Monday, March 21, 2016

5 Caves / 5 Graves - Makena, Maui

The proper entrance to the 5 Caves area.
I haven’t been posting much lately, probably because I have been snorkeling at 5 Caves / 5 Graves so often in recent months, ever since my buddy and I ran up on a mermaid here. (I’m not kidding, there was a young woman wearing a mermaid costume swimming here.) This is currently my favorite spot to snorkel – next to Maluaka Beach – and ever since pollution and warm seas have bleached the coral in Honolua Bay.

Featuring two long – one of them currently healthy – fringing reefs, this location is a hot spot for coral, turtles, eels and well-fed fish, the latter thanks to the tour boats which inundate this area. Manta and eagle rays have been spotted from time to time in this area, too. Harmless white-tip sharks can also be seen here on occasion as you snorkel. I’ve never seen one here myself, but many people have reported seeing them.

As these reefs also features caves – hence the name – it is popular with divers just as much as it is popular with snorkelers. As a mediocre free-diving snorkeler myself, there is only one cave I know the actual location of that is midway along the northern reef as it juts out to sea,
The 'beach' that front the house. Respect their privacy, please.
but can usually be found by the air bubbles emanating out of the coral as divers enter the cavern below. According to anecdotal evidence, though, the whole area around here is rife with caves and there is a sea arch or two along the southern reef. To find turtles, either skirt the rocky shoreline (carefully) or follow the northern reef straight out and go a bit to the left (towards the southern reef) between where some tour boats park; there is a turtle cleaning station there to enjoy if you don’t mind crowds. Keep in mind to watch out for kayaking tourists that pass through this area on your way out, since they are unlikely skilled enough to avoid running you over if you get too close to them.

If you don’t care to snorkel and just want a nice spot to sit and watch the water, the northern reef will provide you with a seat from which you will inevitably see a turtle or ten.

Entrance is from a small rocky cove or from Makena Landing further south, from which you will have to swim north along the shoreline to get to the 5 Caves area.

My video of this location is below at the very bottom.

Directions: Head south on Piilani Hwy to the very end. Turn Right onto Wailea Ike Rd. Turn left at Wailea Alanui, go 1 mile to its end. Continue left onto Wailea Alanui which becomes Makena Road. Continue on Makena Rd. Turn right about 1/2 mile to stay on Makena Road. Continue about a 2000 ft. til you spot cars on the left and park. Follow the path next to the house toward the water. You can also continue further down and park at Makena Landing Park, which has a sandy entrance and a bathroom. This will add 20 minutes to your swim, though.

Park on the left, follow trail where the rock wall is.