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.
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.