6 Reasons to Pick Maui Snorkel Charters for Your Maui Snorkeling Excursion
I’m sure there are plenty of holiday-makers down in Hawaii right now soaking up copious amounts of Vitamin D, sipping lilikoi-foam-topped Mai Tais, and perfecting the beautiful art of doing nothing. Is there a more ideal time to immerse yourself in total relaxation than Christmas and New Year’s (and the weeks right after)? Shouldn’t the holidays and their aftermath be about stepping away from the craziness of every day life and just enjoying the beauty of existing? Maui happens to be one of the best places to practice this art form - you’ll get the backdrop of waving palm trees and crystal clear blue water while you’re recharging those batteries of yours.
BUT, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself itching to get into the water after a few minutes on the island. And rightfully so! The water around the Hawaiian islands are warm year round and home to many stunning coral reefs and fascinating marine organisms. About 25% of the fish, invertebrate, and plant species you’ll find in the Hawaiian islands are endemic, meaning you won’t spot them anywhere else in the world. There are many popular (as well as lesser known) snorkeling spots around Maui that have quite an impressive reputation for good reason - the allure of spotting a manta ray, a sea turtle, an octopus, eel, a pod of spinner dolphins, or even humpback whales is always tantalizing!
A visit to Maui is not complete without a daily dip (or two or three or four) in the ocean, ideally with a mask in hand. There are lots of snorkel spots you can get to yourself by land, but why not save yourself the hassle of figuring out parking, tides, currents, safe entry and exit spots, and just go out on a boat tour? You’re spoilt for choice on Maui; there’s plenty of operators leaving from various parts of the island. It can actually be a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to pick, so I wanted to share my opinion to save you a bit of hassle. I recently went out with Maui Snorkel Charters, a family-run operator out of the Kihei boat ramp in South Maui, and I was blown away with the entire experience. Having worked on snorkel boats in Maui before and seen most of the options departing from Kihei, Ma’alaea, and Lahaina, I’ve seen a huge range of qualities in customer service and overall experience. If you’re not into the big boat style, 100+ passenger adventure, turn your sights smaller. Maui Snorkel Charters only takes out 18 folks a trip, leaving you with a much more intimate experience.
Do yourself a favor and book a trip out with Maui Snorkel Charters. I promise you won’t regret it, but if you need more convincing you can watch the video of my latest snorkel adventure with them below. I’ll even give you six reasons why I loved my time out on the water with them. They really are the best (no ka oi)!
1) You’ll see a variety of the best snorkel spots on Maui, hand-picked for the day’s weather and visibility conditions
A lot of the larger tour companies have so many folks on board that they simply don’t have the time to navigate to more than two snorkel spots around the south shore of Maui. With Maui Snorkel Charters, you’ll be able to see five or six of the best spots for that day. The weather and sea conditions change daily out here, and you don’t want to have to stick to a pre-planned itinerary if it means swimming around in crappy visibility or choppy seas. The best spots change day-to-day, and the seasoned captain and crew know exactly where to take you for the best day ever. Molokini crater is one of the biggest attractions, of course, but you’ll get the inside scoop on some of the more hidden snorkel spots because you’ll have time for five or six spots with such a light load on the boat!
2) The captain and crew are amazing; you’ll feel like you’re part of the family
Maui Snorkel Charters is family owned and operated by Doug and Tricia, and their lovely daughters, niece, and hānai (adopted) family make up the crew. They started the company after moving to Maui in 2001 as a way to share their favorite parts of Maui with you - the underwater world of coral, fish, turtles, and other marine life, all with the backdrop of sparkling white beaches and volcanic islands. They share the aloha with each and every one of their guests, cracking hilarious jokes, talking story about the history and geology of the Hawaiian islands and the marine ecosystems, and making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.
This is the definition of mindful travel - you’ll be supporting a locally-owned and operated company that places an emphasis on environmental awareness and conservation.
3) The tour is a great value for your money - all of the equipment you need is provided, with no annoying added fees
All you need to do is wear your swimsuit and bring a towel and a swimsuit. Literally everything else is provided, from a breakfast of coffee, muffins, and fresh Maui pineapple to wetsuits and snorkel gear to a locally catered lunch of wraps and chips. You’ll have all the peace of mind knowing that the little details are taken care of, so you can simply enjoy the sun, the waves, and the time spent with your family and new friends.
4) The No Ka Oi vessel is a purpose-built snorkeling boat designed by Captain Doug - you’ll feel safe and comfortable for the entire day
She’s a 40’ adventure boat custom built with safety, fun, and comfort in mind. Captain Doug has actually spent years designing boats for the police, military, and U.S. Coast Guard, and he’s now poured all of that experience into designing the perfect boat for your Maui snorkeling adventure. They cap the passenger number to 18, even though there’s room for 26 - they put that much emphasis on your comfort! You know you won’t feel crowded or cramped, and there’s plenty of personal attention from the crew if you need it. A lot of boats on Maui won’t even put lifeguards in the water with you; Maui Snorkel Charters makes sure there’s always a crew member in the ocean while you’re exploring! There are even handy cupboard under the seats for dry storage, a sunshade, and padded stairs for an easy entry back into the boat after your snorkel.
5) The Seafari style of snorkeling allows you to see more of the reef with less effort; many stops allow for a drift snorkel, meaning you get dropped off and picked up further down the reef!
Basically, this means you’ll have a crew member in the water guiding you through the unique beauty of each snorkel spot. You won’t miss a thing! The part I appreciated the most was the drift snorkel style, meaning you get dropped in the water at one part of the reef and picked up in another. You get to follow the current along, see more of the reef, and there’s a heck of a lot less effort required! My favorite spot was the back wall of Molokini, at a spot called “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The crew makes sure to give you background info and debrief you on any cool species you see out there, so you leave feeling educated and maybe a little more excited about protecting the marine life in Maui.
I was amazed how many snorkel spots we were able to visit on the 4.5 hour tour, and not one moment of it felt rushed! We had all the time in the world because of the low passenger numbers, the ease of getting on and off the boat, and the skilled driving of Captain Doug.
6) It’s the perfect opportunity to travel mindfully by supporting a local, ethical tour operator
And like I mentioned earlier, Maui Snorkel Charters does place a big emphasis on marine conservation. Entering the ocean means you are a visitor in the home of about a zillion marine organisms, and the crew realizes the importance of this. They pass around reef-safe sunscreen at the start of the trip (ditch those chemically-based sunscreens, they’re about to be illegal in Hawai’i anyway), use paper cups for water instead of plastic, and hand cut and prepare all of the fresh fruit for you in the morning. Even the fact that they get the lunch catered from the local mediterranean restaurant Sarento’s means that your lunch is traveling less than a mile to make it onto your plate. They have prop guards on the engines to protect you and the local marine life as well.
You ready to hop in the water with the fam yet? Head over to their website and book early - they definitely fill up! Lots of love to Doug, Tricia, Brittany, Bailey, and the rest of the family. I can’t wait to be back out on the water with you!