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View Full Version : Snorkeling in Maui (I need advice)


tannersmith2000
02/08/2014, 07:10 AM
Hey

I am getting married in June of this year and I am going on my Honeymoon to Maui. Sooooo with being a huge reefer lol and a guy who loves to snorkel in shallow reefs, I want to book a place to stay in Maui where I can easily access a place to go snorkel with awesome underwater scenery.

Can anyone who has been to Maui to snorkel/dive tell me where the very best snorkel sites are? My fiancee and I wanna do a lot of snorkeling while we are there but we wanna find some nice reefs to check out and we also wanna stay relatively close to these snorkel sites.

Thanks a ton!

Tanner

jcanute
02/08/2014, 02:04 PM
book a trip to molikini crater . you wont regret it.

albano
02/08/2014, 02:10 PM
book a trip to molikini crater . you wont regret it.

+1... And I'd also recommend the sunrise/bicycle trip to the volcano! It's great and don't worry...the 30 mile bike ride to the ocean is downhill!

ace_92101
02/08/2014, 06:14 PM
book a trip to molikini crater . you wont regret it.

A great dive. I haven't snorkeled it though. I'd imagine it's not a cheap snorkel trip. The only shore dive on Maui that I've done is Honolua Bay. It was nice and free is always nice:p

tannersmith2000
02/08/2014, 06:41 PM
A great dive. I haven't snorkeled it though. I'd imagine it's not a cheap snorkel trip. The only shore dive on Maui that I've done is Honolua Bay. It was nice and free is always nice:p

Was Honolua Bay abundant with reef life? If so, what did you see?

tannersmith2000
02/08/2014, 06:41 PM
book a trip to molikini crater . you wont regret it.

I am looking into it. Thanks for the heads up!

ace_92101
02/08/2014, 07:23 PM
Was Honolua Bay abundant with reef life? If so, what did you see?

It's a marine life conservation district, so yes lots of good stuff to see. It's also very easy to navigate, thus one can do it alone.

smtank
02/08/2014, 09:40 PM
Napili point, go to the cove, tons of green sea turtles. Honolua up the road is the best snorkling on the island. You can stay shallow or go a little farther out and see some big jacks. Both of these spots have an abundance of live corals.

DaveOSU
02/08/2014, 10:20 PM
Tanner,

It has been a few years and things change each time we go. That being said; we love the Mahana for lodging. Just south is Kahekili Beach Park which has reliable visibility, conditions, restrooms and fresh water rinse showers. Black Rock is within walking distance to the south; it will be a 10-15 minute walk but you sound young and fit. For some swimmers, the current can be stronger around the very point of Black Rock so if you find it too strong simply go with it and go to shore on either side and walk back. The south side of Black Rock is the Sheraton and you will find a lot of swimmers there; occasionally they get swept around and have to walk back. Black Rock will present as a wall feature dropping to 25 ft. depth; we always find big turtles and frequently see cuttlefish, eels, and frog fish if you have the eye.

The best advice I can give you is drop into a Maui Dive shop (many locations) and they will provide a map with sites to explore as well as advise you on daily conditions. Additionally try you can check out shorediver.com. Finally, when I mentioned reliable conditions previously; if you get to a site and it looks rough, lots of waves and stirred up then go somewhere else and try again another day.... We have been to Honolua and been totally blown out. Likewise, we have been there when conditions are phenominal....it all depends on the wind that day. Incidentally, there are no facilities at Honolua.

Enjoy,

Dave

DaveOSU
02/08/2014, 10:28 PM
Oh ya,

if your planning to do the "sunrise/bicycle trip to the volcano! It's great and don't worry...the 30 mile bike ride to the ocean is downhill! "

Plan it for your first or second day; you will be up anyway with jet lag.... but pack warm clothes. It will be in the 30's before sunrise at the start.

-Dave

Boboli
02/08/2014, 10:29 PM
I also was married in Maui on the beach in June. Molikini was well worth the dive all you need is a snorkel mask and deep breath.
Congrats and Good luck with your snorkeling.
P.S. Find the boat that has all you can drink beer!

