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Molokini Crater – Maui Hawaii

Located 3 miles off Maui’s rugged Makena coast, lies the alluring, sunken volcanic crater of Molokini. Here the crystal-clear tropical waters are home to an array of fish and other unique species of marine life, including eels and octopus, which all seek shelter inside this beautiful crater. The actual island is also a protected nesting area for two distinct species of birds, the Petrels and Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters.

Fun Facts About Molokini Crater

  1. Molokini is world-renowned for its exceptional water clarity with visibility up to 150 feet.
  2. Molokini was created from an eruption that occurred approximately 230,000 years ago.
  3. Molokini Crater is home to about 250 types of marine species.
  4. There are 38 different types of hard coral species inside Molokini Crater.
  5. The island is home to at least 2 different species of nesting seabirds.
  6.  Molokini is a Marine Life Conservation District and the island is a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary.
  7. Molokini’s literal translation means “many ties”.

Molokini’s Unique History

This volcanic crater formed some 230,000 years ago. What you see today is the remains of a giant center cone that rose above the surface. Many cones never break the surface of the water, thus adding to the distinctiveness of Molokini Crater. Water erosion and sinking over time have created the familiar crescent-shaped landmark we know and love today. History shows this was a fishing ground for ancient Hawaiians. Today, Molokini Crater is a carefully protected Marine Life Conservation District and is declared a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary.

The Hawaiian Legend of Molokini

The fire goddess, Pele, was in love with a prince (who also happened to be a gecko or Mo’o.) The prince fell in love with another woman, and in her fury, Pele took her revenge, by cutting the woman in half. The head of the body became Pu’u Olai, which is the cinder cone mound on the north end of Makena Beach (Big Beach.) The body fell into the ocean and became Molokini Crater.

Whichever explanation you choose to embrace, Molokini remains at the top of the list of “must-see” destinations on Maui. The snorkeling at Molokini Crater is some of the best in all of Hawaii and has been continuously voted as a top snorkel site. The backside of the crater is considered one of the 10 best dive spots in the world.

Maui Magic encourages the use of Reef Safe Sunscreen (also offered onboard all our vessels) and we kindly ask you to not touch marine life, as it can be damaging to the fragile coral and ecosystem.

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