Today we had one of the coolest family adventure days ever — a family snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater, La Pérouse Bay, and Turtle Town off the shores of Maui, Hawaii.
Earlier this summer, we did a bunch of research on which tour company to go with for a Molokini snorkeling trip, and it was tough. Most websites didn’t have a lot of information and they all had gorgeous photos and they all claimed to be the best tour. Tourist websites just listed the same sales copy that their websites offered with just the facts and no recommendations or opinions, and the reviews were all over the map.
There was only one company though that kept showing up consistently with positive reviews, lots of information, and a great website, and when we reached out through their contact form, they responded quickly and were helpful and friendly. For us the choice was a no brainer. We went with Red Line Rafting and booked their early morning Molokini snorkeling adventure.
Maui Snorkeling Tours from Kihei
We were staying at the Grand Wailea for Thanksgiving week, and were thrilled to discover that Red Line Rafting Molokini snorkeling tours leave from from the Kihei Small Boat Harbor in South Kihei. It’s very close to the Grand Wailea, so we could sleep in just a little longer!
When we contacted Red Line Rafting in the summer, their advice was to book our Molokini snorkeling trip for early in the week. This gave us some flexibility and extra peace of mind, knowing that if there was windy, bad weather, we would be able to reschedule for later in the week. Another benefit to booking our trip early in the week was that we hadn’t yet fully adjusted to the time change, so getting up early to be at the boat Kihei Small Boat Harbor at 6:30am wasn’t that big of a deal. Heck, we were up before our alarms, which meant we were able to make a quick pit stop at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for coffee and snacks on the way.
The Kihei Small Boat Harbor has lots of parking and was deserted when we arrived, but quickly began to fill up as the all of the boats and other tourists began to arrive. As the boats pulled into the parking lot, we checked them out and then went to get checked-in at the Red Line Rafting boat, which really was a giant raft.
Again, we were so thankful we booked our Maui snorkeling tour with Red Line Rafting because:
- They had the nicest, cleanest boat
- Captain Seth and First Mate Shane were super friendly, funny, and helpful
- They provided snorkeling gear, wet suits for all of us, and flotation belts for the kids, which helped alleviate some of Brian’s concerns about the kids in the ocean
- We were one of the first boats out of the Kihei Harbor and off to Molokini
Red Line Rafting Maui Molokini Snorkel Tour
Our boat was fast and it cut through the waves to provide a fairly smooth ride. Plus, it’s a smaller boat that carries only 24 people max, so it never really felt crowded on the boat or in the water.
On the way out to Molokini, they passed out the snorkel gear and we were served delicious cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, and juice. Now this wasn’t a whale watching tour, but I knew we were at the very beginning of whale watching season, and was so excited that we saw a whale breach right in front of the boat. Captain Seth drove around a bit, while telling us stories and sharing history about Molokini and the surrounding islands, to see if we could see any more whales before heading to Molokini and we did! We saw two more whales! It was a surprise and totally made our day!
Natalie was so amazed and totally speechless.
After that we headed over to the inside of Molokini Crater, a Marine Life Conservation District and Bird Sanctuary. We were one of the first boats to arrive. Unfortunately it was a cloudy, overcast day, and it rained off and on, so the visibility wasn’t great and the colors weren’t bright. But with that said, it’s a fairly protected area and the snorkeling was pretty great! The kids saw lots of fish, anemones, different kids of coral, and even a couple moray eels.
By the time we got back on the boat and pulled up anchor, only two other boats had arrived, and we could see the “big boats” coming toward Molokini in the distance. After snorkeling inside Molokini crater, we went around the backside of Molokini to snorkel along the crater wall, a world famous scuba diving spot. Here the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for a bit and we experienced bright blue water, lots of fish, and colorful coral.
Our group then headed over to the more remote La Pérouse Bay for more snorkeling, history, and geological information and facts about the bay formation — and we were only one of two boats in the area so snorkeling in La Pérouse Bay was less-crowded and more relaxing.
When everyone was done snorkeling in the bay, we headed to our fourth and final snorkeling spot of the day, Turtle Town. Apparently, Turtle Town means different places to different tour companies. There isn’t just one place that is the official Turtle Town, instead it’s wherever the tour companies believe the turtles are at. Luckily Captain Seth and First Mate Shane knew where to go and we did get to swim up close and personal with enormous sea turtles! They are beautiful creatures, my kids were mesmerized, and that pretty much made our day.
Whales, Sea Turtles, And Fish
Whales and sea turtles and fish? It was a pretty wonderful adventure! Plus, they also served lunch, which included sandwiches, chips and drinks — and there was a lot, so you could eat until you were full. They also have a bathroom, but it’s not very private. Thank goodness, we didn’t need to use it!
If we ever want to go on another snorkeling tour to Molokini crater, I would book with Red Line Rafting again in a heartbeat. The boat leaves early from Kihei, which I believe is the closest harbor to Molokini, so you get more time in the water snorkeling, and you get to visit more locations that the other tours don’t visit. The staff is friendly, fun, and knowledgeable, and the food is great.
What About You?
Have you done a Molokini snorkeling tour? What was your experience like?
I’d love to hear from you!