If you’ve read my introduction, you’ll be aware of how much I love snorkeling. To be perfectly honest, it’s 90% of why I sold most of my earthly belongings and moved to Maui… A teensy little rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I apparently was always a water baby and a lot of my early memories involve a pool or an ocean. I love the colors of the sea and the weightlessness of swimming and when I snorkeled for the first time, I was exhilarated beyond words. Since that day in 1998, I’ve snorkeled hundreds of times and even went SNUBA diving once! My new goal is to become dive certified – because it’s just the next logical step towards my love for the water and its marine life.
Maui, as far as I’m concerned, has some of the best snorkeling on Earth. Obviously, there is a lot of the Earth I haven’t seen, so I’d never say definitively, “It’s the best”! But it’s probably pretty close. I get out snorkeling as often as I can – which is about 2-5 times a month. I even have my own full face mask – which I love – from Tribord! You can obviously do a lot of snorkeling from the shores here on Maui, but I love getting out on snorkel excursions as there is nothing like being on a boat out here and getting to snorkel locations farther from shore.
As far as snorkeling goes for the fluffy person, I want you all to be pretty comfortable in the water in general. The ocean is a living, breathing force and it will not bend to your will. Never be shy about wearing a float belt or using a noodle and always, ALWAYS use fins. I once tried to snorkel around Black Rock in Ka’anapali without fins and got stuck treading water for over ten minutes just trying to stay put and not get sucked out. It was very frightening and I shudder to think what would have happened to a weaker swimmer. Since then, I always wear fins without fail. I wear Churchill fins, which are typically used for bodyboarding, but I love them. Mainly because they are easy to put on in the water and because I’ve always had a pair. I can’t stand putting on my fins on shore then flopping my way into the water – or worse – walking backwards into the surf. You do what makes you most comfortable, however.
Most hotels have rentable snorkel gear – and while it’s tempting to go to a store out there advertising $1.50 per day snorkel rentals – don’t! It’s your typical bait-and-switch and you’ll end up paying 5-10 times more for inferior gear. Always talk to your hotel concierge before making any rental decisions! They’ve done it all and tried it all and have sat in front of tourists who need to vent on a daily basis. Another fantastic reason to talk to your hotel concierge is they actually have a reason to care about you – it’s their job. Therefore, they’re not going to send you to a snorkel spot only Jacques Cousteau could snorkel at safely… you’ll get legitimate recommendations based on discovery about YOU. And YES, I am a hotel concierge in Maui. I actually get paid to recommend these types of things and I get to do them all for free – so I do feel like an authority on the topic. (free advertisement for me – I can book anyone any activity on Maui, so reach out if you’re on your way and I’ll be your personal concierge – which is completely complimentary to you, by the by)
Allrightie! So, my blog is not intended as a sales pitch for companies and/or products, but I’ve gotten some feedback about being more specific to help other fluffy folk. Therefore, I’m going to give very specific advice about a couple of my favorite snorkel boats on Maui – and in the future, other Hawaiian Islands, too!
Boats and trips reviews with PSG ratings:
Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Spirit – 5 hour Honolua Bay Snorkel: This is without a doubt my favorite excursion on Maui, let alone my favorite snorkel excursion anywhere! This boat is basically the Goldilocks of boats. It’s not too fancy yet still pretty new. Even when fully booked, it feels spacious. The price point is very fair and worth every penny! The best part is the boat is super easy in and out! There is a swim-up ladder that goes down into the water about 4 feet which is easy to climb. Keep in mind in the water, you’re basically weightless, so the first step in getting back on the boat is very easy. Then once you’ve sat down on a platform that is still partially submerged, you can remove your gear and place it on higher steps before finishing your ascent back on the boat up a few easy stairs with a rail. This boat also has a very wide slide if you want to slide into the water and they open a rail way so you can jump right in. One thing to keep in mind is that parking is not easy in Lahaina, which is where the harbor is for this trip. Expect parking to be up to 1/4 mile or more from the harbor so leave extra time. PSG Rating: 3-4
Ali’i Nui – 6 Hour Molokini Snorkel – This boat is for you fancy fluffies out there! This is a luxury boat with all the comforts and amenities for the royalty in you. You literally only have to bring yourself, a cover up and your camera. Everything else is taken care of for you, such as towels and reef-safe sunscreen. The very best part about this boat is how dang easy in and out it is. It’s got a fantastic set of stairs that lead directly into the water so getting out is as easy as standing up from as sitting position and walking up a few steps. If you’re looking for easy-peasy, fluffy-easy with a bit of flair – then this is your trip. They even pick you up at your hotel or condo and deliver you STRAIGHT to the boat. I mean, come ON! So awesome! PSG Rating: 3-4, maybe a 2 if you’re comfortable swimming or plan on staying on the boat
I’ve personally done almost every snorkel trip on Maui – some more than once. So, I encourage you to reach out to me for a PSG rating on any of the boats from Maui.