Molokini Crater – Maui Hawaii
The Four Winds II has been operating snorkel tours to Molokini for over 30 years. The beautiful clear blue water and incredible marine life provides you with the best snorkeling on Maui and an unbelievable experience.
Molokini: A Unique Snorkel Experience
Molokini remains at the top of the list of “must see” destinations when on Maui. The snorkeling is some of the best in all of Hawaii and has been contently voted as a top reef snorkel site. Even the back side of the crater is considered, to be one the 10 best dive spots in the world.
Located just a few miles off Maui’s rugged Makena coast, lies the alluring, sunken volcanic crater of Molokini. Only three sheltered volcanic calderas still exist, with Molokini being one of them. Here the crystal-clear tropical waters are home to an array of fish and other unique species of marine-life that all seek shelter inside this beautiful crater.
Due to the protective shelter the crate provides, snorkeling at Molokini is extremely safe. Our trusty crew is always available, both inside and outside the water, to assist and make sure you get the most out of your snorkel experience.
This volcanic crater formed some 230,000 years ago. What you see today is the remains of a giant center cone that rose above the surface. Many cones never break the surface of the water, thus adding to distinctiveness of Molokini Crater. Water-erosion and sinking over time has created the familiar crescent shaped landmark we know and love today. History shows this was a fishing ground to ancient Hawaiians. Today, Molokini Crater is a carefully protected Marine Life Conservation District, and is declared a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary.
The Hawaiian Legend of Molokini
The fire goddess, Pele, was in love with a prince (whom also happened to be a gecko or Mo’o.) The prince fell in love with another woman, and in her fury, Pele took her revenge, by cutting the woman in half. The head of the body became Pu’u Olai, which is the cinder cone mound on the north end of Makena Beach (Big Beach.) The body fell into the ocean and became Molokini Crater.
Marine Life at Molokini
The amazing thing about snorkeling Molokini is that fact that you can snorkel inside the crater itself and experience its underwater sanctuary. Below the surface you will see beautiful coral reefs, fish and marine animals. The shallow reef allows for you to easily snorkel and witness the wide variety of colorful and elaborate fish and marine animals. This is an experience that you will never forget!
Molokini is federally owned and is a state seabird sanctuary. Seabirds flock to the slopes of the ancient crater. Molokini mainly attracts two types of nesting bird species, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Bulwers Petrels. Shearwaters feed during the day and return to their nests and baby chicks at night. You can also find Frigate and Brown Boobies on Molokini, even though most of the birds tend to be Shearwaters. Fishing, collection or removal of specimens, landing, touching, and feeding fish within certain boundaries are all prohibited.
The Four Winds II is proud to assist in conservation and protection of the coral reefs surrounding Maui. We strive to help educate everyone we take snorkeling. We encourage guests to use Reef Safe Sunscreen (also offered onboard all our vessels) and ask you to not touch marine life as it can be damaging to the fragile coral and ecosystem.
What You Can Expect to See While Snorkeling at Molokini Crater
Molokini is home to approximately 250 species of fish (some of which are found nowhere else) and a variety of marine life. On most days, the water is crystal clear with more than 150 feet visibility. Marine life you may encounter while snorkeling in the crater are: a large array of tropical fish, coral, eels, monk seals, octopus (tako), an occasional manta ray, and unique lava formations. Additionally, you can see Humpback whales during whale season (December through March).
Molokini Crater Fun Facts:
1. Molokini is world renowned for its exceptional water clarity with visibility up to 150 feet.
2. It was created from an eruption that occurred about 230,000 years ago.
3. Molokini is home to about 250 types of marine species.
4. There are 38 diverse types of hard coral species inside Molokini Crater.
5. The island is home to at least 2 distinct species of nesting seabirds.
6. Molokini is a Marine Life Conservation District and the island is a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary.
7. Molokini’s literal translation means “many ties”.