By Rick – (Olympia Washington)
Do you think they will ever open snorkeling access to Ahihi-Kinau Reserve on Maui? Aquarium and Fishbowl were among the best. I understand the damage that people can inflict to the delicate lava field. But, the last time I was there all I saw was a herd of goats. Now, who does MORE damage?
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Galen & Nicole – Aug 3, 2012 – Snorkeling at Fishbowl and Aquarium Closed Through July 31, 2014
Hi Rick, we don’t know when they will reopen it, but the closure just got extended to July 31, 2014, which is why we have continued to leave it out of our Maui Snorkeling Guide eBook.
And there is certainly some controversy over the decision to extend it.
Anonymous – Aug 4, 2012 – Fishbowl and Aquarium
Galen & Nicole, thank you for the feedback. We are going back to Maui at end of the month and were hoping for the best. We will stay with your recommendations as they are spot on.
Nancy – Aug 9, 2012 – Is Ahihi Preserve Closed or Just the Fishbowl?
I’ve snorkeled Ahihi Preserve several times, but it’s been two years since I was there. Is Ahihi closed, or just the Fishbowl and Aquarium?
Galen & Nicole – Aug 10, 2012 – Small Area Open
Nancy, the only areas that are open in Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve are Ahihi Bay (also known as Dumps), and Ahihi Cove (also known as Waiala Cove). In our eBook we have a map that makes clear what spots are open and how to get to them.
Nicole & Galen – Jul 25, 2014 – Probable Extension From July 2014
We have been trying to keep up to date on this closure and whether it will be extended this year.
I asked the Ahihi-Kinau Volunteer Facebook page if they knew what was going to be done and I got a thorough response, which they then posted for everyone. They believe that the closure will be extended for a number of reasons, including that the area has many unexploded munitions from the end of WWII that need to be cleaned up. We had not heard that before.
I also found a news article stating that the board decided to postpone their decision.
So, it looks like Fishbowl and Aquarium (Mokuha and Kalaeloa) will remain closed, but it is not yet clear for how long.
Nicole & Galen – Nov 4, 2014 – Closure Officially Extended
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife has a notice on their website that the area continues to be closed at least through July 2016.
Anonymous – Apr 28, 2016 – Fishbowl Latest Status?
What’s the latest on Fishbowl re-opening for snorkeling?
Nicole & Galen – Apr 30, 2016 – No Updates That We Know Of
Hi, we cannot find any updates. Two years ago when the deadline came up, we did not hear anything until a month or two past the deadline.
Nicole & Galen – Aug 1, 2016 – Closure Extended to 2018
As we are headed to Maui soon, we are keeping an eye on this closure. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife now shows the dates of closure as August 1, 2016 through July 31, 2018. So, we still do not get to snorkel Fishbowl and Aquarium on Maui.
Nicole & Galen – Mar 6, 2018 – Permanent Closure
The placement of numerous permanent signs in the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve show closure of the same areas as denoted in the original temporary closure. This would indicate to us that the closure of these areas has become effectively permanent.
Jeff – Apr 3, 2018 – Open, You Just Have to Swim
It’s open, but you just have to swim to get there. If you’re going to do it, leave from the open area and go around the points until you get out there, and then you can swim into the little cove.
The journey to get there is just as good as the destination although the jewel box on the side of the aquarium was amazing. I saw eels, eagle rays, and sharks, and the best part is there were no other people in sight. The underwater arches were amazing to see with all the fish in them. On the way back I went out into the bay and saw dolphins sleeping on the bottom.
If you’re going to go know that the first 100 yards is pretty murky. After that though it clears up and you can see 100 feet easily. All I did was kick mostly to get out there, hardly ever having to use my arms. There are a couple places where the reef comes up pretty close to the surface, but once you’re past it it opens up into deep pools.
Like most people have said, make sure you go early in the morning, because the waves do kick up with the wind pretty bad.
It was by far the most amazing thing I did on my time on Maui. Make sure you’re a strong swimmer if you’re going to go.
Nicole & Galen – Apr 3, 2018 – Not Advisable for a Few Reasons
Hi Jeff, thanks for the note.
We don’t think this is wise to recommend to most of our readers.
First, the swim to the first cove, Mokuha or Fishbowl, is a 1.25 mile swim, one way. So at a minimum that is a 2.5 mile swim round trip. Most folks are not that strong of swimmers. And Kalaeloa or Aquarium, is another mile swim past that. The distance is a safety factor as is the time in the water during which the winds can easily pick up and make it very dangerous out there. There is no guarantee that the winds won’t pick up at 9am instead of 10 or 11 the day someone chooses to do the long swim.
Second, a long stretch of murky water like the 100 yard one you mention should be avoided at all times to prevent shark attack. It is well known that snorkeling in murky water is a high risk factor. The Hawaii Sharks Safety Tips mention to avoid swimming in murky water on number four in their list.
Be safe out there!