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
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
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.