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Snorkeling in Hawaii (Maui and Big Island)

Discussion in 'Snorkeling / Freediving' started by sportyluis, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. sportyluis

    sportyluis Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Canada
    55
    10
    8
    Hello everyone!

    My wife and I are planning our honeymoon to Hawaii and want to know any good suggestions for snorkeling (preferably from shore but open to a boat tour if it's amazing). We'll be there for the first 3 weeks of December and will be visiting Maui and Big Island.

    Let me know if you have any suggestions!

    Luis
     
  2. Grievous Angel

    Grievous Angel Garibaldi

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    We hit half a dozen beaches in the big island this past summer. My two favorite beaches to snorkel were Two Step and 49 Black Sand. Be sure to show up early as parking will be limited. 49 Black Sand is inside a gated community but there are a limited number of public parking spots. Just pull up to the gate and ask.
     
  3. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,193
    5,768
    113
    Two Step on Kona, Kahuluu Beach Park for turtles in less than 10' Try not to kick the ones sleeping on the lava beach - they blend in well
    You will want decent boots (suurfwalkers work) to keep from shredding your feet,

    You can also snorkel the famous Kona Manta Night Dive as they come up to the surface - some say it's better than the dive. Contact any of the dive operators for a rie - my biece went with Kona Diving Co. while dad dove below.

    Maui has endless options. The points of most of the beaches/bays are good shallow snorkeling. You can snorkel under Mala Pier also. Sheraton Black Rock is more snorkelers than divers although they will be below you. Access is right off the beach.

    Molokini Crater is some of the best snorkeling, it's shallow and protected inside the Crater. Boats from Ma'alea go there daily, There's the Pride of Maui - a big snorkel cat with waterslides and a BBQ lunch included. Trilogy Sailing Charters mostly snorkels -, you get to help sail over and they also offer SNUBA.

    I spent a fun morning snorkeling off the south point of Waikea Beach once - there's some ledges/small caves in 20-30' The Grand Wailea next door does a nice brunch,

    All those Snorkel Bob's shops are thee for a reason...lol They have a free guide map.
     
  4. spoolin01

    spoolin01 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SF Bay Area, CA
    1,522
    210
    63
    On the Big Island, aside from Two Step/Honaunau Bay which is tops, I'd recommend Old Airport from the cove at the far west end. You can snorkel either direction once into deeper water outside the small cove. Series of shoreline canyons to the the west, forming small coves to explore. This is a good spot if the winter NW swells are running, as the coast faces south there (Two Step is pretty protected in that case as well). A ways south of Kailua Town, Hookena Beach snorkeling is good heading north from the beach entry. Even a bit farther south is Kona Paradise, the cove and adjacent edges are good. I wouldn't recommend either of the latter two unless the seas are 1.5' or less (check Magicseaweed.com or another surf forecast site).

    Most places on Kona, you don't want to be more than 20 or 30 yds from the lava bench shoreline, if even that. For Kona you really want to wear dive boots with felt soles and use open heel fins, unless your feet are extra tough. You can often find those boots for about $30 at Walmarts in Kailua, also sometimes KMart, but inventory can be spotty. Now and then I see them for 50% more at dive shops. The Tabi-toe low top felt boots used by fisherman can also work in a pinch.

    Much of the Maui coastline, especially to the south, is pretty shallow a long ways out, but that's OK for snorkeling. Makena Beach out along the right, and any of the Wailea hotel beaches or other access points will be OK. To the north, the Crystal Gardens area south of Olawalu and Ukumehame, right after exiting the tunnel headed north, is spectacular if you can find the spot. It's a bit of a swim from entry. Way north at Honolua Bay is great as well and a little deeper.
     
  5. RogueClimber

    RogueClimber ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Honolulu
    49
    33
    18
    This past summer we did Trilogy to Lanai and Kona Diving Company for the mantas. Both were a fantastic experience
     
  6. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,635
    1,413
    113
    A couple of years ago, we did a scooter dive at Mile Marker 14 on Hwy 30, south of Lahaina, Maui, which has a turtle cleaning station with a lot of coral. It was a fabulous dive. I sent some good friends there for snorkeling last year, and they loved it. It has a shallow sandy entrance, so easy in and out, and we found the right side of the sandy channel leading away from the beach was the best side for shallow corals and more turtles..
     
  7. sportyluis

    sportyluis Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Canada
    55
    10
    8
    Thanks for the tips! Does anyone know if the snorkeling with Manta Rays is wavy or rough seas?

    Also, is the snorkeling in Hawaii generally pretty wave or calm water?
     
  8. spoolin01

    spoolin01 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SF Bay Area, CA
    1,522
    210
    63
    Seas can be quite calm there, or not. Same with evening wind. My informal observations of the big dive ops at least is that they are pretty conservative about sea conditions. I've seen them pass up spots due to what seemed like pretty mild surge. The manta dive is one of the signature attractions, and customers talk about it, so I doubt they would put snorkelers into anything too difficult. I'd say watch the evening wind forecasts and don't sign up very far in advance if you want to be picky about conditions.
     
  9. RogueClimber

    RogueClimber ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Honolulu
    49
    33
    18
    Our ride out was quite rough as was the return ride, but the site itself was flat as it is tucked into a small cove near the shore.

    But it is Hawaii. Many people forget how exposed we are out here and the water can get serious quickly.

    Snorkeling with. the Mantas is why RogueWife decided to get certified as she had such a great experience. It is definitely worth the risk, so sign up. If you have concerns call the dive shop.

    Aloha
     
  10. Testudo

    Testudo Manta Ray

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    I snorkeled the Kona side last fall and found the snorkeling to be pretty good. The highlight for me was snorkeling with a pod of dolphins at Two-step. Overall the fish counts and diversity was a little less than I am accustomed to from snorkeling in Cayman, but sadly the corals were still not recovered from the major bleaching that happened a few years ago. I'm kicking myself for not doing the night Manta snorkel. The visibility in most spots was affected by what I'll assume was halocline at the first few feet from the surface. Diving under it much improved the visibility.

    Didn't get to snorkel as many spots as I had hoped that trip, but Two-step was my favorite spot, followed by Makaiwa Bay.
     

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