There is high demand for Molokini snorkeling, which is why it is so important to schedule your tour well in advance. When Molokini snorkeling the water clarity is outstanding at up to 150 feet in the crater’s center, so take an underwater camera.
Hidden coves, lava arches and sea caves are an everlasting reminder of the last volcano eruption a few hundred thousand years ago. The islet that surrounds the crater is a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District. This is a protected preserve and tourists are not allowed ashore the island. No plants or living creatures may be removed and sea animals must not be approached. Within Molokini fishing is illegal, however the sport fishing boats offer tours outside the protected areas. This is a great activity to enjoy after your Molokini snorkeling experience.
Molokini snorkeling is highly recommended and since the crater is only accessible by boat, tourists will need to book a tour or rent a boat. Tours are available seven days a week and tour boats come and go on a regular basis from the big island. The tour boats will provide all necessary equipment and common packages are for half day or full day Molokini snorkeling trips. Some tourists may be tempted to kayak to the crater. This is not recommended as the currents are extremely powerful. Tours leave from Ma’alaea Harbor, Kihei Boat Ramp. There are tours that are focused on specific fish species as well as other activities that may be enjoyed in addition to Molokini snorkeling. This includes whale sighting and sailing.
Molokini snorkeling is available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced snorkelers and divers. The islet allows for everyone to enjoy Molokini snorkeling and the center of the crater boasts five dive sites that are up to 70 feet dep. Beginners will want to stick to the calm center basin that is 35 feet deep. Molokini snorkeling here will reveal cauliflower coral and sea life including manta ray, eel, and fish.
Intermediate and Advanced
The underwater wall that stretches along the inner area of the crater is 70 feet deep and perfect for intermediate Molokini snorkeling. Molokini snorkeling is a wonderful experience for intermediate snorkelers due to the calm conditions and amazing views. The back side of the crater is deeper and unsheltered, meaning only advanced snorkelers should attempt to dive here. Vivid blue water measuring more than 350 feet deep with a moderate current is not too challenging for advanced snorkelers. Pelagic animals are easily seen here although occasional weather conditions may make this area unavailable for diving.
Located just 2 ½ miles south of Maui, Molokini crater is found in the Alalakeiki Channel. The Molokini Crater was formed as the result of a volcanic cinder cone. The volcanic crater is partially sunken and shaped like a crescent moon. Its 23 acres creates an islet and the crater measures .4 miles in diameter. It has been 230,000 years since it last erupted
The northern rim of the Molokini crater is below sea level resulting in the inner area being flooded with water. This area is 1,770 feet in diameter and creates a protected area for sea life, which aren’t exposed to waves or currents. Those who snorkel Molokini should be aware the peaceful water conditions within the crater are not mimicked in the waters outside the crater. In fact, the waters outside the crater are very dangerous and extremely strong. It is not recommended to snorkel Molokini outside the crater’s edge unless you are a certified diver.
The area of the crater above water is only 162 feet above sea level while the area below the waters’ surface extends for 200 yards before dropping off into terraces that continue beyond the edge of the crater to great depths. Snorkel Molokini Visibility
Those who snorkel Molokini are aware of the amazing visibility within the crater. Snorkelers should anticipate a minimum of 100 feet of visibility every day. The lagoon within the crater is peaceful and is naturally protected. Many are drawn to snorkel Molokini for this exact reason because the crater is home to the most delicate and tiny sea life imaginable. Those who snorkel Molokini will experience one of the world’s top spots for amazingly clear snorkeling.
Encounter Sea Life
Those who snorkel Molokini will experience an amazing show of sea life. The crater is home to more than 250 fish species, seals, manta rays, Hawaiian sea turtles, seals, white tip sharks, garden eels, monk seals, whale sharks, and even humpback whales. Snorkelers occasionally swim alongside giant manta rays and other sea creatures. Outside the tranquility of the Molokini crater there are other sea creatures like spiny lobsters, cliff moray eels, and even larger sharks. Those who snorkel Molokini may even have the opportunity to swim alongside dolphins.
When to Snorkel
The early morning is the best time to snorkel Molokini. Due to the amazing clarity anytime is a wonderful time to snorkel Molokini, however the view during the early morning hours and the lack of trade winds make it the optimal time. Summer and winter are both great times to snorkel Molokini.