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Molokini Facts

In 1977, the same year Apple II computers were first sold and NASA first took a

Space Shuttle for a test flight, a great thing happened for fish and water enthusiasts

in Maui – Molokini became a Hawai’i Marine Life Conservation District. Protecting

Molokini for future generations was the right thing to do for this very special place.


The Birth of Molokini

Scientists date the birth of our beautiful, crescent-shaped snorkeling paradise

to over a series of volcanic eruptions over 230,000 years. In fact, we can trace

Molokini’s yellow earth to a series of shallow marine eruptions. When a volcano

erupts under water, the water turns erupting magma into glass crystals. Glass

erodes much faster than dry land volcanic material and that’s where Molokini gets

it yellow earth from, as opposed to the red earth of Haleakala, which comes from

magma that cooled on land.

All About Islets

Technically speaking, Molokini Crater is an islet. There are thousands of islets

around the world and they go by many names. In the Caribbean, where Kai Kanani

II was custom-crafted for our Hawaiian waters, Molokini would be called Molokini

Key. In Ireland – Molokini Skerry. And closer to home in Polynesia we’d call

Molokini, Molokini Motu.


An Ancient Hawaiian Fishing Area

Because of its ideal deep-water position in the Alalakeiki Channel between Maui

and the neighboring island of Kahoolawe, Molokini has long been appreciated for

its fish population. Ancient Hawaiian fishing techniques were incredibly varied and

complex. Many of the Hawaiian fishing traditions that may have been practiced at

Molokini continue to this day, including hook and line fishing, spear fishing and net


Rare Species of Plants

Molokini is home to especially rare species of plants. One such plant, the Ihi

Molokini is endemic in only one other place in the world and that is very close by on

neighboring Kahoolawe. The Ihi Molokini is a succulent – other succulunts include

aloe plants and cacti – and it has beautiful yellow flowers.

Yellow Tang

An Incredible Diversity of Fish

Over 250 species of fish call Molokini home. And many pelagic fish pass through the

area. That’s one of the reasons Molokini is so well-regarded and routinely ranked as

one of the top ten dive and snorkel sites, not only for Maui, but according to some

experts and publications, for Hawai’i and the world. And don’t forget, there’s no

better way to experience the natural life, history and beauty of Molokini than with

your friends at Kai Kanani.