This was the informed opinion of a local, when we told him we were booked on a snorkelling trip out to Molokini crater the next day. Talk about damned by faint praise! He was clearly of a mind that there are much better places to snorkel around Maui.
This, of course, had us second-guessing ourselves. “Had we booked the wrong excursion? Were we going to be disappointed? Had we made a huge mistake?”
As it turns out, the answer to all these questions was a resounding, “No!”
There seems to be an endless number of companies competing for the privilege of taking tourists out to Molokini. We ended up choosing Maui Snorkel Charters, and we couldn’t have been happier. Captain Joe, Trish and Jerry were the perfect hosts and knowledgeable guides.
We’d hardly left the boat ramp when we had our first excitement of the day, when Joe pointed out an adult sea turtle swimming close to shore. We were all thrilled. At the time, none of us knew what we’d later experience at Turtle Town. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Molokini is a small crescent-shaped island in the channel between Maui and Kahoʻolawe. It is in fact the rim of an extinct vent on the submerged side of Maui’s Haleakala volcano, which today protects a beautiful coral reef within the confines of its arms.
Our first mooring point was near the tip of the eastern arm. Here, in the shallow waters above the coral reef and in the bubble-filled surf zone, we saw all sorts of beautiful and exotic fish. Not to mention the coral itself. We even spotted some Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (don’t ask me to pronounce that!), Hawaii’s national fish.
Next, we moved over to Molokini’s western arm, to where the shallow coral reef within the vent, falls away into the depths. Captain Joe dropped us in the water some distance offshore, and then Trish guided us along the edge of the reef, towards the tip of the island. The feel of this part of the reef was very different to that within the crater. You really got a sense of the abyss below. We even saw a young shark (a white-tipped shark, if I remember rightly), patrolling the reef’s edge beneath us!
As I hinted at earlier, our final destination was Turtle Town, on the way back to the boat ramp. Here, five underwater caves are home to a number of sea turtles. But being air breathers, the turtles must make regular(ish) visits to the surface, giving us the most amazing views of this incredible animals.
During our time on Maui, on more than one occasion I heard tales of where the locals go snorkelling. And how these sites put Molokini to shame. All I can say, is that these mystical locations must be out of this world.
Because to us, Molokini crater and Turtle Town were simply jaw-dropping. Easily the best snorkelling any of us had ever done. Thanks Joe, Trish and Jerry for some wonderful memories!
And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!