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!
Never stop looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … your chances may just increase on a double rainbow!
Whether you join us for a Maui snorkeling tour on the Four Winds II or the Maui Magic Dolphin Discovery, you are certain to have a terrific time! The boat you choose should be based on the people traveling to ensure the very best experience.
If you are an adventurer that likes the wind in your hair, getting a chance to see dolphins in the wild, and the thrill of discovering a side of Maui that only a few will see… the Maui Magic is for you! The custom-built 54 foot, state-of-the-art, fast and comfortable power catamaran is totally unique in every way.
She was designed for Adventure Snorkeling. The experience you have aboard the Maui Magic is more than just your average snorkel tour! This is a true Hawaiian experience, with your Captain sharing interesting and unusual facts about Maui’s history, legends and culture. Our crew even begins the day with a traditional blowing of the Hawaiian Conch Shell! How’s that for different?
Four Winds II is a 55 foot, glass bottom catamaran – fondly referred to as “THE BOAT FOR FUN-LOVERS”! She offers two different Maui snorkeling trips to choose from daily. The first, and most popular snorkeling tour, is our morning snorkel to Molokini Crater. The second trip (perfect for late-risers or those that prefer a later start) is the afternoon snorkel to Coral Gardens or Molokini (when afternoon trade-winds permit us to reach the crater). Our boat trips offer something for everyone! Both boat tours are ideal for all ages and accommodate every level of snorkeling experience.
Whether you’re heading to Maui for the very first time or you are a seasoned visitor, be sure to check-out our trips and choose the snorkeling tour that’s perfect for your Maui ocean adventure!
Antler (or Staghorn) Coral is a stony, reef-building coral and inhabits most coral reef habitats in waters to about 75 feet in depth, usually living on horizontal surfaces.
The practice of blowing the conch shell, or “p’u”, dates back to the ancient past and continues in many present-day traditions in Hawai’i.
The popularity of the Triton’s trumpet is due as much to its beauty and size as to its ability to make sound when the tip of the shell’s pointed spire is removed or filed down (known as “blowing the p’u or conch shell”). The ribbed, spiral shell’s spotted inhabitant is the largest known snail in Hawaiian waters.
In generations past, special shells were cherished and handed down as a type of family heirloom. Today, it is not uncommon to find shops and web sites selling the Triton’s trumpet shell, the most commonly used type of p’u, to collectors and visitors who may have little idea of the shell’s cultural importance and even less knowledge of the animal that produced and lived inside this shell.
When allowed to mature undisturbed, they can reach 20 inches in length, but Tritons of this impressive size have become rare in Hawaiian waters and elsewhere.
Smaller ones can sometimes be found in relatively shallow waters at average depths of 9 to 75 feet in coral-rich habitat or around volcanic rock. Not known to stray far from their home bases and are presumed to live for many years. Longevity of Tritons likely depends upon availability of food, water conditions and harvesting practices.
As with most snails, the Triton’s trumpet snail possesses a head, eyes and tentacles. Its mouth is located at the end of a long tube or proboscis, a trunk-like feeding organ.
It can crawl about using its broad powerful “foot.” The creature’s beautiful shell protects its soft body and internal organs.
Tritons locate prey by scent and tend to hunt at night, preying on starfish and urchins, most notably the cushion star, red pencil urchin and crown of thorns sea star. The Triton is the sea star’s main predator and plays a unique role in keeping the coral reef safe from it.
The Triton trumpet’s name derives from the Greek god, Triton, who is often pictured blowing a trumpet shell horn to calm rough seas during a tempest.
Should you find yourself lucky enough to get a glimpse of a Triton’s trumpet while on a Maui snorkel tour, always enjoy with your eyes only … leave them where they live. Every living creature plays an important role in maintaining the delicate balance of reefs that may already be severely impacted by a host of causes.