For decades, the ability to view sea life without a snorkel or expensive scuba gear has been limited to glass-bottom boat tours, aquariums and if you were lucky enough, a submarine tour.
Boat manufacturer Clear Blue Hawaii is aiming to change that and make the viewing experience for personal water vessels a full 360-degree experience with their Molokini two-passenger kayak.
Manufactured out of the the same polycarbonate material used for fighter jet canopies and motorcycle windshields, the lightweight boats allow a user to essentially ‘snorkel’ without the need for a mask or breathing apparatus.
The Molokini is supported by a removabable anodized aluminum internal frame, dual flotation bladders and a three-quart water bailer. The modular boat design also allows for add-ons to make kayaking in different conditions easier…such as an optional outrigger system for choppy conditions.
Aside from the unique transparent quality, the kayak also serves as an interesting material study for the limits of polycarbonate plastic. While the ability to hold up as a canopy for fighter jets or motorcycle windshields is an impressive feat for any transparent material, neither application tests the material against a constant barrage of coral and rock scratches that are likely to happen with a kayak…a kayak whose selling point is a viewing experience, to be more specific.
Clear Blue Hawaii has addressed this issue by stating:
“Scratch resistance tests are performed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, over coral chunks and lava rocks (and) have yielded low visibility loss. The moment the product is introduced back into the ocean, the water fills in the scratches.”
Additional tests have included intense crashing against rocky shorelines, 20 ft drops, hammer blows and an ejection from a vehicle at 70 mph. Ouch.
When comparing polycarbonate to acrylic plastic, it’s clear just how different the material properties are even though they both appear to be nearly the same material:
Head over to Clear Blue Hawaii for more info on the Molokini and the rest of their product lineup.