A Different Take On Snorkeling Molokini - Maui

by Tim M.

I wanted to share a different take on snorkeling Molokini from Maui. I didn't see this mentioned anywhere on the site, so I thought I'd add it in case anyone finds it interesting. On my last trip to Maui the winds and currents were a bit haywire and many of the shore snorkeling sites were reduced to 10 feet of visibility. Going out to Molokini seemed the only remedy, but I don't like crowded snorkel sites and I like cattle boats even less.

A dive shop operator told me to try Blue Water Raft Adventure's Molokini Express trip (his roommate was the boat captain). It leaves from South Kihei boat ramp, takes 15 minutes to get to the crater, and times it's trips so that they are often the only one in the crater when they get there.

Their shtick is that they crank AC/DC tunes, do crazy maneuvers for a few minutes at high speed, and then rocket at about 50 mph to the site. If you can stomach the absurdity of that you are treated to the real advantage of this outfit: they snorkel the backside of Molokini. Four hundred feet of water, near 200 feet of visibility, sheer wall, who knows what will swim by.

On one trip we did the back wall, curled around the corner to the inside, and did the entire crater in one snorkel. For the Maui snorkeler who's seen it all, maybe this is just the ticket.

Bring dramamine!

Comments for A Different Take On Snorkeling Molokini - Maui

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Sep 27, 2011
Spot-on Comments re. Molokini Express
by: Mahonia

We're just about at the end of a great 10 days in South Kihei, Maui (September 2011), exploring many of the different areas for snorkeling. Like Tim, we're usually frustrated with boat trips -- always too little time in the water & too much time spent on something else (food, traveling to sites to see turtles, whatever).

Early during this visit, we joined a scuba boat trip to Molokini, thinking we'd get more time in the water than on one of the larger snorkel boats. The Molokini part of the scuba trip worked out pretty well -- we had a full hour of time to explore reef (though they asked us to wait through all the scuba equipment briefings before getting into the water). But the scuba boat's second stop was at a site where the points of interest were way deep - not within free dive range. So that felt like a waste.

Eventually we hit upon the Molokini Express and decided a second Molokini visit was in order. Blue Water Rafting advertises the Molokini Express like it is for people who want to commit less time to a snorkeling trip. That doesn't describe us at all, but we do want the highest possible ratio of snorkel time to total time & this couple-hour trip seems to be as good as it gets in that regard (short of a private charter and $$$$).

While having the trip later in the day might mean poorer conditions, we had good visibility AND had the area to ourselves (not another boat in sight). The absence of other boats and divers allows for drift snorkeling quite a bit of the inside of the cone (which would be impossible when the inside is filled with boats earlier in the day). And then there is the back side. Tim's story about that (and everything else) are spot-on!

Nov 24, 2012
Nice tip for those who don't want crowds...
by: Galen & Nicole

We have done the cattle boat thing out to Molokini and had a decent experience, but we would enjoy less crowds that come with this quick raft trip. Not sure though if we'd enjoy the fast, bumpy boat trip.

Also, Mahonia, on our trip when the crater was packed with boats, we swam the entire length of the inside of the crater. Maybe some boats limit how far you can swim, but ours did not. And the boats in no way limited where we could snorkel. They were moored too far out to be an issue.

We link to this story as an alternative for getting out there in our description of snorkeling Molokini in our Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook.

And in regards to the bad shore snorkeling conditions Tim experienced on Maui, there is always a chance that the weather will not cooperate with your plans. This post along with our Maui snorkeling recommendations will hopefully give you more options when mother nature is not cooperating with your plans!

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