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Marine Life in Hawaii

Nature is everywhere, abundant and amazing, it does not matter where in this world you live there is beauty and mystery all around to be explored.  Lucky to live in Hawaii, we are surrounded, literally, by an underwater world that is full of wonder and magnificent creatures. Not even in our wildest imaginations can we dream of all that exists out there in the deep blue, but we can share with you some fun things we do know about a few of our neighbors who dwell ‘unda da sea’.

 

Green Sea Turtles (Hawaiian Name – Honu)

Green Hawaiian Sea Turtle

Gentle giants of the sea, pro surfers of the waves, and protectors of the coral reefs – Hawaii’s honu cruise in graceful motion to the beat of no ones drum but their own. If only they could throw the shaka as they drift by on island time it would seem only fitting. They feed on algae (helping to keep our coral clean and healthy), and sea grass which turns their fat layer green; it is that and not the color of their shell that gives them their name. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is the only indigenous reptile found in Hawaii, dating back as many as 150 million years. It is a symbol of good luck, by ancient Hawaiians in the form of a guardian spirit (Aumakua), believed to be departed loved ones that continue to look over and protect their lineage. Because they are revered as Aumakua, combined with that they are born on land and often come to rest on sandy beaches; even though they spend most of their lives in the ocean, they are considered by ancient Hawaiians to form a revered triangular link of man, land, and sea. If you search them out you will find the Honu pattern is heavily used in ancient petro glyphs as well as in modern graphic form around the islands. 

Sea Monkey Honu fun fact: there is a giant green sea turtle that frequently cruises one of our snorkel destinations and his name is Stage Coach because he is so big! We can never promise he will show up, but when he does – wow!

 

Humpback Whales (Hawaiian name: Kohola)       

Humpback Whale

Of all the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Hawaiian islands each year, there is none more eagerly anticipated or welcomed back than the Humpback Whales! Whale season in Hawaii is officially in from December through April. February is the month known to the local folk as ‘whale soup’. Humpback Whales travel to the warm tropical waters in the safe basins to birth their offspring. They come from Alaska, Mexico and Russia; traveling approximately 39 days of non-stop swimming around 3,200 miles to get here. They can actually turn off half of their brain at a time to rest it for the long journey. Once here, there is great excitement! Thrilling breeches as they hurl themselves far up into the air only to come crashing down in a giant splash – giant tail fins slapping the water with a resounding crack – waving Aloha with their school bus sized arm fin, the pectoral – singing – courting – giving birth – nurturing – competition pods of males fighting over a female (yes, the whales – but not unlike the sailors in the old local watering holes, too!). One of the most amazing things to experience is hearing the whale song underwater while snorkeling, or seeing the magnificent creature silhouetted off in the not too distant water, knowing you are sharing the same space – it is exhilarating beyond all belief! We could go on and on with facts and tales of whales, join Sea Monkey during the season and let our crew expand your knowledge while you laugh, oooh and aaah together over the breathtaking spectacle of the Humpbacks.

Sea Monkey Humpback Whale fun fact: It’s only October, but they are back! At least the scouts are, which is incredibly exciting. The scouts travel right ahead of the pods to ‘scope things out’. They look out for killer whales, sharks and other dangers; they find the safe havens, and they sing it back to the pods on their way. Meanwhile, the local boats and fishermen have officially received their first playful Humpback Whale shows and Aloha waves of the season – – – Come join us!!

 

Sharks (Hawaiian Name – Mano)

White Tip Reef Shark

The serious side of the ocean – Hawaiian waters are home to over 40 species of sharks, though the most commonly seen is the docile white tip reef shark. White tips eat many small fish, octopus and crustaceans, and are harmless to humans unless harassed and provoked. Most sharks have to continuously move in order for water to move in their mouth and over their gills, allowing them to breathe. White tip reef sharks can rest on the ocean floor and pump water through their mouth. Ram ventilation is what it’s called for sharks to breathe while swimming; they use muscles around their mouth when resting. Their skin is made up of what is called denticles which is essentially rows and rows of almost microscopic shark teeth which prevent the growth of algae on their skin, so make sure you pet your shark from head to tail and not the other way around! 

