June 2007

Set Sail on the Pau Hana and Leave your Stress Onshore

Author: Jimmy Leppert

Several sights and experiences are musts while on Hilton Head Island: sunsets on the water, Harbour Town, Daufuski Island, dolphins up close, reuniting with old friends and making new ones. Lucky for us, there is one experience that can provide all these and a fresh breathe of Lowcountry air!

For the past decade, Captain John and First Mate, Jeanne, of the Pau Hana have provided locals and tourists a reprieve from the stress of life. It is no surprise so many locals book Hilton Head’s biggest catamaran for large private parties or special evenings on the water with visiting family and friends. (“Open sails” are particularly fun for this.) John and Jeanne have sea tales of wedding receptions, business parties, and family outings that speak to the remarkable nature of the experience. Their other sailboat, the Flying Circus, offers a more private, intimate experience on the water for a maximum of six people. With the Pau Hana and Flying Circus approaching their 20th year of charter operation, you are sure to enjoy your time on the water.

Pau Hana is Polynesian for “finished work” and the celebration that follows. Since the maiden voyage, John and Jeanne have made this experience a welcoming one for children of all ages. It is not uncommon to see full families, young couples, and grandparents reveling aboard the catamaran. With solid sides and lots of walk-around deck space, the boat is very child-friendly.

Jeanne, a 27-year island resident, can hold the ear of both a four-year-old and a veteran Lowcountry historian. The cruise is enhanced with local folklore and modern ecological education about the wildlife (dolphins, cranes, and more) and the charming Lowcountry waterways. Even the hot summer sun cannot spoil this experience; the shore breeze, coupled with a covered area onboard, allows for cooling shade and an escape from the heat and humidity of the South.

The sunset tour departs from Palmetto Bay Marina as the sun is just starting its colorful approach to the horizon. The boat tacks its way down Broad Creek, surrounded by the estates of Spanish Wells and the majestic tidal creek marshes. You sail by Sea Pines with a view of the famous Harbour Town Lighthouse. The open water and abundance of wildlife surrounds you as you sail into the Calibogue Sound. From there, the tour takes you to Daufuski Island, made famous by Pat Conroy in his book The Water is Wide. These sights are what make the Lowcountry legendary. As you come about and sail toward the creek, a waterfall of passionate colors cascades over the water, the sights and the dolphins swimming beside the boat. This is an opportune time for “young” captains to take the helm and family and friends to pose for that perfect sunset shot.

To complement your sailing experience, you are more than welcome and encouraged to bring your own picnic and favorite libation. It is common to see everyone on the boat with their dinner or snack, sharing with other passengers and toasting the sunset. Jeanne jokes that people are able to walk around “sailing faster than the speed of the wind, without spilling a drop of their drink.”

As the tidal waters of the Lowcountry change, we are fortunate to have such jewels as the Pau Hana and The Flying Circus. Afternoon and evening dolphin watch/sunset excursions are offered daily on the Pau Hana. The Flying Circus is available for private trips from morning to evening. For more information, current schedules and pricing, please call Jeanne at 843-686-2582.

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