Molokini Crater is one of my favorite dive sites in Maui County. The boat ride from Lahaina Harbor is around 45 minutes and provides spectacular scenery of the islands of Maui and Lanai. The crater has abundant hard corals on the inside and outside “wall” and provides great dive opportunities for both beginner and advanced divers. If you like a drift dive, then the outer wall dives are for you. If you like a dive taken at a more leisurely pace with lots of exploration, then the inside crater dives are great. There is a tremendous amount of marine life at the site, including anything from very small shrimps to a variety of sharks and rays, and, yes, even Humpback whales, which have been seen on very rare occasions.
There are a number of dive sites on the inside of the crater including Reef’s End, Enenui, Middle Reef, and Taco Flats. There is also a site near Enenui at about 110 feet that use to be referred to as Shark Condos, which as the name implies, is a rocky alcove where you can usually find 2 to 4 white-tip reef sharks. Unfortunately, many of the dive boats do not take divers to this depth.
From late December to early April you can usually hear the Humpback Whales singing throughout the dive, which is just awesome. I have seen a number of different sharks and rays on this site over the years and it is one of my favorite dive sites in Maui. Lots of “critters” to photograph and the coral is very healthy all around the crater.
I typically use Lahanina Divers when I go to Molokini Crater and they have always treated us very well. The captains are very experienced with the channels and conditions around Maui and manage the dives safely and efficiently. The boats are fairly roomy with ample space for gear and getting “kitted-up” prior to the dive. I have tried some of the dive operators off of Kihei, Hawaii, including the guy with the “fastest-boat on Maui”, but I find those boats a good bit smaller (they are launched from a boat ramp by Kihei) and very cramped. If you’re are staying in or near Ka’anapali or Lahaina, I highly recommend not making the drive to Kihei, but using a dive operator out of Lahaina.
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