Unless you know what to look for, it may be easy to miss an octopus while snorkeling. With an amazing ability to mimic, even changing their texture, from a smooth soft skinned animal to one that is rough, bumpy, and spiky allows them to take on the appearance of their surroundings and even look like other animals.
The “beak” is the only hard part of an octopus, so that allows them access into some pretty small spaces. We’ve seen the octopus pictured here slip into a hole with an opening no bigger than a human fist. It is quite something to see an octopus cycle through and flash their colors rapidly.
Should you find yourself lucky to see an octopus, keep your “eyes on the prize”, so to speak … very likely, only for a moment will you see what you envision when you think of the octopus (in Hawaiian, He’e “Day Octopus” or very commonly referred to as Tako).
Spotted eagle rays are found globally in tropical regions from the Indo-Pacific area to parts of the Pacific Ocean and the Western Atlantic.
These beautiful creatures are generally found in shallow coastal water by coral reefs and bays, in depths down to about 250-260 feet, in warm, temperate, waters worldwide, including the West-Atlantic Ocean, in the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina and down to Florida, in the Caribbean, and down past the southern part of Brazil. In the West-Pacific Ocean, they are usually sighted from the Red Sea to South Africa and also in Northern Japan and Australia. They can also be found in the Eastern-Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California down through Puerto Pizarro, an area that includes the Galapagos Islands.
They spend much of their time swimming freely in open waters, generally in schools close to the surface, and can travel long distances in a day. We were lucky enough to spot these two on one of our daily snorkel excursions and to get great photos!
Our Morning Molokini Snorkel Tour has made us famous and will continue our success into the future. One of the reasons our morning tour is so popular is because it has the best success in reaching and offers the most time inside the Crater. Unlike other trips, that offer 2 snorkel spots, the Four Winds gives you the most time to relax and enjoy snorkeling by staying at one location the longest.
Four Winds has free use of kids-size masks and snorkels, kids-size wet suits rentals (available for rent), free use of view port boards (like a boogie board but with a glass port built in so you can see what is below without even getting your head wet), float boards, water noodles, and free snorkeling instruction for kids.
Our Glass Bottom Viewing Room is always a hit with kids and families and is not something you’ll find on any other boat. You do not even have to be a swimmer to get the sensation of being right in the middle of the snorkeling action, when you sit in safety and comfort and see all the amazing underwater sights.
While other boats may serve fancier (or lesser) fare, the Four Winds II serves up a hearty, delicious, all-American, barbecue lunch grilled right on board. We believe that a fun trip should feel like a summer’s day picnic out at sea every day. Nobody goes hungry with tiny portions on our boat. This is one of the reasons why so many families, who return to Maui year-after-year, choose the Four Winds II, again and again, for their preferred snorkeling adventure. Our BBQ is just simply yummy. So delicious, in fact, that over the years many of the crews from other boat companies, moored nearby, have actually swam-over to the Four Winds II to get some of our BBQ lunch for themselves. Now that says something about our food!
From the young to the young-at-heart, Four Winds is the boat for the entire family and anyone of every age! All of us at Maui Classic Charters truly recognize how precious each and every moment you have with your children and family are and we know how valuable your vacation time is too! We work hard to provide your family with a trip, and the excellent experience, that will create memories to last a lifetime.
It seems lately that we’ve been having the discussion about various snorkel boats taking people to multiple destinations in a single trip from Maui. This, of course, drove me to look for the best answers.
While there are numerous boats going out almost daily on snorkeling tours to Molokini Crater, Turtle Town and more, the difference is in the QUALITY of the experience and location rather than the QUANTITY of places you visit. Whether you choose one of our boats or another one, here are a few tips that will help you make an informed decision.
Ask questions about the size and capacity of the boat as well as how many people go on any given trip. If you are going to be with 100+ people, multiple stops will leave you feeling like you need a vacation after being herded on and off the boat. Select one that stays in a single spot. Smaller groups can make two spots with relative ease.
The very best examples I can use are our boats and our snorkeling trips. We just happen to have two boats and both are very different from each other.
Our Four Winds II is one of the large catamarans mentioned earlier, at 65′ long and 35′ wide with two decks and storage below the main deck. While she was built for 160 passengers, we limit trips to Molokini to 120 and spend almost three hours at the Crater. This allows maximum space for passengers to spread out and enjoy!
While at Molokini crater, guests are able to come on and off the boat at their leisure, snorkel for a while, try out the water slide, grab lunch and a refreshing beverage and even sit in the glass bottom viewing room. You never feel the sense of urgency to “hurry up and see everything” you might if you knew you had a short amount of time (trust me, anyone with a family will very much appreciate this point!). We do make a stop to do some turtle watching but don’t get off the boat.
