Molokini Crater

5 stars from 6 reviews
An all around excellent spot to do some snorkeling or diving off the southwest coast of Maui.

• General: Educational

Full Description
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.

Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 46
Glad we took the boat tour trip. I wanted to snorkel somewhere safe as I am not experienced and went with friends who like to snorkel so I felt safe here. The boat trip was easy and scenic with lots of photo ops, wish I had invested in an underwater camera. The water was clear.
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 29
Likes Received: 8
Very good area for snorkeling but best to go deep. Some boat tours have SNUBA where you do not need tanks. Only a short boat ride to the crater and usually a calm area. Lunch is provided if needed.
Nancy G
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
We booked the early morning snorkel. My entire family enjoyed the boat ride especially my kids. It is ideal for all ages! It was beautiful above and under the water. We were able to swim with the fish! :) We'll definitely come back!
Rosemarie P
Joined: Jun 2016
Reviews: 7
Likes Received: 0
Unbelievable experience! Picture taking time! Be sure to take underwater camera! Beautiful fish and perfect water. I snuba-ed here and it was amazing! Lunch on boat was delish! If you love the ocean you must do this!
Joined: May 2016
Reviews: 67
Likes Received: 2
The water was exceptionally clear. I will admit that, but as for the wildlife I was disappointed. Boats come and all have different mooring areas, dump about 60 people in the water and I'm guessing at that point anything worth seeing finds a quiet place to hide. Some fish come right up to the boat, I'm assuming waiting for someone to lose their lunch.

I've snorkeled in different spots on Oahu, and a handful of spots on Maui. If you want to see some awesome wildlife go on a kayak tour early in the morning, you'll have a smaller group and even if you're not the first group to arrive at the snorkel spot you're not competing with tons of other people rushing to see the fun things. I'm glad I went to experience the clear water, but that was kinda the only thing that "wow'd" me.
Sue K
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 196
Likes Received: 9
I have snorkeled in some beautiful places around the world and Molokini Crater was definitely one of the best. The water is crystal clear and I saw an abundance of marine life. Because it is sheltered, it felt really safe too, so would be a good place to go if you aren't an experienced snorkeler.
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