail just that little bit faster.

This is a glass-bottomed boat built for two and comes with a pair of removable seats in addition to the three skegs and a hand bailer. The Molokini also has a removable aluminium frame that can be removed using hand-turnable knobs and, once the frame is removed, the kayaks can be stacked – perfect if you’re planning on buying a couple, and even more perfect if you’re planning on buying a fleet.

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If you’re looking for something a bit more portable (or cheaper) the Clear Blue Hawaii range also includes a few other ocean bottom viewing options. There are three versions of their inflatable kayak – two single seaters of differing lengths and a double – that come with either a transparent or solid bottom, and the Napali – the world’s only foldable transparent kayak.

The Napali weighs in at only 26kg and is made from a high-tech, durable and corrosion-resistant internal Carbon Kevlar frame system covered with a transparent military-grade Urethane skin and, like the Molokini, it’s almost invisible.

In the words of rock legends Queen: Glass bottomed boats they make the yachting world look down (sorry).

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