For those wishing to experience more than one destination and still enjoy that laid back feeling we all love on Maui, the Maui Magic is a prime example of a boat designed to do just that! This 54′ power catamaran was designed for 64 passengers but we do this trip to 45 for maximum comfort.
When groups are this small, making more than one snorkel destination is a snap! The Captain heads South to narrate while sharing the history and culture (always captivating, even to this long time Maui resident!) of the island and looking for dolphins.
We do visit Molokini on this trip but can easily do this in 50-60 minutes and nothing seems “left un-seen”. We are able to move to a second spot where we snorkel with Hawaiian sea turtles (Honu), the grill is fired up and, again, the bar is open and the food is plentiful. Everyone is able to come on and off the boat, try out the water slide, have lunch and just take in the beauty that surrounds you.
Regardless of your choice, get the details and don’t just take the lowest price. I’ve found the advice “you get what you pay for” to be true in this as much as everything in life!
One of the most common questions we hear is “How’s the weather on Maui?”. My answer is usually something like “we don’t call it Paradise for no reason”. The recent, unusual conditions have, of course, prompted me to find some better answers.
The Hawaiian islands actually provide a diverse collection of “micro-environments”, complete with unique weather, plants, and animals. As a result of the shielding effect of volcanic mountains and the differences in weather found at various elevations, you can find tropical rain forests, cool mountainous regions, arid deserts, and sunny beaches.
December through March tend to yield the most rain, however, winter showers do not generally have much impact on vacation plans, as the weather tends to be somewhat localized. This means that if it is raining where you are, there is almost always a sunny spot to be found around the coast. There is actually a saying “if you don’t like the weather where you are, drive for fifteen minutes and you’ll find it completely different” and this is usually accurate.
One thing to always remember is that without rain, we have no waterfalls and no rainbows, so ignore the showers and come on out, the weather’s FINE!
As Humpback Whale season nears an end, we are all excited to see these majestic marine mammals! Just yesterday, Maui Magic crew members caught an epic shot of a Humpback in front of her sister boat, the Four Winds II … talk about being in the right place at the right time! Now is the time to join us for a whale watch and snorkel before they head back to Alaska for the summer.
If you visit the Hawaiian Islands and don’t give snorkeling a try, most would say you’re missing the best part! Maui offers some of the best recreational snorkel spots in the State, with crystal clear waters, a wealth of marine life and many people’s favorite destination …. Molokini Crater!
While there are many lovely beaches and other areas to try this activity, getting your “feet wet”, so to speak, is best done on one of the wonderful snorkeling tours offered. You may hear otherwise; however, unless you know our ocean conditions well, it is always a good idea to have someone with real experience show you the ropes before heading out on your own.
With numerous guided snorkel tours from Maui there are many great choices; we are a little biased (understandably so!) and have found that a great number of people tend to agree!
Molokini is our primary morning destination on the Four Winds II, ensuring that you get more out of your snorkeling experience by staying at one site longer, rather than having to spend time mooring and outfitting passengers at two different locations. This makes the trip much more relaxing in the sheltered waters of the Crater. This is how we provide you with the best snorkel on Maui!
We also offer afternoon fun in the sun at a great price! This excursion is a lighter and shorter version of our Classic Morning Molokini Trip. With a later start-time, this is a great option if you like to sleep-in or you want to add something to your morning Maui itinerary.
Typically, due to the afternoon Maui trade winds, this trip snorkels at Coral Gardens unless weather permits us to reach Molokini Crater. Coral Gardens is also one of Maui’s premier snorkeling destinations (Coastal Living Magazine rates it as one of the World’s Top Ten Snorkel Sites) and offers a treasure of underwater sights, abounding with amazing marine-life.
For the adventure seeker, our Maui Magic offers a stellar alternative to the local rafting trips. No tour is ever the same! And certainly no trip is ever boring! Due to her unique design, the Maui Magic has a wide choice of locations she can access. Unlike other boat trips that only have one or two spots that they can visit, the Magic gets to explore a lot more of the coastal waters around the island. We get to see amazingly-beautiful tropical fish, colorful corals, Spinner and Bottlenose Dolphins, Green Sea Turtles and even seasonal Humpback Whales! The added bonus? Along the way, you get to explore Maui’s dramatic coastline that very few boats travel to!
Whether planning your trip to Hawaii or already here, a guided snorkel tour is an absolute MUST DO …. see you on the water!
During Maui’s whale watch season both our trips offer the unique combination of a Snorkeling Trip and Whale Watching Tour all in one. Why just do one ocean activity when you can experience both? You can watch the fantastic displays of the Humpback Whales in action and also get the chance to snorkel and explore the amazing underwater sights of Molokini or Coral Gardens too. It is like getting two different tours at one great price!