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Honolua Bay


Honolua Bay is roughly half of the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine life Conservation District. (See article on MLCDs) Most of the Bay is usually quite well protected unless winter swells roll straight in and conditions can change rapidly. When calm, however, Honolua Bay can be like a lake and offers some of the best snorkeling on Maui. After heavy rains, visibility in the Bay can get murky from the flow of creek water that comes in from the west side of the Bay.

Most days, the Bay is perfect for both beginners and advanced snorkelers. Tall cliffs effectively keep the wind to a minimum. The scenery is simply spectacular.Gaze across the Pailolo Channel and you’ll see the eastern shores of the island of Molokai.What more can visitors ask for? Depends on your vacation goals and dreams. For example, if you’re after leisurely lounging on sandy beaches, nearby Mokule’ia Bay may be a better bet.

If it’s snorkeling and seeing colorful fish, most of the healthy coral, in orange, pink and light blue, and the best snorkeling is found on the north side of Honolua Bay. Expect to see big chubs, tangs, parrotfish, many kinds of butterflyfish, ornate wrasses, scrawled filefish, rectangular triggerfish, lei triggerfish, needlefish, Bluefin Trevallies, large groups of Convict Tangs, eels, large sea turtles and more marine life, even an octopus, beautiful Bigfin Squid and maybe a white-mouthed moray. (See article on Hawaii’s Tropical Fish)

Even on a day when visibility in Honolua Bay is not at its best, our snorkeling tours are rewarded with abundant schools of butterfly fish, Potter’s angelfish, yellow-tail wrasse, large pufferfish,silver Bigeye Scad, Bluespine unicorn surgeonfish, and other fish mentioned above. Schools of fish often include blue-stripe snapper and Hawaiian flagtails.

Honolua Bay can offer some of the best snorkeling found on Maui – when the waters are calm! The further out from shore, water clarity, fish counts and coral get better and better. The reef extends hundreds of yards from shore out to sea where our many choices of excursions provide hours of exploration for snorkelers.

A final word of caution. Neither Honolua nor Mokule’ia Bays are for any snorkeler when the surf gets heavy. Big swells roll in often in the winter and it can get rough any time of year if the swell happens to arrive from the north. Then these bays become surfing sites.

Another caution for snorkelers is to only snorkel in the mornings when its calm. Waves can get much bigger towards noon. All of the more reason for relying on our trusted snorkeling tours that know exactly when and where to find the best snorkeling.




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Hawaii snorkeling is by far the single most popular category of activities to be found in Hawaii. One reason for this is that snorkeling in Hawaii is often a component of many different types of tours found on any individual island such as many of the dolphin watches, whale watches, diving tours, raft excursions and even in some cases dinner cruises.

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