Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Arizonan on Maui: Snorkeling at Molokini

The most eye-opening experience on Maui was snorkeling at Molokini. It is astounding how much you see when you explore the ocean.

We booked a snorkeling trip through Seafire, one of the cheapest companies to go through, at $55 a person for three hours. As we waited at the Kihei boat ramp for it to arrive, another tour operator asked what boat we were going to ride on. When we responded Seafire, he condescendingly told us it would be the boat that would be last to leave Kihei. He was right. But that didn't mean our experience wasn't amazing.

View from the Kihei boat ramp.

On the way to Molokini we saw many turtles that had come up for air. My excitement intensified as we approached the crater. Along with the usual safety information, we were instructed to come back toward the boat when they hung a towel from it so that we could "go on an adventure."


Molokini had so many different kinds of fish to admire. I would recommend an underwater camera. A disposable one worked just fine for me, although a digital would give much better quality images.

Once I noticed the towel signal, it was time to swim over the "edge." The edge is the end of the crater where you can swim over and look down as it drops down hundreds of feet. It was quite unsettling but incredible to see the water go from light blue to dark so quickly.

The edge we swam over was on the right side.

Next, we boarded the boat to go to our second spot, an old boat that sank years ago. I immediately saw a turtle, and when I looked down into the water I spotted another just underneath us, swimming over the boat and two scuba divers already there. This was a quick stop on the way to Turtle Town, which I later learned can mean one of a couple of places. The Turtle Town we went to was near the Kihei boat ramp where we launched. Here we spotted many turtles. I counted nine in the water throughout the day.

Turtles are my favorite animals, so getting so close to them was a dream come true for me. Can't wait to do it again!

I would recommend Seafire. Though it's not as fancy as the other boats I saw, the people were friendly and knew a lot about marine life. We were fed muffins and pineapple slices throughout and were offered a marine guide book to look through to identify our sightings. One of the guides was a woman from Flagstaff, Arizona, who was friendly and accommodating. She seemed passionate about swimming with the fish and turtles. She also let me wear her hoodie when I was cold and offered me a towel, and these personal touches were greatly appreciated.

The Seafire.