Brian Peterson
02/08/2014, 10:30 PM
Honolua is very nice. Just be warned you will get a stern talking to if you wear sunscreen here. There is a local family here that insists apon no sunscreen in "his" bay ;) Look for all the cars barely parked off the road and walk in. It's beautiful!!

Larz_1
02/09/2014, 12:33 AM
Been to Maui 3 times in the last ten years.
Honolua Bay and Black Rock are the best that I remember on Maui.

tannersmith2000
02/09/2014, 06:44 AM
Everyone..Thank you!!!!

I sort of have this all mapped out now. I appreciate all the feedback.It sounds like it might be wise for me to get a place near Honolua so we will be in close proximity to snorkeling there but I know she and I would enjoy taking a boat over to molikini crater. I guess if we took the morning boat it's a 5 hour snorkel session in the crater plus it's got a glass boat with everything on the boat. Honolua Bay sounds like my type of place.

One more question. How long would it take by car to travel from let's say Honolua Bay to molikini crater? And from both of these places to a volcano? Is everything relatively close driving distance?

Thanks again for all the advice and help! This is starting to come together.

smtank
02/09/2014, 10:02 AM
Napili Point has some decent condos at decent prices.

It not a short drive to from Honolua Bay to Lahania about 45 minutes or a little more. You'll take a boat from Lahania to Molikini, but you might have to go all the way down to Wailea which is over an hour to catch a boat.

On Maui you'll see a crater and it's a long drive up that mountain. By far the best Volcano action is on the Big Island. Stay on the leeward side of the island for all water sports.

Personally I like catching a boat to Lanai.

DaveOSU
02/09/2014, 08:14 PM
You will be good staying anywhere from Kaanapali to Napili; plenty to do within 1/2 hour of that area. We would run into Whaler Village or Lahaina most nights for dinner. Failed to mention, you can also do catamaran snorkel trips from Lahaina to Honolua as well. We scuba from the shore on Maui but agree with smtank and try to do a couple boat trips over to Lanai.

Nothing is far by mainland standards; roads are just slow and curvy and you can get caught in really slow traffic between Lahaina and Maalaea. If you choose to leave for Molikini out of the Kihei area allow extra travel time.

-Dave

sedgro
02/09/2014, 08:57 PM
Book a trip to Fiji if you want to see some true coral reefs. It likely won't cost that much more. Hawaii is subtropical and heavy on Porites, Pocillopora, and Montipora. There is no Acropora (few waif colonies found recently) and has virtually no soft coral. Don't get me wrong - there is some great diving & snorkeling, but if you are looking for true coral reefs like you see in books you will not find them there. Just my humble option after 8+ trips and countless dives.

ace_92101
02/09/2014, 10:25 PM
Book a trip to Fiji if you want to see some true coral reefs. It likely won't cost that much more. Hawaii is subtropical and heavy on Porites, Pocillopora, and Montipora. There is no Acropora (few waif colonies found recently) and has virtually no soft coral. Don't get me wrong - there is some great diving & snorkeling, but if you are looking for true coral reefs like you see in books you will not find them there. Just my humble option after 8+ trips and countless dives.

Agreed that Fiji has some world class diving/snorkeling. However, the OP stated that he's going to Maui for his honeymoon. It sounds like that's his plan at this point.

billsreef
02/11/2014, 07:15 AM
One more question. How long would it take by car to travel from let's say Honolua Bay to molikini crater?

Can't get there by car, unless your car floats ;) Molikini is an island near Maui. BTW both Maui and Molikini are volcanoes, jut not active in quite some time.

NTP66
02/18/2014, 12:55 PM
There are many more snorkeling/diving spots on Maui than this map shows, but here are some of the more popular spots: http://www.hawaiisnorkelingguide.com/maui_snorkeling.html

I personally love Honolua Bay, and know many others who enjoyed diving there more than Molokini. If you do plan on going to Molokini, take the earliest tour that you can, as that area gets crowded REAL fast in the afternoon.

