Snorkeling in the Molokini crater and Turtle Town was definitely the highlight of my trip to Maui, Hawaii. The husband and I heard about it from the staff at our hotel the Ka’anapali Beach Club, and they helped us book a snorkeling trip with the catamaran Quicksilver. Although we had to wake up super early (like every fun adventure in Maui), we had an amazing experience we’ll never forget.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Molokini is an underwater volcanic crater that formed more than 150 thousand years ago. During World War II the U.S. navy used the back side of Molokini for target practice because it was shaped similarly to a battleship. Today, it is protected by a marine conservation, which has transformed it into a seabird sanctuary. This means that people are not allowed to step onto land without government permission. It is, however, a popular port for boats.
The water around this crater is crystal clear, attracting snorkelers and scuba divers alike. The coral reef is lush with sea urchins and hundreds of different fish. It’s fun to snorkel here most of all because of the location. The crater is beautiful and the underwater life is both colorful and amazing. The husband even spotted an octopus! The lifeguard on duty was skeptical at first, asserting that he probably only saw a similar-looking sea urchin, but after a second take she was excited to say that it was in fact an octopus. And one of the larger ones that can be found in that area!
We also visited Turtle Town on our snorkeling adventure. Although Turtle Town is not actually a specific destination, it is the name of the area that attracts the most sea turtles that day, and it’s usually about a mile from Molokini Crater. In my opinion, it was the most exciting of the two places we visited. Not only did I see a handful of sea turtles, but I swam with them for a good half hour. Not to sound too cliché, but I couldn’t believe it. They were so large and just swimming around doing their thing (cleaning their shells, according to our captain), despite all the snorkelers above them staring at their beauty.
This area is also crystal clear and will lend you to see an array of beautiful coral, sea urchins and fish that I couldn’t name if I tried.
If you find yourself in Maui, go on this snorkeling trip. Even if you don’t board the Quicksilver, there are a ton of boats that will take you out to Molokini. However, the Quicksilver comes highly recommended by me and the husband. The crew is very friendly; the boat offers a delicious BBQ lunch; and, best of all, they sell $1 Mai Tais as soon as the snorkeling portion of the trip concludes! What more could you ask for?
Stay tuned for a few more tales from my Hawaii adventure.