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How to Choose a Reef Friendly Sunscreen

Anyone swimming or snorkeling in the tropical ocean near coral should consider a coral reef safe sunscreen. It is not a mystery that sunscreen that washes off your body when swimming may affect aquatic life.  Some commonly used chemical sunscreen ingredients cause coral bleaching and may be affecting coral reefs. In fact near 10% of the world’s coral reefs may be threatened by sunscreen induced coral bleaching.

Each year between 4000-6000 metric tons (4400-6600 US tons) of sunscreen washes off swimmers and snorkelers into coral reef environments. Four common sunscreen ingredients were shown to cause complete coral bleaching at very low concentrations.

AVOID THE 4 REEF-HARMFUL SUNSCREEN INGREDIENTS: 

Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) – Sunscreen with several suspected human health effects.

Butylparaben – Preservative with several suspected human health effects.

Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) – Sunscreen with several suspected human health effects.

4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) – Sunscreen with several suspected human health effects. Allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan.

Sea Monkey Private Charters chooses to use Raw Love Sunscreen. Raw Love reef safe sunscreen does not use any of these damaging ingredients in their sunscreens, so they are safe for coral reefs and you. If you are planning on snorkeling or swimming in Hawaii – please consider using their product. This is not only environmentally responsible thing to do but also helps to support local businesses.

For more information on Raw Love Sunscreen and other “reef-friendly” information check out: Raw Love Sunscreen

 

Learning to Snorkel – A Simple Guide to Safety and Fun

Maui-Snorkel-Tours

Whether your most remote destination is your backyard swimming pool or off somewhere on a tropical vacation, learning how to snorkel opens a whole new world of fun for all ages.

First things first and that is always safety! Never swim without a buddy, no matter where you are, if you do not have someone to look out for you, do not get in the water. Period! Why? Because even the most simple encounters with water can become dangerous situations in a moment’s notice.

Secondly, be honest with yourself about your level of swimming expertise and whether or not you need a life jacket or other type of floatation device. Let’s face it, the honest truth is they are not a fashion statement by any means, a little bit of an ego-deflator, and basically for the most part, all kids hate them. But, they do their job well and help keep you and your loved ones safe, and besides, we are about to strap on fish-like apparatuses with big buggy eyes and webbed fins, how much more silly looking can we get?! If ever in doubt, listen to your gut and use the safety devices available to you.

Never last or least – apply sunscreen! Always apply before you go outside and re-apply after excessive perspiration or when you exit the water. And again, to err on the side of safety, please take a moment to read the ingredients of any sunscreen you are considering for purchase as it means everything to your body as well as that of the ocean! General rule of thumb is this: if you can not pronounce the ingredient, you do not want to apply it to your body; so buy smart and slather away!

Now, we are ready to get into gear!

Choosing a good fitting mask is key to having the best snorkel experience. If it suits your wallet, stretch a little bit and overlook the cheaper plastic skirted masks and go for silicone which is not only more comfortable, but more durable as well. For all snorkelers, large and small, it does not matter how tightly you pull the straps to make it fit, that is not how it’s done.. once you can suck in while pressing a mask to your face and the suction alone keeps it in place with straps dangling you have for the most part found a good fit. (Always ask a professional for help if available.) Adjust straps just enough to help keep the mask in place. All masks come from factory with a protective film that needs to be removed before your first snorkel. A thin layer of toothpaste (not gel) rubbed into the entirety of the inside lens and allowed to dry is one of the best ways to take care of the film and to keep your mask as fog free as possible. Once dry use a dry, clean soft (dry)cloth to remove the toothpaste film, do not rinse! After you are in the water give the mask a quick dip and press it to your face for a snug fit, be sure no stray hairs keep the mask from a compete seal. Getting your hair wet first and slicking it back usually takes care of this problem. Kids will typically want to take their masks off occasionally and dump any stray water that seeps in, as they become more comfortable with their mask teach them the method of applying pressure to the top of the mask in the center and blowing out through their nose – this is the best way to keep your mask crystal clear and free of water (note that a teeny bit of water inside the mask that you can swish around acts as a nice wishy-washy).

The snorkel you choose should always be relevant to the size of the person using it. Do not buy an overly large snorkel for a small child. Practicing in a bathtub with supervision should allow the child to gain confidence in breathing through the mouthpiece instead of through the nose. Make sure the mouthpiece is a comfortable fit and teach them to rest their teeth in place while not biting down.

