Maui: Snorkeling Part I

While in Maui, I had the chance to snorkel at 6 different beaches. I bought a snorkel before going ($20 for a hot pink Aqua Lung Sport Molokai Island dry snorkel/mask combo - Molokai is a Hawaiian island, how appropriate) and rented fins from Snorkel Bob's for just 1 day once we got there.

My snorkeling tips:
  1. Rub a little spit onto your mask to stop it from fogging up
  2. Right before you stick your head in the water, breathe in with your nose to suck the mask to your face. That way, once you stick your head in the ocean, a tighter seal forms and it's less likely that you'll have any leaks.
  3. Relax and enjoy what you're doing. I found that floating like a dead person was the best. I saw so much by just staying still and observing and I conserved energy for when I needed to swim back and fight the tide from pulling me further out.
  4. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before you start. Breathing with your mouth gaping open (since you have to breath through a snorkel) dries you out. Plus, if you swallow any salt water by accident, that will leave you parched.
Here's my Maui Snorkeling map:

You'll notice that all of the snorkel spots are on the south and west side of the island. That's because Maui has a windward side (wet, rainy, forest-y and lush) and a leeward side (dry and calm) and the leeward side is where all of the good snorkeling spots are.

And here are my reviews of the places we went:

Kamaole Beach Park II & Kamaole Beach Park III - 2.5 out of 3

This beach was right across from our condo resort so it was the first beach we explored. The sand was soft (almost the texture of flour) and the water was clear and beautiful. As far as snorkeling goes, it was great. The waves weren't strong at all, the water visibility was clear, and there were a lot of fish to look at. In fact, you didn't even have to go deep to see the fish. They would swim around our ankles while we dipped our feet. There are some rocky areas to be wary of, but other than that, it was really easy to get in and out of the water. The rocky area is nice for kids though because there are little tide pools that form where you can see some cute tiny fish.

Difficulty: easy
Parking: street (designated lines)
Other comments: picnic areas, barbecues, restrooms, showers

Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve - 1 out of 3

This beach was interesting. We actually overshot the bay area and ended up on a single lane road through a cooled lava flow area. However, we eventually found our way to the beach. It was a difficult "hike" because of the big chunky rocks and a fear of breaking my ankle but we eventually found the water. The beach itself was really rocky (reminded me of the black sand beach on our Road to Hana adventure) and we were all crying in pain from walking on the rocks barefoot and that made it really hard to get in and out of the water. Visibility was pretty horrible too; perhaps it was the position of the sun and/or the amount of wind that day and we had to swim out pretty far before we started to see any fish. There were some guys that said they saw a turtle and a few scuba groups that seemed to be having a good time.

Difficulty: moderate
Parking: gravel lot (there was a sign that said to be wary of thieves so watch your valuables)
Other comments: porta-potties

Makena Landing Beach Park - 3 out of 3

We lucked out at this beach because there was one parking spot left in the lot and we snagged it. The beach was sandy with a rocky area jutting into the ocean. The water was really clear, blue, and calm, waves were minimal, and there was so much beautiful coral and tons of beautiful fish. I had so much fun here. We did have to swim out pretty far to see the fish but the water stays shallow for a while before it starts to drop off significantly so you don't have to swim back too far to be able to stand up.

Difficulty: easy
Parking: dirt lot
Other comments: showers, restrooms

I'll do Part II with three more beaches in the next post!

**Sorry for the lack of personal photos in this post. My cousin's husband bought an underwater camera and snapped a lot of fun photos but on our last day, his bag, along with the camera and his netbook, got stolen! :(