Hammerhead Shark

Other common sharks found around Maui are Tiger and Hammerheads. Definitely not friendly, tiger sharks will eat turtles and whales and are known to attack humans as well. Hammerhead sharks are mostly found around Molokai, but can be found in small numbers around Maui. Sharks are considered a most prized Aumakua in the Hawaiian culture. 

Tiger Shark

Sea Monkey shark fun fact: Mala Ramp, on Westside Maui, collapsed in 1992 during hurricane Iniki and has become a favorite hang out for white tips. They like to be lazy and hang out under ledges and in lava tubes, so the fractured ramp provides a fun playground for them to eat, sleep, and put on a show for snorkelers! If weather permits, Mala Ramp is a place we like to visit because it is safe and full of an amazing array of marine life – you might get lucky and see a white tip in the distance!

 

Dolphins (Hawaiian Name – Nai’a)

Spinner Dolphin

Beloved for their ability to look like they are always having the time of their life – jumping – spinning – swimming – dolphins are full of excitement! Hawaii’s 3 most commonly seen dolphins are the Bottlenose, the Spinners, and the Spotted. We would have to say that Spinner’s are definitely the most fun. They are small, have a long beak and in a single leap out of the water they can spin as many as six times. They are found around all of the main islands of Hawaii, hunting at night and either resting or playing during the day.

Spotted Dolphin

Spotted dolphins are easily confused with spinners; they are closely related and look very similar. However, the end of their beak is white-tipped and mature ones have a spotted color pattern on their body. Mostly seen in the channels between the islands, the spotted do not rest near shore. Both the spinner and spotted dolphins travel in schools from small numbers up to hundred.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins are much larger in size, live in smaller pods, their color is uniformly gray, and their beak is thicker and more blunt. Super intelligent and very playful they love bow riding where they surf in front of a boat or even a whale’s bow wave. 

 

Sea Monkey dolphin fun fact: It’s so much fun to listen to the stories of captains and fishermen here in Lahaina harbor, and one of them shared this little tidbit: since we are not allowed to pursue swimming with dolphins, she has found that if they are in the nearby waters while your snorkeling, sing into your snorkel while you’re swimming around often times they will come to you – don’t know if it works or not, she swears it does – but it’s worth a try!

 

Manta and Eagle Rays (Hawaiian name: Hihimanu)

Manta Ray

The Hawaiian name means lavish, magnificent, and elegant. The beautiful creatures glide through the water and along the sandy bottom of the ocean like they are gracefully dancing a waltz. Their large flat side fins look like giant butterfly wings. Feeding on mostly plankton and occasional clams, snails, shrimp and fish with no shell, it uses the head fins like speared paddles to scoop food into its mouth.  Manta ray ‘wings’ can get so large that a grown man could lay on each one, each with their arms stretched over their heads and possibly still not cover the full span from tip to tip. That’s huge! Rays have skeletons made of cartilage like sharks, but the resemblance stops there other than the fact that both are awe inspiring. Quite often seen in the Hawaiian waters while snorkeling, the rays are still considered elusive for as soon as you see one, they are off in a moment, perhaps they are related to Batman?

Sea Monkey ray fun fact: though this is a cheat and really nothing to do with the animal ray – Sea Monkey boat is a Sea Ray, too, and glides just as beautifully along the top of the water as the animal rays do underneath! If only it was able to run on fish food instead of gasoline. 

 

Hawaiian Monk Seal (Hawaiian name: Ilio holo I ka uaua which means dog that runs in rough water)

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Extremely endangered with numbers reported to be below 1,200, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is only found in US waters around Hawaii. They are one of the only two mammals in existence that are native to Hawaii. Often found snoozing and warming themselves on local beaches, they are still considered a rare sighting. Tiger sharks are a main predator for the monk seal, especially the young, however entanglement from fishing gear, coral bleaching, canine diseases and ocean acidification are factors the contribute to the dwindling numbers. Able to dive up to 900 feet in deeper waters, most of their hunting is done in shallow reefs where they thrive on fish, octopus, and crustaceans. Living 25-30 years if they are lucky enough to elude the threats that humans pose. A monk seal pup has a very hard time surviving tiger shark hunts an human interference into their habitat. If you see a Hawaiian Monk Seal consider yourself blessed, but please be respectful and keep your distance. There are preservation teams around the island’s that will come to stand guard over the seal while it rests at a moment’s notice.