Proper fin fit is essential to avoid blisters. Fins typically loosen a tad while in use. Never ever walk around in fins, only penguins can get away with this! It is a good way to fall and sustain injury. Put your fins on at waters edge and gently walk in backward, if you’re entering the ocean never ever turn your attention away from the water! Back in, but keep your eyes on what the waves are doing. In a pool simply sit on the edge, slip on your fins and drop into the water. Fins on small children are sometimes more trouble than they are worth, go with the comfort level of any snorkeler, large or small. Once the snorkeler gets the hang of using fins they will quickly learn how much more mobility they have in the water.

Families that build memories learning the process and snorkeling together get to discover whole new worlds that many never get to experience. Bright colorful fish and coral reefs in their natural habitats. Sea turtles, dolphins, and manta rays! Marine life still living in shells – it is essentially paramount that you teach your children from day one how important it is to look but not touch. These are all living creatures and their lives depend on our respect that it is their world and not ours – we are simply visitors!

We hope that you and your family take the snorkel tidbits of information from this guide and visit a surf/snorkel shop as well for more professional instruction.  Our goal is to open an under-the-sea curiosity in your family! If you simply spend your first snorkeling years in the backyard pool, you will still have a lot of fun racing for sinkable pool toys and such, all the while building your skills. You never know, one day you might end up on Maui on a snorkel adventure aboard Sea Monkey Private Charters! Do you have snorkel tips you would like to share with us? Please send them along to info@seamonkeymaui.com, we would love to hear from you!

4th of July Celebration and Fireworks in Old Lahaina Town

If you are lucky enough to be in Maui for the 4th of July you should definitely visit historic Lahaina Town and enjoy the holiday specials in many ocean view restaurants and town shops.  For an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration, come down and listen to a variety of bands play throughout Lahaina Town.  Enjoy an afternoon of great fun, food, shopping, keiki activities, entertainment and more, followed by a spectacular sunset and a fireworks celebration.  A fireworks display lighting the night sky over Lahaina is scheduled annually at 8pm from a barge offshore of Front Street. Fireworks can be viewed from charter boats in Lahaina Harbor and on land throughout Lahaina Town.  Book your private boat charter with Sea Monkey Private Charters and let us make this the most memorable part of your vacation!  For more info on 4th of July Celebration in Lahaina Town and schedule of events check out this site: VisitLahainaSite

 

Kaanapali Beach

With three miles of white sand and crystal clear water, it’s no wonder why Kaanapali Beach was voted America’s Best Beach more than once. Fronting Kaanapali’s hotels and resorts, this former retreat for the royalty of Maui is now a popular getaway for the world. Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort area and has become a model for resorts around the globe. The area is also famous for Whalers Village, a world-class shopping complex that has a variety of exceptional shops and restaurants, a renowned whaling museum and free Hawaiian entertainment. More than 90 stores and restaurants sell everything you need:  clothes, jewelry, art, souvenirs, and even real estate.  Very good restaurants here are Hula Grill, Leilani’s, and (to make your own dessert sundaes) Yogurtland. The free Kaanapali Trolley will take you between Whalers Village and the various hotels and condos along Kaanapali Beach, plus uphill to the Fairway Shops. Kaanapali also has two championship golf courses, the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai, where you may even see a breaching whale as you try to line up a shot.

One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff diving ceremony off of the beach’s northernmost cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. Held every evening at sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff, diving off of Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili. This memorable ceremony is just one more reason why Kaanapali Beach ranks as one of Maui’s signature beaches.

If you are planning your next trip to Maui you should definitely consider Kaanapli area for your next stay on the Island. There is a lot to do and enjoy here for all ages and families!  And if you happened to make it to Lahaina Harbor during your stay – let Sea Monkey Private Charters show you Kaanapali Beach from the ocean!

Sources: GoHawaii.com and MauiHawaii.org 

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Top 5 Most Fun Things To Do On Maui With Kids This Summer

 

Now that the whales have come and gone for the season you may be wondering what you can do on Maui with your kids. There are so many things to do that you may find you do not have enough time to pack it all in! Here are a few of our favorites.

