Experience an adventure unlike any other. This is how we would describe snorkelling at Molokini. Molokini is an unique and dynamics underwater majesty with incredibly beautiful coral reef and over 200 species of fish and marine life
Snorkelling inside the Molokini Crater offers remarkable visibility, up to 150 feet and an unforgettable experience for you and your entire family.
Molokini is a crescent shaped volcanic crater partially submerged that forms a small islet in Alalakeiki Channel in Maui Hawaii. It is one of only three volcanic calderas in the world. It rises from 300 feet underneath the ocean’s surface half of it being hidden beneath the water.
It is an unique piece of history formed from the remains of one of the seven Pleistocene epoch volcanoes that formed the Maui Nui Island. Molokini has an area of 23 acres, 161 feet at its highest point and a diameter of about 0.4 miles.
This place is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary and tourist passionate by snorkelling and diving alike flock from all around the globe to experience the unbelievable beauties this island has to offer.
Molokini Crater has a rich cultural history and in the Hawaiian legend it was a beautiful lizard that fell in love with a chief named Lohiau. The fire goddess named Pele was also in love with the same man. Blinded and consumed by jealousy the goddess did not appreciate her competition for Lohiau and decided to murder Molokini by cutting her in two and and turning her into stone. The legend says that Molokini’s head is the cinder cone named Puu Olai, or Red Hill by Makena Beach at the south end of Wailea, as the rest of her body became Molokini Crater.
According to Molokini.com the crater is what is left of an eruption that occurred approximately 230,000 years ago.
Archaeological evidence show that the island was primarily used for fishing and harvesting eggs and feathers from seabirds.
United States Navy used Molokini for target practice, during World War II, as its shape is slightly similar to a battleship. The attacks and bombing left impact craters and bullets along the slopes of Molokini that are still visible today.
According to Wikipedia from the 1950s through the 1970s, commercial collecting of black coral took place in Molokini. Between years 1975 -1984, the Navy detonated in-place unexploded munitions found within the crater, these actions resulted in the destruction of large colonies of coral. Volunteer divers initiated a thorough search in order to find and manually remove all of the unexploded munitions
In the year 1977 Molokini, the crater and the surrounding 77 acres of terrain were declared a Marine Life Conservation District.
Since then, the State of Hawaii along with the University of Hawaii constantly work together to protect this unique place. Nothing is removed from Molokini Crater’s waters and are there are strict rules that tourists need to respect and obey.
The whole Molokini area is divided in different zones that have different specifics and certain restrictions. The central portion of the crater is considered subzone A. This means that there are special restrictions of possibly harmful activities. Such restrictions include: fishing or capturing fish, anchor where not permitted, feeding the underwater creatures, alter coral in any way.
According to this website there are 8 distinct areas to Molokini Crater:
1. SHARK CONDOS
Here you can experience the adventure of your live swimming side by side with harmless reef sharks. You can also find lobsters hiding in the caves under subaquatic platforms.
2. FLYING SEA CLIFFS
One of the best places preferred by scuba divers. Here you can admire red sponge found under the ledges and tube coral. Under the main shelf, there is another 80 feet of water before reaching the bottom.
This place is dedicated to the less experienced divers. Perfect for intermediate level and even beginners. It starts around 30 feet deep and slopes down to about 60. If you decide to swim close enough to the crater wall you will have the chance to admire plenty of butterfly fish.
4. THE BACK SIDE
The ideal spot for experienced divers. This place is renowned for black, grey and white reef sharks, spinner dolphins, hundreds of tropical fish and manta rays.
5. THE MIDDLE REEF
Perfect for beginner and intermediate divers. Situated in the centre of Molokini, the Middle reef is shelter for a wide variety of tropical fish. Here you can admire amazing underwater life varying from butterflyfish, trumpet fish to whitetips and Giant Trevally.
6. TAKO FLATS
Excellent for beginners and intermediate divers. This shallow channel is home to a wide variety coral heads and underwater creatures such as octopus, nudibranchs and barracudas.
7. EDGE OF THE WORLD
Here you can find the deepest spots to dive that can go to 250 feet. This side of Molokini Crater is constantly out of the sunlight. Due to this it is home to a wide variety of unusual marine life.
8. REEF’S END
The western tip of the Molokini Crater is perfcet for snorkel lovers and beginner divers. This reef is covered in Cauliflower coral and features a wide variety of underwater life.
This is what creates the most unique snorkelling adventure you will ever experience.
We can put together a wide list of significant reasons why Molokini diving and snorkelling is so special and one of the most important aspects would be that the quality of the water surrounding this area is superior. Molokini is one big rock, with no soil to mix into water, visibility submerged is excellent even under 150 feet. With no sediments the water is crystal clear permitting excellent sunlight penetration. This process feeds the algae living inside the coral resulting in uniquely healthy reefs and ultimate snorkelling experiences.
Inside the protected walls of the crater, Molokini is the perfect Marine Sanctuary where thousands of marine animals and fish cohabitate.
Some of the more common fish include: black triggerfish, moray eels, yellow tang, parrot fish, blue fin trevally, moorish idol, raccoon butterfly fish and occasionally manta rays and reef sharks.
Molokini is the ultimate Maui snorkel destination offering a safe and unique adventure for the entire family. This will be the experience you will cherish forever.