Coral Gardens is renowned for the incredibly beautiful and massive coral heads of several different varieties. Coastal Living Magazine called it one of the world’s top ten snorkel sites.
Coral Gardens is a unique, beautiful natural reef formation that is located in a naturally protected bay, which provides a canopy of hard coral that is loaded with a multitude of nooks and crannies. These make the perfect dwelling place for a spectacular array of marine life. It’s an ideal, medium to shallow depth snorkeling location because the seabed slopes gently away from the shoreline along the West Maui Mountains which makes it the ideal spot for the beginner and intermediate snorkeler.
Coral Gardens is home to Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, hundreds of Hawaiian fish like: Parrot Fish, Angel Fish, Trigger Fish and Butterfly Fish, Crabs, Octopus and a variety of Eels are also full time residents also.
Occasionally, we see an endangered Hawaiian Monk seal here, basking in the sun on the rocky shore.
Maui Classic Charters was one of the original boat companies to first explore this treasured habitat and because of this, we were able to secure one of the premium mooring spots.
You are able to snorkel right on top of the most spectacular reef formations that is bustling with marine life!
Every winter, when storms sweep through the North Pacific and the ocean gets particularly chilly, humpback whales head south—specifically to the warm waters of Hawaii’s Au’Au Channel alongside Maui. And if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these graceful behemoths, January through mid-March is the best time of year to see them!
There are a number of great certainties in life; the sun will set each night, Old Faithful will continue to blow, the humpback whales will return to Maui every year And people will go to see them! As cliché as it sounds, it’s absolutely true. Year after year, thousands of whales frequent the Hawaiian Islands to mate and give birth in the warm tropical waters. There’s something so amazing and majestic about watching a 40 ft long, 40 ton whale as it launches itself out of the water, putting on an aerial show for tens of thousands of onlookers every year.
The waters of Maui have long been the favored vacation spot of these massive marine mammals. During Whale season,we are one of the few companies that combine a snorkeling excursion with the exciting experience of viewing whales! enjoy all the fun of a snorkeling trip with the awe- inspiring show of the humpback whales! Our crew grills up the best burgers and chicken on Maui and serves you your choice of beverages while you spend a lazy afternoon snorkeling and enjoying the water slide!Viewing these majestic creatures from our whale watching boats is one of the most exciting things you will ever do! While on board,our Marine Naturalists and knowledgeable crew will enlighten and educate you about these wonderful creatures.
Every year from December through March the North Pacific Humpback Whales migrate to the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. The coastal waters of Maui by far, enjoys the largest concentration of these amazing animals and is some of the best in the world ,and as good as it gets! .
Sightings of these playful creatures, which grow as large as 50 feet and weigh about one ton per foot, on our afternoon snorkeling trip are quite regular!
Witness a mother whale frolic with her calf, or a full-grown adult breach out of the water. During your whale watch cruise these amazing animals will often display themselves in full glory, giving you the ultimate whale watching on Maui experience.
Some common behavior displayed on a whale watching trip includes blowing and spy hopping. They’ll also slap their tails, believed to be an act of communication and to demonstrate their individual strength. Spy hopping is when the humpback whales come high out of the water to literally have a look around at the world above.
A mature North Pacific Humpback Whale averages about 40ft in length & weighs about 40 tons, although can grow up to 16 meters or 52ft long. Their heavy bodies can weigh up to 50 tons. The heart alone is about 400lbs or more. The size of these whales makes them hard to miss, especially when they swim in groups. Female whales are slightly larger, in order to defend themselves and their nursing calves from the more aggressive males.
It is common during the Maui whale watching season to find large competitive groups (pods) of male humpback whales jousting for the opportunity to mate with a single female. Watching them is an exciting experience, as they wrestle with each other for the position to mate.
The female humpback whales with new born calves are particularly vulnerable to the advances of the males during the Maui whale watching season. Sometimes during our whale watch we are mugged (an affectionate term), by the female and her calf as she uses our large yacht to hide under in an attempt to ditch the hopeful males. Other times curiosity causes them to come closer to us. It’s the ultimate whale watching experience where photo opportunities create cherished memories. Join us for the best Maui whale watching for the memories of a lifetime! The North Pacific Humpback Whale is a baleen whale (toothless), declared as an endangered and protected species.
Humpback whales migrate in the thousands from the Gulf of Alaska to and around the Hawaiian Islands, and in particular the island of Maui, creating the perfect Maui whale watching experience. The island of Maui offers sheltered water, where the females can more safely give birth and raise their young.
