Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater
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An all around excellent spot to do some snorkeling or diving off the southwest coast of Maui.

• General: Educational

Molokini is a crescent shaped and partially submerged volcanic crater located off the southwest coast of Maui. It's between Maui and Kaho'olawe in the Alalakeiki Channel and is part of Maui county.

It's not very big with an area around 23 acres but has a very protected inner area that's hugely popular for snorkeling and scuba diving. It's also a state seabird sanctuary so you can't actually go up onto the crater itself.

While here, you cannot remove any of the marine life (etc), nor can you drop anchor since that could damage the coral reef. Tour boats can go here because they can attach to mooring points under the water and have permission to do so. It's actually pretty neat to see how far down some of these people dive down to tie off the boat and how long they can stay down there on a single breath while they do it.

The legend of Molokini goes like this: Molokini was a woman and she happened to be in love with the same man as Pele (you know, the fire goddess). Pele got jealous, cuts the head off of Molokini turns her to stone. The body is the Molokini crater you see today, the head is the small rocky mountain you see directly east (right behind Little Beach (Pu'u Ola'i Nude Beach)).

In more recent times, during World War II, the islet was used for target practice. Yes, another brilliant move from our government and military but the folks that used to live at Bikini Atoll (located in the Marshall Islands, not Hawaii) won't shed a tear for Molokini after what that same military did to their islands!

Anyhow, well after the war the U.S. Navy found some unexploded bombs near the crater and detonated them where they were which then destroyed some of the coral which didn't go over well with the public. So some seriously crazy divers them searched for further unexploded munitions and moved them to deeper waters where they could be more safely exploded. Those are some seriously good people who risked their lives so you can enjoy Molokini today.