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Maui Snorkeling

Although I would recommend a trip to Molokini crater, I thought it would be good to show that on Maui you definately don't need to go on a charter boat for a good snorkeling experience. In my case, it would have been more than a little challenging with our two year old on a boat, so we opted for the shoreline. With a little research and preparation I was pleasantly surprised at the sights that could be seen within a short swim.

Please remember so good sense guidelines for safety and conservation:

    1. Always snorkel with someone. You never know when you may need help.
    2. Always pay attention to the ocean and the weather.
    3. Avoid water with low visibility. This would include swiming near dusk or dawn when sharks are most active.
    4. Know if the beach you are at has lifegaurds
    5. Morning snorkeling is usually better (and calmer) than afternoon.
    6. Remember that coral is a living thing and don't touch it!
    7. Don't feed the fish! This may sound funny, but I actually saw someone trying it one time out...
    8. Don't take any shells or rocks for momentos. Leave them for someone else to enjoy.
    9. Give the animals space. Don't try to swim up to them! The best way to get that perfect picture is to stay still.

Ahihi bay (suggested)

This snorkeling area is outstanding. In the early morning I saw multple schools of reef fish, eels, and a few sea turtles among the abundant coral formations all across the area. The entry here and at La Perouse Bay a little farther down the road is pretty challenging. At Ahihi bay there is a small calm lava rock pool which is great for getting your gear on, but beware that once you move out of that pool area the depth drops off quite dramatically.

Black Rock

Situated near the Sheraton hotel, this is a nice area if you can get to it. If you are not staying at the hotel, then you sometimes have to search for parking. The south end is pretty calm, however the north end was pretty choppy when I was out in the late afternoon and there was a storm offshore.

Coral Gardens

On the highway to Lahaina, about 1/2 mile past the Pali tunnel is Coral Gardens. This one is a bit of a pain to get to (you will see the cars parked after you leave the tunnel) and the best areas I found were swimming up from the beach area back towards the tunnel. At that point I saw probably more eels than any place I went on Maui.

Honolua Bay

On the far north of the western side of Maui, the road is pretty narrow and winds around a lot. Go to the boat ramp and swim out towards either the left or the right outcroppings which contain pretty nice coral growths and lots of fish.

Kahekili Beach

This is a great place for learning to snorkel and to still be able to see something. The beach is across the highway from the Sugar Cane Train Stop just north of Kaanapali. If you already know how to snorkel I would suggest other places first.

Kamaole Beaches

Frankly, I didn't find snorkeling here that great. I only mention it because it is a good place to go if you want to snorkel and the rest of your family wants to swim or sit on the beach. There are lifeguards on Kamaole.

Kapalua Bay

There is a public parking area opposite the Napili Kai Beach Resort. To the right of the beach you will see a large outcrop of rock which harbors a nice array of fish. This area was sometimes hard to access since there was not much public parking at the site. The entry from the beach was easier than most.

Makena Bay

The entry here is a little challenging and I would definately not recommend this one for the novice diver. Numerous caves (that you shouldn't enter) and massive coral heads in the area offshore support a large array of marine life, including many turtles which are off of the shore from the Makena Bay area down to Ahihi Bay and La Perouse Bay to the south.

Wailea Beach

The best snorkeling here is to the left of the beach by the four seasons hotel. The morning is a heck of a lot easier here than the afternoon as the surf tends to kick up a little bit and you have to swim quite a ways to get around the point for the best areas where I encountered a few sea turtles. In the afternoons, this beach can be quite good for boogie boarding as well. 2005. All Rights Reserved.