Whales are mammals and the calves are fed with their mother’s milk. While suckling, it is believed they may be safer from predators in the sheltered Maui waters, as opposed to the open ocean or less protected seas.
Whale watching in Maui is as good as it gets, with the opportunity on any given trip to see numerous animals displaying a variety of interesting and memorable behaviors.
It is not uncommon for the whales to approach us as we sit idle in the water. Close encounters initiated by the whales are common on a whale watching tour in Maui.During the Maui whale watching tour, you might see a young calf swimming beside its mother. The newborn calves are about 14 feet long. When you see them, you have definitely experienced some of the best whale watching. They are not small, even when newborn.The mother stays with her offspring for about one year, feeding it with up to 100 gallons of milk every day. Life span has been discussed and not agreed upon by most researchers. No one knows how long humpbacks live, but bowhead whales (a cousin) have been proven to live well beyond 200 years!
To make your whale watch cruise in Maui even better, we’re going to take you on a snorkel adventure where you will enjoy snorkeling at one of Maui’s beautiful coral reefs. Whale Watching and snorkeling on the same cruise is the perfect pairing of the two most popular ocean adventures on Maui.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
“The crew was so helpful and fun! They made everyone feel safe and comfortable the entire time. Snorkeling at Molokini was incredibly clear and quite breathtaking! We will definitely recommend Maui Classic Charters to our friends who visit Maui! Thanks guys!
P.S. The kaluha pork was oh soooo good!”
Both the Four Winds II and the Maui Magic came across a massive pod of about 70 spinner dolphins on Wednesday’s trips. They were cruising the bay from Molokini Crater all the way along the south Maui coast. It was an amazing sight to see!
We say farewell for now to our friends from up north, as they travel back to the Alaskan waters to fill their belly’s with krill. They have astounded us yet again this winter, with their graceful and joyful behavior. We had another tremendous whale season here in Maalaea Bay, with both the Four Winds II and the Maui Magic having some of the best whale shows we have ever seen. We are always sad to see them go. Fortunately for us, they’ll be back in November for more fun in the warm Hawaiian waters.
There are over 80 species of surgeonfish worldwide with 25 of these varieties living in Hawaiian waters. Although they come in many different color variations, they all share the same basic structure. The name “surgeonfish” comes from their hard spines at the base of their tail. They have one spine on each side of their body that lies flat in a groove until the fish is provoked. In times of danger, a surgeonfish will flip its tail and the spines pop out like small knives. They resemble a surgeons’ scalpel, thus the name surgeonfish. The Orangeband Surgeonfish is quickly recognized by its orange spot or band, but it also goes through a fascinating color change as it matures. As a juvenile is solid yellow with just the slightest hint of blue edging the anal and dorsal fins. The adult looks quite different. The front half of a mature specimen (in this picture) is a light gray and the back half is a dark gray. In each case it still retains its shoulder marking, but the orange spot does becomes more brilliant with age. Surgeonfish are herbivores and reside in the shallow waters of the coral reef. They feed on algae, so look for them near rocks that get a lot of filtered sunlight. The Orangeband variety swim in schools along the sandy ocean floor and eat the scraps from other fish. They are like the garbage men of the region.
We went snorkeling at Olowalu on the Maui Magic the other day, and came across a bunch of turtles. We call it a cleaning station because the turtles hang out around here to get their shells cleaned off by the fish.
Can you spot how many turtles are in this picture?
There are actually 4! If you look just above and to the right of the turtle on the far left, there is one hanging out in the coral.
He startled me when I dove down to take a closer picture of the one in the sand! It was a really fun day with the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles!
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The Hawaiian Monk Seal haul themselves to the warm, sunny beaches of Hawaii to rest. Exhausted after a night of hunting, they often sleep for and entire day in the sand just above the surf, then get back in the ocean at sunset. Slumbering Monk Seals attract scores of curious tourist who will often study a motionless Monk Seal for hours trying to decide if it is even alive or injured. Don’t worry, they are just fine. This is very typical behavior! They need to regain their strength for feeding and defending themselves from predators and should never be approached or disturbed. They are protected by law!
It’s hard not to enjoy snorkeling at Molokini Crater when the visibility is well over 100ft on any given day, and all the coral and wildlife is so majestic! Here is a Parrot Fish hanging out with a couple of Yellow Tang right behind the boat. There are hundreds of species of fish that make their way around Molokini throughout the day. If you take your time snorkeling around, you’ll have opportunity to so see a great majority of them! It’s a whole different world down there and we are so fortunate to be able to experience it! Aloha!