Snorkeling Lanai From Maui?

by Susan
(Columbia, SC)

I'm getting excited about my upcoming trip to Maui, and I am wondering about snorkeling Lanai. I just joined the Pacific Whale foundation and they have a snorkel/dolphin excursion that goes to Lanai to snorkel. I'm sure you've probably been there so please tell me what you think.

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Nov 19, 2010
Snorkeling Lanai
by: Galen & Nicole

Susan. We have snorkeled Lanai, but not extensively. In the past we had a wonderful full-day sailing snorkel trip with the Paragon catamaran. The snorkeling was pretty good, but not stellar. That was partly because we ended up going on a day when there was south swell, which meant we had to snorkel a secondary spot that was not considered as good. It was pretty cloudy.

One highlight of the trip was stopping in the middle of the ocean between the islands and jumping in the water. It was the deepest clear blue we have ever experienced. There was also a strong current pulling us away from the catamaran. We had to swim pretty hard to get back to it.

Most of the snorkeling on Lanai is on the south and east end of the island. And so in the summer if there is a south swell it can play havoc with the better snorkel spots.

One of our site visitors Charley left some comments via email that I have been meaning to share on the site about Lanai, and this is the perfect opportunity.

"On the off chance you haven't snorkeled Lanai... there's an area several hundred yards up the beach from the Inn at Manele Bay... right out in front of a well equipped picnic area with some shade trees and public restrooms... that is (IMO) even better than Molokini... and you just walk into the water from the beach. The best snorkeling is in the area closest to the rocky point.

There are snorkel packages that can bring you over there... or... you can just take the ferry and a picnic lunch and spend the day. We've done it both ways, package tour and ferry. Upside with the package tour is you get additional activities like swimming with the turtles and seeing the spinner dolphins on the way over to Lanai.

We suggest you consider the size of the boat you sign up for as ours was small and the trip back over to Maui was excessively choppy... our heads were spinning for several hours afterwords.

Up side for the ferry is you are on own your schedule and can snorkel as long as you want. On windy days the waves are gigantic so you can't snorkel but the kids love the waves."

Hopefully this all helps a bit. Basically you have three ways to get out to Lanai and do some snorkeling. There is a ferry that leaves many times a day, so you can go out and spend a day. And there are two types of tour groups. The fast little inflatable boat types, and the slower, bigger, more stable catamaran types (the whale foundation runs both). One plus side of the little fast boats is they will get you to the snorkel grounds earlier in the morning which can help you avoid the winds that pickup in Maui as noon approaches. But it is often a rough ride back.

If you are interested in the other snorkeling on Maui accessible from shore, our Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook is a great resource.

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