Sea Monkey Monk Seal fun fact: There is a local gentleman known to all as “Doc”, his life is dedicated to the monk seals and he can be seen in Lahaina harbor daily spreading his love and knowledge of the seals that he claims to be able to communicate with. If you see a man in a funny straw hat with whirly-gigs sticking up 2 feet above it, that’s Doc! And you can rest assured knowing that he would love to stop and chat with anyone about the Hawaiian Monk Seal. You can even check out his series of informational videos on YouTube by searching DrLeisure1. The following video, not by Doc, is rare footage of the monk seal and a green sea turtle playing, though we do not believe the turtle is having very much fun, what do you think?

Monk Seal Playing With Green Turtle

 

 Eels (Hawaiian name: Puhi)

Whitemouth Eel

Conger Eel

Zebra Eel

Yellowmargin Eel

Eels are elongated fishes with a snake-like body. They live in crevices and roles, rarely displaying their entire body in the open. In Hawaii they are quite abundant and represented by many species. Eels tend to be territorial, but do not live in only one hole or location for a long time. Eels are constantly opening and closing their mouth, which makes them appear aggressive; however, this is simply the way they breathe. Since eels generally stay in their hole during the day, many of them are quite willing to model for you, at least facial shots. Some of the bolder species such as the Yellowmargin and Whitemouth Moray, along with the Conger Eel, may even allow you to place a framer on them. 

Sea Monkey eel fun fact: It’s a little more challenging to photograph the shy garden eels, so this is how you outsmart them paparazzi style – leave your camera outside of it’s burrow and back off about 20 feet, sure enough the eel will reappear and perform for your video!

 

 Picasso Triggerfish The official Hawaiian State Fish

(Hawaiian name – Humuhumunukuapua’a)

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a

There are some very showy guys and gals swimming around in the ocean here in Hawaii – they sport a very ostentatious name and look like they’re all dressed up with no where to go, so they hang around the coral reefs showing off their fancy selves. They are the Hawaiian state fish and their name is Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Intimidating, but it’s a lot easier to pronounce than it looks.  Just say it like this and you will sound like a Hawaiian in a minute: Who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooh-ah-ah. Easy, right, so cheehoo and pat yourself on the back!  Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is a triggerfish that is very territorial, so even though they are a show off for snorkelers, they like their space and we highly advise you give it to them, as they have been known to aggressively bite ankles! When Humuhumunukunukuapua’a are happy, healthy, and feel non-threatened their colors are bright and beautiful. When sleeping or feeling invaded they have the ability to tone themselves down into muted coloration for protection. 

Sea Monkey Humumunukunukuapua’a fun fact: We hope someday you have an opportunity to snorkel and encounter this flashy fellow, if you’re not a water adventurer you can visit him at the Maui Ocean Center or any aquarium in Hawaii. If worst comes to worst, he is so popular, you will surely see him sported on t-shirts up and down the strip in Old Lahaina Town!

 

 Sea Urchin (Hawaiian Name: Wana, pronounced vah-na)

Beautiful spiny creatures called sea urchins draw the attention of snorkelers and divers for their exotic presence. Either round or oval, their spines are designed for special habitats. They have five zones of tube feet, which allow them to attach themselves securely to the coral reef or the ocean floor, and five zones of spiny needles to protect them from predators. Some sea urchins hang out directly in the wave crash zone so these tube feet keep them from getting tossed around. Hawaii has several species of sea urchins; the Collector Urchin and the Pencil urchin are two of the most popularly seen.

Collector Sea Urchin

The collector gets it’s name from the fact that it’s an ocean hoarder, hanging onto debris that washes over it like seaweed, gravel, and shell – it uses the debris to hide itself.

 

Pencil Sea Urchin

 

The Pencil urchin is brightly colored and make for beautiful photo opportunities. Neither of these are harmful, unless you accidentally step on them, so don’t do that! Always be aware of what’s around you as you play in or explore the ocean.