I personally recommend Trilogy for any of the tours. My wife and I have been on numerous tours with them - and have two more coming up later this week - and love them. They're also the only company that can actually get you ONTO Lana'i; others can only get you just offshore. On top of that, they do a lot of good for the island, as well (Blue'aina reef cleanup campaign, etc.).

Anyway, you're bound to see a ton of wildlife no matter where you dive in Maui - especially Honu (green sea turtles). They're everywhere. Just remember that it's illegal to bother them.

As for the earlier comment about sunscreen, you really just want to make sure that you don't use any type of aerosol sunscreen, as that's the kind that will hurt the wildlife.

kdumph
02/18/2014, 07:41 PM
There are many more snorkeling/diving spots on Maui than this map shows, but here are some of the more popular spots: http://www.hawaiisnorkelingguide.com/maui_snorkeling.html

I personally love Honolua Bay, and know many others who enjoyed diving there more than Molokini. If you do plan on going to Molokini, take the earliest tour that you can, as that area gets crowded REAL fast in the afternoon.

I personally recommend Trilogy for any of the tours. My wife and I have been on numerous tours with them - and have two more coming up later this week - and love them. They're also the only company that can actually get you ONTO Lana'i; others can only get you just offshore. On top of that, they do a lot of good for the island, as well (Blue'aina reef cleanup campaign, etc.).

Anyway, you're bound to see a ton of wildlife no matter where you dive in Maui - especially Honu (green sea turtles). They're everywhere. Just remember that it's illegal to bother them.

As for the earlier comment about sunscreen, you really just want to make sure that you don't use any type of aerosol sunscreen, as that's the kind that will hurt the wildlife.

Great information here, last time I dived in Maui I was introduced to a number of more "local" stuff just be chatting a few people up. Some great shore diving and of course the big ones have already been mentioned.

Cu455
02/19/2014, 09:37 AM
You should look into getting your discover scuba certification or even your open water. You can do most of the work online now. You can also do the pool part near your house. Once you get to Hawaii it's all in the ocean.

NatureNerd
03/16/2014, 09:15 PM
...I personally love Honolua Bay, and know many others who enjoyed diving there more than Molokini. If you do plan on going to Molokini, take the earliest tour that you can, as that area gets crowded REAL fast in the afternoon.

I personally recommend Trilogy for any of the tours. My wife and I have been on numerous tours with them...

+1 on both suggestions. Although we are certified divers, my wife and I love snorkling these two places.

H-Bay is a great place for octopus, eels, tangs, butterfly fish, coronet fish, hawkfish, and turtles.

Molokini - Earliest boat is best. Great visibilty usually. We like the Trilogy company too.

tkeracer619
03/17/2014, 08:56 PM
I just got back from a 2 week trip. I stayed at the Mana Kai Maui. It is in S Kihei just north of Wailea. The area is central and there is plenty of nightlife. Cost isn't as bad as the resort areas. I was in one of the rooms that was at the end of the building right on the water. Really was a great experience. Easy walk in snorkeling access and within an hour to most everything on the island except Hanna. Don't go the south route :)

This was the view outside my bedroom window.
https://scontent-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t31.0-8/1658468_683442668373763_537113215_o.jpg

This was on the reef outside of the hotel on the left side of that pic. The clicking is shrimp and the crunching is parrotfish eating coral. I'm not hungry, those are the humpbacks singing :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM6LzsKr2_8

I really like this area overall. It is a little over an hour to the volcano. You can walk to the boat dock for snorkeling charters to Molokini and other various locations.

There are cool things to do everywhere! Based on weather you may find you need to move around or go out to places on boats if the shoreline has bad viability.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDVLPSnjjZI

OutsideBrian
03/17/2014, 09:25 PM
Here's a sunrise at mt Haleakala.
It is definitely a cold morning. The orange is the cloud deck catching the sunrise below it, above the cloud deck was blue start night sky.
Second picture is sun up, you can see the clouds below.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/7utusysy.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/7agyteza.jpg
The bike ride down was fun, eucalyptus in the air and another couple arguing which side was pacific and Atlantic :)
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/edy8y5uv.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/u7yda8uz.jpg

We took a catamaran out to molokini I think. The little crater island that's all shot up. Saw some whales too.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/9epubeva.jpg
Our view from waikaloa village.

