While a Rappel Maui tour is a thrilling but safe activity, there are some natural hazards that exist out in the rainforest. The good news is, with just a little thought and planning, these common risks can be easily minimized and mitigated.
Insects: While there are mosquitoes in the rainforest, there is no malaria or dengue fever. If you are particularly sensitive to bites, we recommend wearing pants and a long-sleeved rash guard. We don’t recommend bug spray, since DEET can damage rappelling gear, and put chemicals into the rainforest streams. Wearing reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii is the law.
What’s in the Water: Sometimes longer expeditions take a turn for the worse when canyoneers fail to properly filter or purify their water from natural sources. Avoiding waterborne illness is easy–don’t drink the water from the streams or falls. Since there’s plenty of bottled water on your Rappel Maui tour, there’s no reason to do so.
Temperature: Getting too cold or too hot is a common show-stopper for canyoneers from Maine to Hawaii. If you know that you are prone to hypothermia or hyperthermia, plan and act accordingly. Don’t stay in the water if you find it very cold, and bring a rash guard or even a wetsuit top or wetsuit if you know you are sensitive to chilly water. Drink plenty of water and cool off in the pools if you’re feeling too warm. Eat a good breakfast/lunch and hydrate yourself before your tour. Bring towels and a dry change of clothing with you so that you can return in comfort after a day in the water and/or rain.
Rockfall: Rocks can and do move about in the water, especially when water levels rise rapidly. They can also be loosened on dry land by a number of factors, including climate. In this case, we don’t recommend “using your head.” Helmets save lives, and that’s why everyone wears a helmet, every day we go out, for the duration of the tour. No exceptions. Listen to your guides always, who will be watching for loose debris. Lean into the slope and look down (not up) if you hear someone yell, “Rock!”
Swift Water and Flash Floods: When water levels are high, or there is a threat of flash flooding, we stay out of the streams and waterfalls. We do dry rappels next to or overlooking the roaring falls on these days, the sights and sounds of which are unforgettable.
The Road to Hana: While you don’t drive all the way to Hana to reach the activity location, you do take the infamous Road to Hana about halfway there. It’s about an hour from Central Maui to the rappelling site, and so if you are prone to car sickness, please be prepared.
There are other hazards associated with canyoneering in general, but there are some that simply won’t apply to you on a Rappel Maui tour.
Hunters and Land Owners: Since we rappel with permission in a privately-owned valley, we don’t have to worry about angry farmers, ranchers or hunters.
Wildlife: The birds mind their own business, and the freshwater fish are so tiny, you need a little net to catch them. There are chickens and ducks nearby that belong to the arboretum, but they’re more like pets. There are no snakes, bears, wolves or coyotes. Further, Hawaii is a rabies-free state.
Do you want to talk about your own personal preparation plan? We have our listening ears on from 7 AM-7 PM every day. Call 808.270.1500 or let your fingers do the typing at our Contact page.