Highlights: Molokini Crater, Shore Dives, day trips to Lana’I or Moloka’i.
Maui Shore Diving
Maui has more than forty shore dive sites along the west coast. Black Rock is one of the most popular but many hotels along the Ka'anapali coast have great house reefs. With eagle rays, turtles and schooling fish, they're great for taking photos or trying out a diver propulsion vehicle.
Keep an eye out for Hawaii's state fish: the humahumanukanuka'apua'a - also known as the Lagoon Triggerfish
One of the most famous dive sites in Hawaii, Molokini Crater is just a 30 minute boat ride from Maui.
Many species of fish, eels, and the occasional manta ray inhabit the crater's interior and you can expect depths from 16-21 metres/55-70 feet. Your friends that aren't into scuba (yet) will also enjoy the trip because the inside of Molokini has great snorkeling
Experienced divers may prefer the Molokini's backside as the deeper water (more than 106 metres/ 350 feet) and occasionally strong current attracts larger pelagic animals like mantas, sharks or whales - pretty much anything can swim by. You can dive the backside of Molokini on most days, but it's a good idea to schedule your backside trip as early as possible during your visit. This way, you can reschedule if the trip is cancelled due to weather.
Lahaina, Maui: Gateway to Lana'i and Moloka'i Diving
Lahaina, Maui is the departure point for diving the Lana'i's underwater cathedrals or spotting the rare creatures of Moloka'i.
There are several fun wrecks off Maui. Two of the most popular are the St. Anthony (located off of Kihei) and the 30 metre/100 foot long Carthaginian, just south of Lahaina. Both wrecks were sunk as artificial reefs.
The 20 metre/68 foot St. Anthony was sunk just over 10 years ago in about 21 metres/70 feet of water off Keawakapu Beach. Since then it has become the home of several large green sea turtles and a haven for schools of damselfish, surgeonfish, goatfish and butterfly fish. On the Carthaginian, be on the lookout for frogfish.
Divers usually reach the wrecks by boat, diver propulsion vehicle, semi-closed rebreather or kayak, but shore access lets divers enjoy the reef along the way.
You've come thousands of kilometers/miles to see underwater creatures that exist nowhere else so this isn't the time to learn underwater photography through trial and error. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer specialty course can get you quickly up to speed and make sure you come back with photos you'll be excited to share.
You'll also want to consider getting your PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy, Deep Diver or Enriched Air Diver certifications before you dive off of the Hawaiian islands. Maui is a great place to acquire any of these but don't forget about your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (you can start it online right now), Boat Diver or Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) certifications.
Locate a PADI Dive Center or Resort near Maui
Maui has great diving throughout the year, but migrating humpback whales visit from December through February. During the season it's not unusual to hear their song during your dives.
The famous Road to Hana is a Maui must-do. As you’re driving along the coastal diver, you'll see some of the world's most beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking views of the ocean. Depart early in the morning or after lunchtime to avoid being caught in a parade of rental cars, but be sure to stop along the way to enjoy roasted coconut and fresh fruit from roadside stands. In Hana, don't miss the Hasegawa General Store. This oversized convenience store sells everything from snacks and postcards to gardening gloves and hammers. Most people turn around at Hana, but don't miss the Seven Sacred Pools - it's just another 15 minutes past Hana on the same road.
Explore all the Hawaiian Islands:
All images are courtesy of:
- Hawaiian Tourism Authority: Sri Maiava Rusden, Ron Dahlquist, Kirk Lee Adder, Joe Solem
- Captain Steve Juarez