Hawaii Guide


The Molokini Crater, Snorkeling

Snorkeling, Water, Bright, Holiday, Diving, Blue, Sea

Molokini Crater is located off the southwest shore of Maui about twelve miles from Lahaina. Just breaking the surface of the ocean, the Molokini Crater is a dormant volcano which extends from the bottom of the sea floor. Since the volcano has not been active for thousands of years the ocean has gradually eroded at the walls of the one side of the crater, causing the floor of the volcano to fill with water resulting in the crescent shape we know today. The dimensions of this offshore wonder are quite impressive up to 80 feet deep within the walls of the crater and the outer walls extend to a height of 350 feet, providing a natural shelter from strong sea currents.

So how do you get there you may ask? Getting to Molokini requires organizing a boat from Maalaea which is roughly ten miles away, or alternatively you can leave from Kihei which is only six miles from the crater. Many visitors perceive from looking at a map that the crater is not that far off and that kayaking is a viable means of getting there not so, as the winds and ocean currents are too forceful!

As said previously, that walls of the crater provide a natural break making it the perfect place for a marine and bird sanctuary to be established! This was done in 1977. Since this came in to effect, visitors are now prohibited from setting foot on the land.

The floor of the crater is layered with magnificent coral formations and marine life that have become quite accustomed to sharing their home with the many people that come to visit the crescent island. As a result this has become one of Maui's popular snorkeling and Snuba Diving sites! Divers and people who are looking to snorkel should be wary of the area where the crater wall is underwater as this is where currents can be quite vicious.

Here are a few operators that frequent the Molokini Crater:

  • Pacific Whale Foundation, ask to go on the "Ocean Odyssey" or "Ocean Spirit." Call 808 879 8811
  • Trilogy have a whole fleet of vessels and can be contacted on 808 661 4743
  • The Four Winds II is a catamaran that can accommodate 130 people and travels to the Molokini Crater in the mornings. Call 808 879 8188 for more information.