Maui Day 5: Molokini Crater

For my last full day on Maui I joined a snorkel tour to Molokini Crater. There are so many charter companies that the choices seem endless. I narrowed my selection down to just a couple and eventually selected Trilogy for my Adventure Tuesday.

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I wanted a large catamaran, Ma’alaea Harbor location and a boat that wouldn’t be packed. While still booked well below capacity, there were nearly 60 folks on this tour.

Interestingly, Trilogy was referenced on a Korean travel blog so drew a very diverse group. The only downside was with a few of the tourists there was a lack of English, novice snorkelers and considerable difficulty following some of the important coral and boat rules. The Captain mentioned they needed to create some Korean language informational sheets to help reduce the confusion. As someone who is language challenged but still travels I wholeheartedly encourage them to make the sheets!

The day started out extremely overcast, rainy and cool. Thankfully the crew had numerous wind breakers on board which kept us all warm. Plus fresh coffee and delicious homemade cinnamon rolls made the best of a dreary morning. And by the time we neared Molokini the day was looking more promising.

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Soon we were in the water. We first explored the right side of the crater. While folks say there aren’t as many fish as in the past, there was still abundant sea life if you took your time to simply float and observe. With crystal clear visibility for 80-100 feet, you could observe a lot! Tons of trigger fish, moorish idols, a few puffer varieties, tangs, parrotfish, urchins and more. The only thing I needed was an underwater fish ID card! The variety was impressive.

Once back on board for a short break I had the pleasure of being the first person to jump off the high side of the boat to the water about 6-8 feet below. It looks so much higher from where your eyes are! As I stood there with a crew member discussing the height, he offhandedly said to just jump. So I did. I don’t think he expected me to do so, but I’m keeping to my theme!

We next moved over to the left side of the crater to snorkel the reef wall. We did this in place of snorkeling closer to shore to see the turtles as the swells were still killing any offshore snorkeling in South Maui. Although disappointed in the lack of turtle snorkeling, the wall was pretty amazing. More, and larger fish varieties and I spotted a few crabs.

Back on board we were served a rather tasty lunch of teriyaki chicken, rice, salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls. Extremely tasty, abundant and great after several hours of snorkeling.

After a tour around the crater we headed back toward shore. As you can tell from the photo the day had turned glorious.

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While we were still some ways out we were rewarded by a turtle spotting! Finally turtles. There was a group of 6 or so just swimming through the water. They basically look like big floating rocks until they poke their heads up.

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The last leg of our journey it was time to put up the sails and harness the wind. Very relaxing after listening to the droning engines.

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Around 2 pm we were back on dry land (8 am departure). Between the engine noise, lulling of the ocean and several hours of snorkeling I figured it was time to simply sit by the resort pool with a Mai Tai, a book, and just enjoy the last few hours on Maui.

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As it was later in the day some of the prime pool chairs were open so I settled in to simply be and enjoy a dip in the pool.

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At the end of yet another great day on the island, I can’t muster up too much energy to head out to dinner so it’s simply cheese, crackers and a glass of wine on the patio.

Tomorrow I’ll say goodbye to this beautiful island. I’ve had a great time exploring and while only here for five days, I think I’ve done a great job seeing lots of its attractions and living my vacation to the fullest. And I must admit I’m happy I took a few extra days off work as I need to recover from my vacation!

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