What is Molokini?
Molokini Crater, is a marine sanctuary located just a few miles off of Maui’s coast. Believed to have formed around 150 thousand years ago, Molokini rises from 300 feet below the oceans surface, and just under half a mile wide…peaking at roughly 160 feet above sea level! Pretty much half of the crater is hidden under the surface of the ocean. This is a world renowned spot for divers and people alike to get the chance to experience the incredible underwater and marine life world this natural wonder has to offer. Snorkeling at the Molokini Crater, Maui is an incredibly unique experience.
How do you get to Molokini from Maui?
The only way that you can reach Molokini is by boat. Please don’t try swimming, paddling or kayaking there! We have a very strong channel in-between Maui and the neighboring islands, many times referred to as the most dangerous channel in the world. With strong winds and currents as well as plenty of wildlife, I recommend thinking twice before adventuring beyond the nearby shores of the island. There are many quality snorkeling and scuba boat trips traveling there every day, and all you need to do is book the one that suits your needs and interests best! As Molokini is a very popular destination, you may want to stick this on your Maui bucket list.
This magical crater is located 2.5 miles off the shore of Maui, or a one hour boat ride each way. Each boat is different, some stop at Molokini and then other snorkeling destinations, diving, while others just come right back after enjoying a long morning of snorkeling the crater! It really depends which tour you book, but I would say the trip would be roughly 5 hours long.
Can you Walk on Molokini?
Unauthorized landing is prohibited because Molokini is a federally owned state seabird sanctuary. In order to set foot on this piece of land, permission from both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife needs to be granted. However, there are no problems with this… as all the magic is really happening underwater!
What type of Marine Life will I see while Snorkeling at Molokini?
There are over 250 types of marine life species in and around the crater! These species include parrotfish, butterflyfish, tang, surgeonfish, wrasse, perch, squirrelfish, snapper, yellow trumpet fish, different varieties of the triggerfish, pufferfish, and much more!
If you’re lucky, you may spot an ornate octopus, manta rays, or moray eels! Spotting sea turtles isn’t very common at Molokini! It is far from the coastline and your best odds at swimming with turtles will be closer to shore. However, if swimming with these beautiful creatures is on your bucket list, make sure to book a Molokini tour trip that also stops in Turtle Town!
Are There Sharks at Molokini?
Most of us are terribly afraid of coming into contact with these sharp toothed predators known as sharks. To answer one of the most commonly asked question…yes, there are sharks at Molokini! After all, these creatures do live in the ocean. No matter where you end up going snorkeling, you may get the rare opportunity to actually spot a shark.
If you are wondering how likely it really is that you will see a shark while snorkeling at Molokini Maui… the truth is that it is extremely rare. Sharks are afraid of humans, and there are many other people and boats snorkeling in the same area as you. The most common species sighted at Molokini is the white tip reef shark which go hunting at night, and spend most of the day inside caves. There have been a couple of times where Whale sharks were be spotted near Molokini island. This is very rare as they typically tend to stick north of Kauai.
I hope this puts you at ease, and you can go enjoy those clear deep blue waters!
Snorkel Trip Maui Recommendations:
-The best time of day to snorkel is early morning. The winds pick up in the afternoon creating strong currents and less visibility.
– Know how to swim for yourself, and others safety.
-What to bring: swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, and a change of clothes.
The rest of the gear should be provided by your snorkel boat.
If you happen to be visiting Maui during the winter months then you may be lucky enough to spot some whales during your boat trip to and from Molokini. If you are even luckier, you will hear the music of the whales while swimming underwater. This is something you will want to experience in your lifetime! Check out our blog post on humpback whales to learn more about the best time of year to see them.
I hope this was helpful and got you excited for your upcoming trip to Maui! The beautiful and diverse ecosystem of Hawaii awaits you.