Maui is known as a paradise throughout the world. For her awesome and unique snorkeling like at Molokini crater to her lush and exotic rainforests, to her one-of-a-kind landscapes like the dormant volcanic crater of Haleakala. And while Hawaii has some of the best beaches in the world with blue water, palm trees, some of the best snorkeling can’t be found on the shores of Maui. Molokini Crater is only accessible by boat, yet it is one of the most popular snorkeling locations in all of Hawaii, the United States, and even the world. If you’re looking for a more complete guide, check out the best Molokini Crater Guide, but here’s a brief background of the famous snorkeling spot in Maui.
Molokini Crater history
Molokini Crater is unique and there are only three places in the world like it. Geographically, it is a Caldera, which is a “large depression formed when a volcano erupts and collapses.” In a way, it is kind of like a sinkhole that has collapsed when the magma that once rested under the area erupted out of a nearby volcano as lava, leaving no structural support to the area ends up caving in.
Molokini crater resulted as Maui’s resident, the dormant volcano that erupted over 200,000 years ago. And while there are more than three calderas in the world, there are only two others in the world like Molokini that you can snorkel in.
Since Molokini is two miles from the nearest shoreline, Molokini makes for a beautifully pristine snorkel location. Shore snorkel spots are subject to weather conditions that just don’t affect the crater in the same way. When there’s swell, many places along the shore become murky because of the repetitive pulsing of the water which causes the sediment and sand to get stirred up. Rain also affects many places along the shore, which doesn’t affect Molokini in the same way since the crater mainly rocks. Because of these reasons and others, Molokini consistently has visibility in the water up to 100 feet deep and, many times, more.
What Will I See At Molokini Crater?
Molokini is a home for pretty much all marine life that you can see around the island, except turtles. Molokini is about two miles from the nearest shoreline. Because of this, the turtles would have to swim two miles to get what they could get on the shores of Maui, and they wouldn’t have to cross that span of water, where they are more likely to come across their predators, tiger sharks.
Also, Molokini doesn’t have any sandy beaches, which is where turtles lay their eggs and sleep. They also are just really looking for food during the day, and they can get that at the shoreline of Maui as well, without having to swim a marathon.
Aside from the turtles, you’ll see triggerfish of many different colors, tropical fish, parrotfish, needlefish, and trumpet fish, and all other sorts of marine life and many other species of fish. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a reef shark, which is not inherently aggressive toward humans. In fact, they’re more active at night so there would be a good chance that if you saw one, it would either be sleeping or at least sleepy.
You also have a good chance of seeing an octopus but you’ll really have to keep a good lookout because they’re not usually easy to spot.
You’re also very like to see many other swimmers swimming, snorkelers snorkeling, and scuba divers scuba diving.
Is the reef of the Molokini crater dying?
While the reef is still in good shape, the people of Hawaii are doing a lot to keep the coral reef at Molokini and the entire island in good shape. Just as there are many different species of fish, there are also many different coral species as well.
One big thing that Hawaii is trying to do is limit the use of certain kinds of sunscreen. Many types of mainstream sunscreen have ingredients that are bad for coral reefs. With so many people snorkeling and getting in the water. Their sunscreen washes off and negatively affects the coral and Maui’s resident marine animals.
Is it still worth going to for snorkeling at Molokini in 2021?
Molokini is among some of the best snorkeling you can find on Maui and in the whole state of Hawaii. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a must.
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