Saturday, September 5, 2009

Molokini Snorkeling

Ever since I saw the pictures of the rocky crescent in the middle of the blue pacific, with the boats anchored in it, I knew I had to go there. Snorkeling in a caldera is just too cool of an idea. For those of you who have been there, imagine Santorini, only tiny. Its the same shape. The island itself is just a bare rock inhabited by frigate birds. It's actually a bir sanctuary. It was formed by an ancient volcano, half of the caldera worn away and weathered, only part of it remaining above water, the submerged parts covered with coral.

This is the backside of the island:

Here's the boat we're going on:

We took the Kai Kanani, a sailing catamaran that leaves from the beach right in front of our hotel. It's only about a 15 minute ride out to Molokini from there. Unfortunately there is not enough wind to raise the sail, they simply motor out. There are perhaps 25 people on board, and it doesn't feel crowded at all. They feed us a light breakfast...juice, muffins, Maui gold pineapple... while we ride. The water seems smooth as glass this morning, for which I'm thankful.

We come around the backside of the caldera, into the crescent, where several other boats are already anchored, and we can see lots of swimmers in the water, many with colorful floats or noodles.

Boats in the caldera:

We are offered floats to tie around our waists while we snorkel, but in my case, adding buoyancy seem redundant. I have plenty of float already....

When we arrive, they tie up to a mooring, and then lower two metal staircase/ladders. It's easy to climb down, put your fins on and get in the water. The water temperature is around 80 degrees F, so it's very comfortable and incredibly clear. I've got my compact Canon digital camera in a waterproof housing, and this is the first time I've tried it out. It's a little hard to see the LCD on the back, so I have a hard time framing things. But I'm very pleased with the results. I get quite a few nice shots.

There are more in my Maui Album, but here are a few fish:
From Maui

From Maui

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