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The crater/island was fairly barren, but the main attraction here is underwater.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Molokini Crater

300 Maalaea Boat Harbor Road, Wailuku, HI 96793
808-243-5294 Half day
December 2010 Winter
$60-99 Maui Hawaii
Website Recreation Snorkeling
First review
Molokini Crater is a protected 77 acre shoal located about 3 miles southwest of Maui in Hawaii. The crater area is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.

Molokini Crater was formed by an extinct volcano that became partially submerged. In the past it has been used by the US military for target practice. Unexploded munitions were detonated in the 1970’s and 1980’s resulting in damage to the corals. Commercial harvesting of black coral has taken place as well. Today the whole area is protected by Hawaii as a conservation district. The island is a seabird sanctuary.

The boat ride out to Molokini Crater can get choppy depending on water conditions. If you are prone to seasickness, it can be an issue here. The water around the crater is a rich blue, very clear and typically warm. Even in the middle of winter it is easy to spend two hours in the water without a wetsuit. The corals on the whole are colorful and varied. Fish are not as abundant but at least a handful of species are usually here.

Access to the crater is by boat and a number of charters for snorkeling and diving are available. The Pacific Whale Foundation tour was well run with helpful and enthusiastic staff. They can be reached at 1-800-942-5311 or

On the whole, snorkeling at Molokini Crater is a good but not great experience. More abundant and more diverse fish would have made it better. It does make for a good family outing as long as everyone enjoys swimming and snorkeling. Winter is the best time to visit because humpback whales are here at that time and sometimes can be seen.
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