Snorkeling Molokini Crater

Snorkeling Molokini Crater

May 17, 2022 — Snorkeling Molokini crater brings you up close to the Art of the Master. Or God’s Art, or Goddess’s Art if you prefer, or Earth’s Art, or one big happy accident?? Whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t look like an accident, and the fish and coral and rocks and water off Molokini are, well… I would say truly jaw-dropping except that you do need to keep biting down on the snorkel. So, let’s call them truly mind-boggling. Modern art extraordinaire. Better than any museum. And now, thankfully, for the masses, complete with dedicated docents who keep people from touching or stealing or disrespecting. The Molokini snorkel was 45 minutes, the waters crystal clear, and in that time, I continued to be surprised with another modern-art creature I hadn’t see yet. Lennon found a spotted moray eel and somehow “landmarked” its cove and came and found Julia and I and took us back to it. We were treated with his or her emergence, not once, but miraculously, twice, and got to watch him or her ribbon through the water snapping his or her jaws. Ah, pronouns! In the natural world they matter greatly as there is not sexual orientation confusion.

External fertilization, if you want to know how eels do it. I did have to google it 🙂 Snorkeling Molokini crater brings you up close to the Art of the Master, that is for sure, although we did not see anything THAT up close and personal. 

Snorkeling Molokini
Aphrodite’s Treasure, early painting by Lauren Forcella, not on the website.

And now for the Artful Gents writing about Molokini and its beautiful living artforms.  

Molokini is home to thousands of tropical fish, species of coral, seaweed, and many types of sea creatures. Defining itself as a must-do adventure in Maui, the Molokini Crater offers internationally famous snorkeling, and is home to over 250 species of fish painted in all colors of the rainbow, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. February 2, 2016 – The Molokini Crater houses lush coral reefs that offer great visibility (often up to 150 feet down) and are home to some 250 species of fish. Visibility at Molokini is usually as high as 150 feet, and has about 250 species of fish and 38 species of hard coral.    Show Source Texts

Because of Molokinis volcanic formation, many Hawaiian tropical fish gather (or swarm, more appropriately) in Molokini and its gorgeous reefs, and this makes for an excellent place for visitors to take the first look at Mauis marine life, as well as many of the states diverse species of fish. Molokini crater is home to a variety of Hawaiian tropical fish including Black Triggerfish, Moorish Idol, Needlefish, Parrotfish, and more, along with restored corals and pretty much every type of marine life that you would find in the lower parts of Hawaii (except for the sea turtles, probably). Molokini Crater is really a snorkelers paradise, boasting a unique ecosystem with more than 250 different species of fish, many of which are endemic to Hawaiian islands. At Molokini Crater, you are likely to encounter colorful parrotfish, endemic species from the reef, octopus, eels, and — if you are lucky — perhaps an innocuous whitetip reef shark.    Show Source Texts

One of the more common species of fish that you will see on a Molokini snorkeling adventure is the black-drowned triggerfish. Butterflyfish are among the coolest, colorful fish you will see when you are snorkeling Molokini. Milletseed butterflyfish The black-spotted, yellow-mottled Milletseed Butterflyfish is native to Hawaiian waters, and is one of the most common fish seen by snorkelers on the Moei Reef. When snorkeling in Hawaii, Bluestripe butterflyfish are commonly found on the shallow coral reefs and around the reefs steep edges.    Show Source Texts

While The Coon Butterflyfish is found in the shallows, it is not the friendliest fish around, and it will disperse if it feels invaded. Fairly common in the waters off Maui, The Spotted Pufferfish is brown with white spots, and may be found around the reefs in daylight. Although it prefers deeper waters, Ulua frequently visit cleaning stations around the reef on Molokai, and is frequently seen by snorkelers.    Show Source Texts

The shallow waters let sunlight get to the bottom, which grows lots of corals for fish to make a home on. This fish eats on coral polyps, which is why the natural reef is the best place to see this fish when you are out on a snorkeling trip.    Show Source Texts

Studies have shown that fish grow significantly larger and are capable of producing exponentially more eggs than smaller, younger fish when allowed to mature in protected waters. Less than 0.1% are within marine protected areas, providing complete protection to the fish for growth and reproduction. Hawaiis marine managed areas cover just 5% of state waters, stretching up to three nautical miles offshore, which limits their ability to support the fish populations throughout the state.    Show Source Texts

Molokini is a State Bird Sanctuary, while within the caldera is a marine life conservation district, meaning that fishing is not allowed. Molokini itself is a long way from the bustling beaches on Maui island, and the sinking bowl of the crater shields the wildlife from the open ocean, making it a great quiet spot to watch as many as 250 species of fish, birds, and mammals, as well as 38 types of coral. Located just off Mauis southern shore, Molokini rises from the depths to form a natural marine sanctuary, which is home to a wide variety of corals, tropical fish, manta rays, and even the occasional reef shark.    Show Source Texts

Due to its prime offshore location, Molokini boasts some of Hawaiis clearest waters. Molokini is a small island located approximately three miles off the south-west coast of Maui, and is considered to be one of the best places to dive and snorkel in Hawaii. Molokini is such an amazing place to go snorkeling and diving that you are going to have plenty of other visitors down there too.    Show Source Texts

If you own a boat, or know someone you do not need to pay to get there, you may be able to take advantage of moorings on Molokini. You are still not allowed on the crater at Molokini (without the appropriate permits from the U.S. Coast Guard and all of the State of Hawaii), but you can go there and go snorkeling without having to get into a boat full of strangers.    Show Source Texts

Do not worry, though, the crater interior is pretty big, and you will have a lot of ocean for your snorkeling. The ancient volcanic walls keep the crater protected from the swells of the ocean, making this a safe place for the entire family to go snorkeling.    Show Source Texts

While the backside of Molokini crater drops down nearly 300 feet, the inner bowl, where the boat docks for snorkeling, is only around 40 feet down, with better snorkeling around the edge of the crater at 15 feet. Since the red-toothed triggerfish tend to inhabit spaces that experience high currents, Molokinis outermost rim is where the majority of them are found.    Show Source Texts

One species notably missing from Molokini crater, though, is Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, though most tour operators will combine the Molokini excursion with a second snorkeling site off Maui, so that you can cross turtles off your bucket list. The tropical waters surrounding Molokini are extremely temperate, with temperatures running around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Molokini is surrounded by beautiful reef formations, various species of rare corals, and more than 250 species of tropical fish.    Show Source Texts

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Lauren Forcella

Lauren Forcella

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About Lauren Forcella

Painting nature is my way of being devotional to this beautiful planet we’ve been born to. I strive to bring onto the canvas the livingness, aliveness, and wildness of this wonderland we call Earth… Read More

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