Around 230,000 years ago, the Molokini Volcano erupted--one of the seven volcanoes that built the Hawaiian island chain. Today, the Molokini Crater is a State Seabird Sanctuary and recreation area off the island of Maui. Each year, the location receives over 300,000 visitors by boat for nature and wildlife observation. This historic crater is an awesome place to stop for nature-lovers and sportsmen from Hawaii as well as visitors from Mainland USA!
What to Do at the Molokini Crater?
Outdoor enthusiasts should look no further than the Molokini Crater. This volcanic atoll is an easy, scenic trip for individuals, small groups, or for families. Simply sightseeing and snapping photographs at the Molokini Crater is enough to make the trip worthwhile. However, the most popular pastimes at the crater are enjoyed underwater!
Snorkeling at Molokini is the best way to enjoy the crystal-clear water and colorful coral reefs. This zone has the best snorkeling, scuba diving, and snuba diving in the area. Exploring the underwater ecosystem is like entering a new world. Snorkelers and scuba divers will run into endemic species of fish and thriving coral reef passes. Watch out for tropical fish like the black triggerfish, butterfly fish, and parrotfish. Visitors are also liable to see ocean animals like manta rays, sea turtles, humpback whales, and reef sharks. Since the area is a bird sanctuary, travelers should notice species like Bulwer's Petrel and the Wedge-Tailed Shearwater. Finally, various coral species can be observed like the protected "black coral" found on the back wall of the Molokini Crater.
Fishing is allowed in this area, however, only just outside the crater zone in "Subzone B," according to the Division of Aquatic Resources.
How to Get to Molokini Crater
Molokini is a crescent shaped islet located in the Alal?keiki Channel about three miles off Maui's southwestern coast. The Molikini Crater can be accessed via boat ride or by catamaran from Maalaea Harbor, Makena Beach, or the Kihei Boat Ramp. Many people ask about leaving from Lahaina Harbor, but this is not recommended due to the long boat ride necessary to do so.
Otherwise, the crater is usually part of an individual's trip to the island of Maui which is the second largest Hawaiian island. This place is a dream destination with amazing weather, scenery, and many activities on offer. Tourists that travel here are often go hiking, biking, golfing, surfing, hunting, sunbathing, and exploring around the island. Some other attractions include the Maui golf courses, beaches like Hookipa, and national parks like Haleakala.
Planning Your Trip
In ancient times it was said that a fire goddess known as Pele was in love with a prince who had fell in love with another woman. In her fury, Pele cut the woman in half--the head of the body became Pu'u Olai (a cone mound on Makena Beach) and the body became Molokini Crater.
Fast forward to 1977: the Molokini Shoal was established as a Marine Life Conservation District by the State of Hawaii's Division of Aquatic Resources. Now, visitors charter boats to take them to this scenic area for a day trip. Popular boat transportation to Molokini exists--travelers should seek out boat tours like Redline Rafting, Kai Kanani, among others.
Since Molokini attracts a lot of boats, the Hawaii State Division of Boating and Recreation established mooring buoys for Molokini to protect against damage from dropped anchors. A guest's snorkel trip will kick off when tied to these protecting moorings where travelers can jump in and enjoy the warm Pacific. Make sure to book an early morning trip to see the crater when the crystal clear water is at its most still. Having said that, the crater provides protection in this area--making it generally calm throughout the whole day.
Visitors can rest assured that Molokini Crater is their best bet for a fun-filled day right off the island of Maui, HI. Travelers come and return time and time again for boating, birding, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and more.
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