 

1. Take family out for some fun in the sun on Sea Monkey Private Boat Charter.                                                                                  

Spectacular coral reefs abundant with colorful fish, sea turtles, and more await you in destinations you can not even believe exist and some you surely have never heard of! And, the best kept secret of all is the most fun and awesome way to experience them – a destination all your own – that’s right – just you and your family! Cast away aboard Sea Monkey Private Charters and let us take you to magical places where the reef belongs to you and you alone. Kids love the speed of the boat, cruising along and jamming to the beats of their very own personal playlists. Mom and Dad love watching their kids have the time of their lives and join in the fun as together you explore the coastlines, the deep blue waters, and sometimes, when weather and timing permit, fun abounds as you head to the island of Lana’i and enter a whole new world of snorkeling adventures! Sea Monkey Private Charters is your first step toward the most fun, exhilarating snorkel adventure that is sure to be one of the most favorite days for you and your family on Maui! If you can dream it, we will do our best to make it happen! Call us today! 

Sea Monkey Private Charters

Lahaina Harbor, Slip 14

808-491-9141

www.seamonkeymaui.com

 

2. Maui Ocean Center.

Located in Ma’Alaea, Maui Ocean Center is a gem of an aquarium for kids of all ages.  Watch with bated breath as sharks and manta rays skim by your fingertips or swim overhead with nothing more between you than a wall of glass. Visit sea turtles up close and personal as well as the many other creatures that dwell within the Hawaiian ocean.  Some are bright and colorful, some are camouflaged, some are playful, some are daunting – all are spectacular! Be sure to call ahead and see when a brave scuba diver will enter the shark tank!

Maui Ocean Center

192 Ma’alaea Rd.

808-270-7000

mauioceancenter.com 

 

3. Enjoy a Lazy Beach Day

Be lazy together! But first, be sure to plan ahead and visit Hangloose Hammocks Hawaii in the Wharf in Lahaina and pick up all of your hammocking gear for your lazy day. Hard to beat hanging in a hammock on a beach in Hawaii! Pack your beach gear for the day and head to Leoda’s Pie Shoppe in Olowalu and start your day off with chicken and waffles – there are no words to describe the deliciousness that awaits you there!  After visiting Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, mosey on down to Mile Marker 14 in Olowalu and set up for your day of fun in the sun. Nap, play in the water, and nap some more… always make sure someone has an eye on the kids, don’t forget your reef friendly Dr. Martin sunscreen (available at ABC Stores and various dive shops around the island), and drink plenty of water. Some of your most magical, fun, Maui days with your kids are the days you just laze the day away at the beach.

Hangloose Hammocks Hawaii.

658 Front St – upstairs in the Wharf.

808-224-5764

hangloosehammockshi.com

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.

820 Olowalu Village Rd  

808-662-360

leodas.com  

 

4. Napili Bay

Napili Bay is a great place for the not ready to be surfers in your family to play on boogie boards. Available to rent at Boss Frog’s, many locations are just a google away around the island. If you have your adventure on then by all means, surf lessons at Goofy Foot Surf School located in the Shops at 505, Lahaina, you will feel like a pro, even if the waves are only as high as your knees (it’s the ocean, you can never know how high or how mighty the waves may come in, never turn your back on the ocean – safety first!).

Boss Frog’s has 9 convenient locations around the Island.  Some are in Laiana, Ka’anapali, Napili, Wailea, Kahana and Kihei. bossfrogs.com.

 

5. Visit historic Lahaina Town and take pictures with the “Birds of Paradise”.

There are countless fun things to do in Historic Lahaina Town.  Filled with restaurants, shops, museums, galleries and much more this Town is definitely a “must do” on the list for all Maui visitors.  Don’t forget to include family photos by the Bird Man on the corner of Front Street in Old Lahaina Town by the Pioneer Inn. His exotic birds will perch on heads, shoulders, arms… wherever they feel like posing at the moment. You may even get kissed by a friendly beak. While there, you don’t want to miss the Banyan Tree – and you can’t miss it, it is proportionally huge and a favorite place for kids to play, make new friends, or simply stand in awe.

 

Fun on Maui with kids is a never ending journey. Hula shows, luau’s, waterfall hikes in the Hana jungle, black sand beaches – but sometimes the best times are right outside your door. Bocce ball on the beach after watching the sun set over the horizon is guaranteed fun for the whole family.

We are always committed and eager to help your family have the most Maui fun possible. Fee free to call Sea Monkey Private Charters for more information 808-491-9141. The most fun things to do on Maui with your kids await!

