Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boss Frog’s Frogman II Molokini Snorkel Tour

We certainly got up early for this one since all the reviews I’ve read about snorkel tours out of Maalaea indicated that the parking lot at the harbor fills up fast. We arrived 20 minutes before boarding, though, and parking was easy to find on the far side of the harbor, which meant a three minute walk to the slip. No big deal.

After checking in we found a nice place inside the cabin to sit, though it’s just as nice outside and upfront by the catamaran’s trampoline. The crew had placed some morning eats out which I have to admit were tastier than I expected. I think I eventually ate about half of all the little pieces of cinnamon cake they had. Fortunately, I had time to digest my “breakfast” as the ride out to Molokini took a bit over 45 minutes, time during which the captain was entertaining enough in recanting the ship’s strict rules and pointing out landmarks.

When we got to the crater, we were once again reminded to stay between the boat and the crater wall and not to stray too far to either side where other boats may come in. This resulted in 50 people trying not to kick each other as we got up close and personal with a school of black fish. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be much going on below the surface other than the black fish, and while the visibility is a good distance inside the crater, I didn’t find the coral all that remarkable. The water at Molokini is also noticeably colder than it is near shore, so be aware of that. That being the case, I would advise bringing your own wetsuit or rent one from the crew.

So between the crowd of snorkelers and the lack of marine activity inside the crater, I wasn’t all that impressed. I was more impressed by lunch, which featured cold cuts and drinks that weren’t half bad. We probably stayed at Molokini for 45 minutes, then shoved off for Turtle Town.

What you need to know about Turtle Town is that the location of Turtle Town varies by tour boat; it’s basically wherever the captain says it is which in this case was off Wailea Point. And we caught conditions on the right day as the water was warm and calm at Wailea Point with several turtles to be found. But the reality is, on a good day it would be easy to snorkel to the site where the boat stops halfway between Wailea Beach and Polo Beach. This stop was as good as any other, I suppose, but you needn’t book a snorkel tour to experience it.

After leaving Wailea Point came the best part of the trip, whale watching on the return the Maalaea Harbor. The whales were quite active today and we got a good view of several whales while remaining a respectful distance away. (The same cannot be said for many kayakers and paddleboarders.) Another word of advice: the surf conditions during the return towards Maalaea is often choppy, as winds change by the time you’re four-five hours into your trip. If you’re at all prone to sea sickness or don’t know if you are, please take Dramamine before getting on the boat! You’ll be doing everyone and yourself a favor.

All things considered, this snorkel tour was better as a whale watching tour and if it weren’t for the crew who were all professional, courteous, and entertaining, I may have minded. I wasn’t impressed by Molokini what with the amount of snorkeling I’ve done in my life and turtle town was okay, though I’ve seen more turtles elsewhere. At about $70 per person, I feel we only got our money’s worth because of the whales. If it weren’t whale season, I would have said don’t bother going to Molokini.