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a person swimming in the water

When you visit the island of Maui, you frequently hear reference to something called “Molokini.” Though it sounds like a delicious Hawaiian cocktail, or maybe a daring new style of beachwear, people talk about going to it, calling it a beautiful escape for when you need to get away from it all. But what exactly is Molokini, and why is it such a popular destination for locals and tourists alike?

a large body of water

It all started some 230,000 years ago with the eruption of a Pleistocene-epoch volcano. The seemingly innocuous rock formation jutting from the crystal blue waters of the Pacific is just the tip of a large, partially submerged volcanic crater. It sits between Maui and Kaho’olawe in the ‘Alalakeiki Channel, its crescent shape covering about 23 acres.

While there may not seem to be much to the crescent rock, much of what Molokini offers hides beneath the surface of its watery shroud. On top, it’s just a rocky, volcanic crater, but below the surface, just off its shoreline, there awaits a world of awe and wonder unlike any you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.

Which brings us to the second question – why would you want to snorkel off a volcanic crater?

Why Should You Snorkel off Molokini?

Looking at the strange rock formation from above, you can get a shadowy glimpse of the coral formations beneath the surface, giving you a pretty good idea of what lies beneath, begging to be explored. Molokini has become such a hot spot for snorkeling as its booming ecosystem is filled with fearless tropical fish, expanses of coral reef, and other curiosities you won’t find on land.

a turtle swimming under water

Hawaiian green sea turtle at Molokini Crater

The coral is so abundant and the water so clear that there’s an endless variety of things to see. On clear days, visibility exceeds to depths of 150’, giving you a great view of the deep blue that surrounds you. It’s an exhilarating experience to explore this crystal-clear world beneath the crater’s glassy surface. Watch as sea turtles glide near the coral and see the ecosystem in a way that makes you feel like you’re watching a nature documentary.

The intriguing wildlife doesn’t just live below the surface, either. Molokini attracts hosts of seabirds, such as the Wedgetailed Shearwater and Bulwers Petrels. When you need a break from being underwater, pop back up and watch closely to see thousands of these stunning avian creatures within the rocky cliffs of Molokini’s crater.

Set Sail for Molokini Crater

If it’s a unique experience you’re looking for, then it’s time to book your adventure to Molokini. From the luxurious boat ride from Maui to the crater, to the first moment you dip your head beneath the surface to view this incredible underwater world, Molokini is an experience to be enjoyed by every traveler to the Hawaiian Islands.


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