Just off the shores of Maui, the ridge of a volcano dramatically peeks out of the ocean, hinting at the thriving oceanic sanctuary hidden just beneath the water. This is Molokini Crater, a place like no other, and a definite Maui must-see.
Molokini is a partially submerged volcanic crater that is estimated to have formed almost 150 thousand years ago. The ridge of the volcano protects the caldera from the ocean waves, creating a calm islet sanctuary that attracts a huge and diverse array of underwater life. It’s no wonder that this unique underwater island is consistently considered one of the best places in the world for snorkeling.
What You’ll See at Molokini
Whether you’ve snorkeled a dozen times or this is the very first time you’ve ever slipped a snorkeling mask over your face, you will be amazed at what you’ll find in Molokini. Snorkelers and divers have been flocking to this spot for decades, so the ocean life is amazingly tame and calm.
The Molokini Crater is thought to be the home of as many as 250 unique marine species. Dive in, and you’re likely to see black triggerfish, Moorish idol, parrotfish, yellow tang, bluefin trevally, and more. You might also see a moray eel, a red pencil urchin, or even a whitetip reef shark.
Don’t let these beautiful, colorful animals steal all of your attention. The crater is also home to over 30 hard coral species and 100 species of algae. These reefs provide shelter and protection for many of the fish and are an excellent place to wait and watch for the sea life to show themselves.
Even when you break the surface, keep your eyes open. The crater is also a popular nesting place for Bulwer’s petrels, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and great frigate birds.
Taking a Snorkel Tour
The best way to enjoy Molokini Crater is to sign up your family for a snorkel tour. A tour company will handle all the details, like boating you out to the crater and providing you with snorkeling equipment. In addition, your tour guide can instruct you on the best snorkeling technique if this is your first snorkel. The tour guide can also point out all the species of marine life in the area and help you find rare species that you might not see on your own.
You can find many excellent Molokini snorkel tours in Maui. If you decide to rent a vacation condo through Ali’I Resorts, we can provide recommendations for trusted tour companies.