After a day in Lahaina, a day on Haleakala, and another day spent lounging around the resort, it was time for some snorkeling! The only camera we took along was my iPhone, but we still got a few good photos of our day. We booked a tour with Trilogy Excursions to Molokini — a partially submerged volcanic crater just off the coast of Maui that’s one of the most popular snorkeling and dive spots in the world. It’s less than half a mile across, so it’s a tiny speck of land out in the middle of the water.
The Trilogy trip left bright and early at 6:30 a.m. so we got to the crater ahead of most of the other boats, which was nice. We’d been warned to bring a sweatshirt for the trip out there since it can be chilly, and that was good advice. There were about 30 other people on the boat (a nice catamaran) with us.
The trip actually took us to two different snorkeling spots. First was Molokini, where the highlight was seeing an octopus scooting along the bottom. There were also plenty of colorful tropical fish including Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. (Say THAT three times fast.)
Before we jumped off the boat, Jose asked if they had wetsuits (since their website had said they did). They gave us each a wetsuit top, and a lot of other people on the boat quickly asked for one as well. It was kinda funny — Jose started a trend! The boat guides teased everyone because they didn’t think the water was cold, but with a temperature around 78 degrees, it felt chilly to me, and definitely colder than the Gulf and Caribbean. Not so cold that you couldn’t swim and snorkel, of course, but cold enough that after 30-40 minutes in the water snorkeling, I was shivering pretty good!
The water inside the crescent of Molokini is calm and sheltered, but after we finished there, the boat took us around the back side of the island on our way to our next spot. The island looks completely different from there — waves from the open ocean pounding the shore, and lots of rocky, craggy cliffs.
From Molokini, we went to a spot called “Turtle Town” off Napuna Point on Maui. I was skeptical, but it totally lived up to its name! Within minutes of jumping into the water, a HUGE sea turtle went swimming past and below us. He had to have been at least 4 feet long! I’ve seen one other sea turtle in the wild before, while snorkeling off Cozumel last year, but that one was tiny compared to this guy. It was so cool! By the end of our 45 minutes in the water (at which point I was shivering again and ready to get out) we’d seen two other sea turtles that were just as big! I actually spotted one of them while my head was above water — I saw a splash out of the corner of my eye and turned to see a turtle who had come up to breathe. SO COOL.
With our two snorkeling spots finished, we started back towards the harbor and the guy on the boat served us a surprisingly tasty lunch. They also put the sails on the catamaran up, so we got to sail instead of motor for a little while. It was a gorgeous sunny day, but the chill of being in the water stayed with me for a while and I was bundled up in Jose’s sweatshirt for the rest of the trip!
I’ve only been snorkeling three times, but each has been in a pretty spectacular location — Belize, Cozumel, and now Maui. Belize was first and still ranks as the best in my book, but I’d rank Maui above Cozumel because of the sea turtles alone!