Molokini is one of only three volcanic calderas in the world.
Located just a few miles off Maui’s shore, it is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary. Scientists believe Molokini Crater formed about 150 thousand years ago.
Molokini rises from 300 feet below the ocean’s surface and is just under a half-mile wide and peaks at about 160 feet above sea level with half of it being hidden under the surface of the ocean. Divers and snorkelers flock from all around the world to experience the incredible underwater marine life.
Island marine preserve
The isolation of Molokini Crater creates a unique Maui snorkeling experience. There are significant reasons why Molokini snorkeling is so special. The quality of the water surrounding Molokini is superior, providing unsurpassed clarity. Visibility is consistently excellent, often in excess of 150 feet. Molokini is rock, with no soil to wash down into the water.
Absent of sediment, the water is amazingly clear allowing excellent sunlight penetration. This enhanced sunlight feeds the algae living inside the coral. Offshore currents bring food, while flushing away what little sediment exists. The result is a uniquely healthy coral reef providing unsurpassed Maui snorkeling. Located in the middle of Molokini, this reef is protected from waves and surges.
Ready to discover?
Inside the sheltered arms of the crater, Molokini is an amazing underwater Marine Sanctuary. Underwater at Molokini is a flourishing coral reef, where thousands of fish and marine animals cohabitate. Molokini’s shallow reef is teeming with a wide variety of colorful and fascinating fish and marine animals. You will experience a rare opportunity to closely observe the marine life at Molokini Crater.
Your Molokini snorkel adventure is one you will cherish and not soon forget! Molokini is the ultimate Maui snorkel, and because of its crystal clear sheltered waters, Molokini snorkeling is a safe and unique adventure for the entire family. From its shallow calm waters, diverse marine life and beautiful coral reef, Molokini snorkeling is superb.
Molokini Island was declared a Marine Life Conservation District in 1977. Since then, with increased concerns and interest in the health of Hawaii’s Reefs, the State of Hawaii in partnership with the University of Hawaii monitors the water quality and coral coverage at Molokini. Commercial operators including the Pride of Maui work together to protect Molokini, removing nothing from its waters.
Passenger vessels are tied to moorings, instead of dropping anchors on the reef. Fish and marine animals are not fed or harassed. From visitors to those of us who make a living by sharing the amazing beauty of Molokini with others, we’re all stewards and our protective measures are vital to the future sustainability of Molokini.
Seabirds crowd the steep slopes of Molokini. There are two primary species of nesting birds, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Bulwer’s Petrels. Over a thousand pairs nest in the rocky cliffs. The vast majority are Shearwaters, which feed at sea during the day, returning to their nests and chicks at night.
Brown Boobies also roost at Molokini, along with large Frigate birds, whose wingspan can reach 7 feet across. The Frigate birds with superior flying skills harass other seabirds until they drop their food, which the Frigate bird recovers in mid-air. Hawaiians named them Iwa birds, which translated means thief.
TWO BOATS, TWO ADVENTURES
Which one will you choose?
You can sail to Molokini Crater in two ways. On the smaller Leilani, with a capacity of up to 40 people, or a larger catamaran Pride of Maui for up to 149 people.
Important info to know
Molokini Crater history
During World War II, Molokini was used for target practice. Bombing and strafing left impact craters, shrapnel, and bullets along the slopes of Molokini, still visible today. It is believed that roosting and nesting birds avoided Molokini during the War, because of target practice and strafing maneuvers.
What awaits you
Snorkeling at Molokini is unlike any other Maui snorkeling experience because of its unique dynamics and underwater majesty. Molokini has beautiful coral reef and marine animals With over 200 species of fish, many endemic to Hawaii,
exploring the coral reef is the experience of a lifetime. A rare treat is the gentle plankton-feeding Whale Shark, known to visit Molokini. Whale sharks are very large plankton feeders (aka vegetarians) which are not a threat to humans.