10 Top Snorkeling Places near Maui

Hawaii is one of the most remote places on the globe.  Surrounded by thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean – it is not a surprise that Maui offers some of the best snorkeling in the world.  There are numerous snorkeling locations for visitors to explore.  We wanted to narrow down and discuss our top 10 favorite snorkeling destinations near Maui.  

#1 Molokini Crater

Snorkeling Molokini Crater is a popularthing to do due to the high-visibility of the protected inner waters and also for the abundance of ocean life due to it being deemed a Marine Life Conservation District. Having one of the best wall dives, the backside of the crater is also a world famous scuba diving spot. This volcanic atoll is only a few miles from the south coast of Maui, making for a quick and fun trip by boat from Ma’alaea Harbor. 

 

#2 Black Rock

Black Rock is the large rock hill at the north end of Ka’anapali Beach. This is a great spot because of the easy access and protection that the rocky cliffs often give from northerly swell activity. Kaanapali beach has many high-end resorts along the beach, so walking to Black Rock is easy from here. Otherwise, you can drive along the Honoapi’ilani Highway (30) and turn on Kaanapali Parkway or Kekae Dr towards the ocean. When snorkeling, make sure to stay clear of cliff divers. Also, each night, a Hawaiian torch lighting ceremony occurs where tiki torches are lit along the coastline and all the way up to the top of Black Rock. It ends with the torch lighters jumping into the ocean. A lot of fun to watch.

 

#3 La Perouse

One of the furthest southern spots you can visit on the island of Maui, La Perouse’s volcanic landscape is something from another world. As you drive south on Makena Road, you’ll pass the last houses then drive for miles through a very-rugged lava field. When you get to the end of the road, you’ll find a dirt parking lot with a rocky bay. This bay has some amazing ocean life, and it’s known to be the site where a pod of spinner dolphins likes to spend time. If you see the dolphins, give them space and keep your distance. Do everything you can to not affect their normal swimming route. Also, take care when entering and exiting the ocean here. The rocks are sharp, and during the summer there might be south swells making the water rougher than normal.

 

#4 Honolua Bay

In contrast to La Perouse Bay, Honolua Bay is one of the most northern bays on the island. This large bay is pretty well protected from wind and even when there’s swell, it can be calm on the inside (though it’s recommended to not snorkel when there are waves.) Driving north on the Honoapi’ilani Highway (31), you’ll wrap down and around a very lush area of rainforest, which is the apex of the bay. With adequate permission, you can walk through the forest to the shoreline. Some of the best snorkeling is further up the coastline on the right and left. You’ll often see boats in here with snorkelers, a much easier way to get directly to the best snorkel areas at Honolua Bay.

 

#5 Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens is the name given to the area along the cliffs of the Pali. The Pali is the area along the coastline from Ukumehame and Papalaua to Maalaea. There are many great spots to snorkel here, but they’re often impossible to access by car or foot. The cliffs are incredibly steep and unstable, which is great for keeping wind and crowds down but not so good for accessing. This is why you’ll sometimes see snorkel boats here when the wind is up at Molokini Crater. You’ll also find that some snorkel charters refer to these areas as Turtle Town. They may be right. See #8 on what we think of Turtle Town.

 

#6 Ahihi Bay

Just past the last entrances of Big Beach (Makena Beach) is a little cove called Ahihi Bay. It’s the last little Bay before the last houses (Sugarman’s Estate) when driving south. If you keep driving, you’ll see lava fields and you’ll know you’ve gone too far. There’s just a few spots for parking, and it often has at least a few people there. When you enter the water, make sure you do so only at the northern end where there’s a little bit of sand. You’ll feel a concrete slab under the water at the very entrance. Any other area of access is forbidden and dangerous for you and the reef. Ahihi Bay is part of the protected Ahihi Hinau Natural Area Reserve, which protects the ocean life from fishing. This being said, there’s a lot of fish and vibrant coral reef here.

 

#7 Kapalua & Napili Bays

Kapalua Bay has a public parking lot off of the Lower Honoapi’ilani Highway. It’s often crowded, but the snorkeling in the bay is great. Just south of Kapalua Bay is the Napili area, which has all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore. Parking isn’t all that easy to find, but there is a little bit of parking near Napili Bay. Both sides of the bay have great snorkeling and lots of turtles. Occasionally, you’ll see a monk seal on the beach (keep your distance.) If you’re adventurous, you can snorkel south to Honokeana Bay, which has similar snorkeling. It’s a fun spot to snorkel, but access is very dangerous due to the rocky/cliff entry. It’s also problematic when there’s any swell since this is where the surf spot “Hole in the Head” is. Yes, that’s the name of the spot. And yes, we can attest to the accuracy of the name from experience. Not fun. Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay offer far better protection from surf.