 

Diadema Sea Urchin

The Diadema urchin is the one you want to look out for. Its slender spiky needles are venomous and extremely painful, so look but don’t touch, it could send you to the emergency room. 

Sea Monkey sea urchin fun fact: watch our homepage video and see our crew holding a pencil urchin for the guests to see. Our crew loves to guide you as you snorkel and share the wondrous creatures that live beneath the sea – it’s a magical place down there!

 

Mahalo for joining us on this short version journey about a few of the amazing creatures that live in Hawaii’s natural aquarium – the Pacific Ocean. Should you find yourself visiting one of our little rocks we call islands, we hope you will take the time to swim, snorkel or dive in our clear waters and experience the spectacular underwater world up close and personally. Truly, there is nothing like it! Whether whale watching from a distance, snorkeling from offshore or chartering your own personal experience aboard a luxury private day cruiser yacht, you will take home memories that will last a lifetime. Aloha!

 

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; “Hawaiian Reef Fish” by Witte/Mahoney; “Documenting The Super Moms of Seals The Hawaiian Monk Seals of Kalaupapa” by Dr. George R. Harker. 

Hawaii Wild Life Fund

Maui Ocean Center

Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Hawaii Travel Guide

 

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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!

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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.

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Snorkeling and Sightseeing Lanai

Our recent charter guests got enjoy Lanai snorkeling and sightseeing at its best on November 12th, 2016! Great weather, spinner dolphins, whales, beautiful coral and so much more!  Even though the girls caught all the fish – the guys still had fun too!

Check out this link to see playful Spinner Dolphins that day:

Spinner Dolphins Lanai Video

 

Turtle Town Maui

Turtle Town Maui is the long stretch of coastline in between Nahuna Point and Black Sand Beach in the southern district of Makena.

Although a large area, generally, most people who say ‘Turtle Town’ are specifically referring to Maluaka Beach.  Why?  Because Maluaka is the best snorkeling beach in the Turtle Town Maui area!  It also happens to be my favorite place to snorkel on the south shore of Maui.  Calm blue water filled with fish and marine life all along a white sand beach.  As its name suggests, Turtle Town Maui is known for its high population of Hawaiian green sea turtles.

One of the beauties of Maluaka is the variety of activities for which the beach is suited.  Maluaka is protected from Hawaii’s predominant trade winds because it’s hidden behind the mountain of Haleakala.  Without the strong trade winds, the sea remains relatively calm and undisturbed.  The calm water makes for great swimming, boating, and fishing.  The snorkeling is easy and relaxed.  The soft sand is perfect for tanning, relaxing, volleyball, and the kids.

To find the turtles, walk south down the beach until you get to the rocks at the end of the sand.  The coral reef begins here.  This is where you’ll find the fish and, of course, the turtles.  The reef has a gentle slope so you’ll be able to find any swimming depth that’s comfortable for you.

Turtles are very comfortable in shallow water.  Don’t make the mistake of only looking in the deep.  They have no problem feeding on seaweed in only a few inches of water so keep your eyes open.  Despite their name, Hawaiian green sea turtles are brown and their shells are easily mistaken for rocks when lying still. So, keep your eyes open and you might just be able to snap a great picture like this one!

Loved and Legendary Honolua Bay

Some of Hawaiʻi’s beaches are known for their exceptional snorkeling and diving, while others are famous for the barreling waves that thunder ashore in winter. Some are known for their tropical beauty or rich historical significance, while others have hiking, swimming holes, or viewpoints within walking distance of shore.
In the case of Honolua Bay on Maui, it literally offers them all.

Located on Maui’s northwestern coast just five minutes past Kapalua, Honolua Bay is one of the island’s most loved and legendary spots. Summer is a time when snorkelers flock to the tranquil, turquoise cove, where colorful coral heads burst from the reef and schools of reef fish nibble algae off the shells of Hawaiian Green sea turtles. Honolua Bay is also one of the best places to go scuba diving on Maui, as eagle rays, lobster, and Hawaiian spinner dolphins are commonly seen on the deeper sections facing out toward the open sea.

Come on board of Sea Monkey and we will take you to Honolua Bay excursion you won’t forget!

For more info check out: Honolua Bay Guide Book