It’s a beautiful Maui Tuesday morning and we are excited t0 head out on Kai Kanani 2 for the Molokini Deluxe snorkel trip to Molokini and Turtle Town. On this day Kai Kanani 2 has been reserved for a private charter and even though we are coast guard certified to take 80 passengers, we will only be going out with 7 lucky people.
8:30 – I meet the bus bringing our guests, which come from a Wailea hotel just a couple miles away. We stroll down to the beach shack for check-in at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort. We are ready to board Kai Kanani 2.
Mandy & Tim
9:00 – We see our smiling crew members Mandy & Tim make their way down the ladder to help us on board the beautiful blue boat. Once on board we head into the cabin to place our bags and Captain Anthony comes down to tell us our plan for the day. We nibble on a light breakfast of coffee, muffins and island-fresh fruit.
Tim getting ready to fish
9:15 We are on our way to our first snorkel location at Molokini and the Captain and crew throw out some fishing lines in hopes of catching some extras for lunch. They laughingly assure us we have plenty of food on board, so if we don’t catch anything, we won’t go hungry. Captain Anthony fits our small group with snorkel gear and gives a quick snorkel lesson to get everyone ready to go.
9:30 After rounding the backside of Molokini, we arrive inside the crescent-shaped islet. Captain Anthony tells us where all the good fish are going to be hanging out and then we hop in the water with Mandy. She assists us from her surfboard.
Black Durgon Triggerfish
9:45 The crystal clear waters immediately reveal an incredible amount of beautiful fish for us to see. Earlier in the morning there was a coral spawn, which always brings out more fish to eat “leftovers” floating in the water.
Our first group of fish to see is the Black Durgan Triggerfish, which Hawaiians call Humuhumuelele. This close cousin of the Hawai’i state fish is commonly seen in Molokini, so we are off to see what else there is to find. As we swim closer to the wall, we see a female Parrotfish eating algae along with a moorish idol, wrasse and orange- spine unicorn fish. Not long after, we spot a nice sized coronetfish, these fish are closely related to a seahorse, but much bigger. As we get further along the wall we suddenly see a huge school of orange-spine unicorn fish. There must be over 100 feeding on the coral. Suddenly they begin to move as one to a new feeding site, leaving us behind. On that cue we also continue our journey and find butterflyfish and tangs swimming nearby.
Orange Spine Unicorn Fish
On the way back to the boat we are greeted by an octopus! The Hawaiian name for octopus is He’e and they blend in so well with the rocks and coral that unless they are moving, it is very hard to notice them. We watch as the octopus changes shape and color and disguises itself as a coral head. We are all able to take photos and video.
10:45 We are back aboard Kai Kanani 2 and are on our way to our next snorkel location at Turtle Town. On the way, we help ourselves to veggies, chips and dips and drinks.
Green Sea Turtle
11:00 As we arrive to Turtle Town, Captain Anthony points out a large Green Sea Turtle hanging out on the surface of the water. Already this stop is a success! Once the Captain gives the signal, we follow Tim into the water on his surfboard. He immediately spots another turtle resting on the ocean floor. We get lots of photos, but it is definitely not interested in us, so we move on along a submerged lava ridge. There are numerous caves and formations and it’s not long before we see another turtle emerge from a dark cave and come to the surface for air. We are sure to give this gentle creature lots of room, so we don’t scare it away. After a few minutes he submerges and we continue on. There are lots of beautiful urchins and fish here and sea stars are everywhere. We even see a Crown of Thorns sea star. We see another turtle swimming below us just cruising slowly, destination unknown.
Crown of Thorns Sea Star
12:00 After an hour of turtles and echinoderms, we head back to the boat. While we have been out in the water, Mandy has set up lunch for us, and we help ourselves to deli style sandwiches and delicious fresh salads. Mandy is also behind the bar pouring local beers and Mai Tais for those who wish to partake.
12:15 As our guests lounge around the deck with food and drinks, Captain Anthony takes advantage of the light breeze and unfurls the headsail. Before we know it, we are sailing! It’s a gorgeous afternoon for sail with light island tunes accompanying us in the background.
Sailing on the Kai Kanani
1:00 It’s time to head to shore. We pull into the beautiful Maluaka Beach. We have time for just one more, quick photo to remember our fantastic day. We hope you join us soon for a snorkel excursion with Kai Kanani Sailing Charters!