 

#8 “Turtle Town”

The infamous and controversial Turtle Town’s location is widely contested. After having heard dozens of captains claiming 20-30 different spots as the official Turtle Town, we can only come to the conclusion that Turtle Town is where ever a lot of turtles have been seen recently. It’s very difficult to know where Turtle Town is right now, unless you are a captain that’s been searching for them in the last few days. The most widely agreed upon spot is in front of the Makena Beach & Golf Resort. We agree that you can find turtles there, but to be honest, we see turtles almost every time we get in the water anywhere around Maui. The 2nd reef at Ulua/Mokapu has a Hawaiian sea turtle cleaning station, so that’s a viable spot to see them as well.

 

#9 Ulua/Mokapu

Often used as the training ground for new scuba divers by the scuba schools, we find this area is great for seeing ocean life along the reefs with an easy beach entry. The next beaches north of Wailea beach and south of Keawakapu beach are 2 connected beaches: Ulua Beach and Mokapu Beach. A rocky reef formation separates the 2 beaches. Along this reef can be found all kinds of coral and ocean life. If you’re adventurous and have the ability to snorkel at depths, about 30 feet down you’ll find a turtle cleaning station along the second reef. When water clarity is high, you can see it from the surface.

 

#10 Lana’i Island

There are numerous great, uncrowded spots to snorkel along the coast of Lana’i Island. You need to either take a ferry to Lanai, or take a snorkel boat to the island. It’s best known for scuba diving, but there snorkeling is unique for many reasons. Reports seeing hundreds of dolphins while snorkeling on a very regular basis are common. There’s a large community of spinner dolphins that inhabit the shores of Lana’i.

 

Caution: When in the ocean anywhere in Maui County, there are many dangers you should be aware of. We are not liable for any loss or damage that many occur when entering the ocean. Our suggestions come with many red flags! Be careful of waves, sharp coral reef, sharp rocks, dangerous ocean life, vessels, other people, your own ability, aliens, Loch Ness Monsters, and any and all things that could be dangerous.

Check out this source for more info and pictures

 

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Snorkel – Adventure – Fun – Maui – Lana’i – Hawaii

While you’re away from your hometown

Let home be where the anchor’s down

Let home be where the trades blow, cruising out on the deep blue sea

Trade in all of your shoes for bare feet

As steadily the shoreline ocean waves goodbye

For new found destinations – you’re free

Like a patch let your hair dip down over one eye

And sing a song within your heart – A pirate’s life for me

The seascapes take your breath away

Out where honu and dolphins play

Go anywhere your heart goes, jumping out in the deep blue sea

You’ve traded in your bare feet for fins – you’re free

You feel your new found freedom within reach

And sing the song that lingers on – A pirate’s life for me!

~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~.  ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~

Join us aboard, snorkel magnificent coral reefs and be pirates for a day! Sea Monkey Private Charters – Where we are all kids at heart and age matters not. Leave your cares behind, imagination and a sense of adventure are all you need!

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The Perfect Hawaiian Honeymoon Is Yours for the Taking

Let us take you to a place where love is in the trade winds, and Maui has more up it’s Aloha shirted sleeve than shimmering moon lit waters and fiery sunsets. Romance is all around for lovers seeking the ultimate tropical paradise honeymoon. Drumbeats of the Hawaiian luau, hula, and sacred chants – salty seascapes and cool waterfall pools to dip into – hikes in the whispering bamboo forest – a boat that’s all your own for the day, to whisk you away like the tides that make their own rules.

There is a mystery about the Hawaiian islands and culture that lingers long after in the hearts of those that are touched by the Spirit of Aloha. Let us take you there – join us aboard Sea Monkey Private Charters and let us bring the romance of the islands. Play with us and treasure hunt native marine life as you snorkel hand in hand in turquoise waters, exploring coral reefs. Sip champagne as the sun dips over the horizon and kiss in the moonlight.

Experience Aloha. Experience love and romance. Experience the magic of Maui. Experience luxury aboard Sea Monkey Private Charters… let us take you there.