We did the road to Hana plus kept going all the way around, it was a long day in the car albeit adventurous hiking to different falls.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/18/gu3eguju.jpg

tkeracer619
03/17/2014, 09:44 PM
Also this is a pretty cool tiger shark tracking website :)
http://oos.soest.hawaii.edu/pacioos/projects/sharks/

NTP66
03/18/2014, 12:05 PM
One other place I'd recommend if in Maui would be Hulopo'e Bay on the island of Lana'i. You can take a charter over there or go with Trilogy (my wife and I did the latter - amazing), and the snorkeling is incredible. I saw some of the biggest fish ever while there, including a half dozen yellow tangs that were OVER 12" long.


Also this is a pretty cool tiger shark tracking website :)
http://oos.soest.hawaii.edu/pacioos/projects/sharks/

My wife hates that site because I always use it to see what's around us when we go out, LOL. We saw the 14.2' female (122985) swimming at the surface for a while during our whale watch tour.

Paul B
03/18/2014, 01:06 PM
I recently went to 3 Hawaiian Islands, Kauai, Maui and Molokai. (and also honeymooned there 40 years ago) and we don't like tourist places at all but on Hawaii that is hard to get away from. So we found the Napili Key Hotel http://napilikai2-px.trvlclick.com/default-en.html?utm_source=TravelClickPPC&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=Brand which is the only smaller Hotel on the Island and away from the touristy places, but close enough to go there easily. Most of Hawaii is big high rise hotels and if that is what you like with all the plastic palm trees and fake Luau's, there are plenty of places to pick. We wanted a snorkeling beach right on the property and no crowds. There is a snorkeling beach right off your room, but snorkeling in Hawaii is generally not very good as it is a volcanic Island and not a coral Island. Due to the volcanoe's the water is not very clear and about the worse tropical snorkeling and diving you will find in a tropical place. After saying that, we love Hawaii and have friends there. If you know where to go to get away from the crowds there are some really nice places there. Have fun and try to find the out of the way places. :smokin:

These were taken there
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh270/urchsearch/2013-10-11050504_zps4b6b50fc.jpg (http://s258.photobucket.com/user/urchsearch/media/2013-10-11050504_zps4b6b50fc.jpg.html)

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh270/urchsearch/2013-10-19075738_zps48870798.jpg (http://s258.photobucket.com/user/urchsearch/media/2013-10-19075738_zps48870798.jpg.html)

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh270/urchsearch/2013-10-11050353_zpse2ea532a.jpg (http://s258.photobucket.com/user/urchsearch/media/2013-10-11050353_zpse2ea532a.jpg.html)

tkeracer619
03/20/2014, 02:16 AM
Paul, when do you go? I tend to go to Maui for 2 weeks mid Jan. Let me know when you plan on going. Love to go on a dive with the infamous paulb :)

I've already got my frequent flyer miles ready for next Jan :)

Paul B
03/20/2014, 05:32 AM
I just went there in October and probably will never get back there. We were there on our Honeymoon then went back for our 40th

tkeracer619
03/20/2014, 12:32 PM
Aww, well then maybe another location sometime :)

Paul B
03/20/2014, 12:40 PM
tkeracer, I do miss Hawaii and your pictures brought back memories even though UI was just there. An old girlfriend of mine moved there 40 years ago. She ended up running Avis or some other car rental service there and retired. She lives up in the mountains on Maui. Really nice place. It is to expensive for her to live near the sea but the Island is not that big so everyplace there is near the sea.
I was stationed in Colorado for about 6 months. I loved the place but the diving stinks there. :D
I always tell people, if Colorado had an Ocean, it would be perfect. :bum: