One of the
reasons people love Maui so much is the great snorkeling here. Since the
Hawaiian Islands are the most remote on earth, about 25-30% of the marine life
is "endemic" and can only be found here. This makes snorkeling on Maui a
wonderful experience. This webpage gives you tips on snorkeling here and some
of my favorite spots. At the same time, it asks for your help in preserving our
reef and sea life by acting responsibly while you snorkel.
| Snorkeling Tips
- Please use caution!!! Review the County of Maui
beach safety tips and watch the video. You can also chat with one
of the Ocean Safety Officers (lifeguards) about beach, surf conditions, and
ocean safety. Please obey their ocean safety signs.
- Use the buddy system. Do not snorkel alone!
- The best time to snorkel on Maui is in the morning
before the wind picks up. This is the time the water is the most calm and
clearest. While you may find good snorkeling after noon, it will really depend
on the wind and the specific location. You'll just have to check.
- The snorkel gear in the condo is from US Divers and
available at Costco. Adjust the band so it will stay on your face with just a
breath in through your nose. Not alot of pressure. If air leaks in, you may
want to consider renting gear from one of the dive shops locally. After you've
fitted the mask properly, I recommend putting a drop of baby shampoo (no tears)
or anti-fog in the mask before you get in the water. Give the mask a quick
rinse just before you're ready to put it on. The snorkel tube usually is
installed on the left side of the mask. You'll find it easier to put your
flippers on once you get in the water and past the shore break.
- Speaking of shore break, if the surf is more than a
couple of feet high, the water near shore will be churned up and not as clear.
In that case, I recommend you take a snorkle trip out to Molokini or Coral
Gardens.. There are several good snorkel trips available a
Maui Dive Shops, the
II (glassbottom catamaran) or the
Paragon II (snorkel &
sail). Alternately, you can take the Blue Water Rafting trip (KANAIO/ MOLOKINI) that explores the sea caves south of La
Perouse Bay and takes you to Molokini as well as "Turtle Town" with a lunch. It
is one of our favorites. You may even see Maui's famous
- Before you get to the water, apply a good
waterproof sun screen - especially on your back, neck and legs behind your
knees. The water can magnify the sun and because you'll feel cool while
snorkeling, you won't notice a sunburn until it's too late.
- While getting in or out of the water, NEVER turn
your back on the ocean. Doing so invites a wave to knock you down.
- If you want to get some pictures, there are several
underwater camera choices. You can get a disposable film camera from many of
the stores and shops located around the island. Many also have digital cameras
you can rent for a small fee. When you return the camera you keep the memory
chip with your photos. You can also purchase a digital camera for use
underwater as well as for regular, above water shots. We currently like the
12.1 MP Canon PowerShot D10 which you can find online. The underwater shots at
the bottom of this page were taken with a older 6 MP Sealife SL321
- Please do not feed the fish. Doing so actually
drives the more colorful fish from the reef!!!
- Do not touch or stand on the coral!!!
- Sometime during snorkeling along the shores of
South Maui, you will most likely see a
Green sea turtle ("Honu" in Hawaiian). If so, do not try to
touch it. If a turtle is trying to get to the surface, give it space to do so.
Turtles need to surface to get air.
- The ocean has a rhythm. If you watch the way the
fish behave, you can see it. Floating over a spot on the reef, you'll notice
the waves will move you back and forth. This is the rhythm I am talking about.
Enjoy the relaxation it imparts while you snorkel.
- Many of the most colorful fish are found in water
between the depths of 6 -20 feet. Be aware of the ocean's rhythm and currents.
Do not get in shallow water where a wave can wash you into coral or lava
- When you return from snorkeling, remove your
flippers when you can comfortably touch the bottom. Watch the ocean and return
to the shore when its safe between waves. Enjoy your snorkeling
There are many great
snorkel spots described in
Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook I suggest you get a
copy before you arrive so you can better plan your snorkel adventures. You can
also request a free
Guide with diving and snorkeling detailed maps from the Maui Dive
Here's are some favorite snorkel spots close to the condo.
- Kamaole Beach II / III The point between
Kamaole Beach II and III has good snorkeling and it's right in front of our
condo! I recommend entering on the Kamaole Beach III side of the point. Snorkel
out to the point across and around several lava/coral fingers. At the point,
the water is 16-20 feet depth. There is often a school of goatfish here along
with several varieties of surgeon fish, butterfly fish, wrasses, and puffers.
Watch for the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasses who have setup cleaning stations off the
point. Continue around the point back toward Kamaole Beach II. Here you'll find
a beautiful collection of sea urchins, more fish varieties and often a couple
of green sea turtles. Complete your snorkel coming ashore on Kamaole Beach
- Ulua / Mokapu Beach This beach is located
just off Wailea Alanui drive just beyond Andaz Resort and before you get to the
Shops of Wailea. Get here early as the parking lot fills up quickly. Sometimes
if you wait a few minutes, someone will leave and give you their parking spot.
Enter on the Ulua Beach side. You'll find a volunteer guide stationed at the
entrance to the beach that can help advise you on fish, conditions, etc. Ulua
has a large variety of fish, eels, and sometimes turtles, manta rays and an
octopus. You'll often see scuba divers swimming below you as they use this
beach for training.
- Wailea Beach This beach is located in front
of the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa and the Four Seasons Resort Maui in
Wailea. Public entry and parking is available off of Wailea Alanui drive
between the two resorts. Look for the small blue beach access sign on the right
after you pass the Grand Wailea traffic light. The best snorkeling area is on
the left side of the beach. There is more coral than Ulua / Mokapu but you'll
need to swim further.
The pictures below
where taken while snorkeling in the areas mentioned above. To learn more about
these fish, their habits, etc., pick up
Hawaii's Fishes : A Guide for Snorkelers, Divers, and
Aquarists. It is the best guide about the fish you'll see while snorkeling
and makes a great reference.