A quick google search will tell you that snorkeling Molokini Crater is an absolute must when visiting Maui. It will also overwhelm you with an array of companies and experiences to choose from. I was looking for a locally owned company that could offer a unique and responsible experience in a less commercial setting. With this in mind, my choice became simple. Snorkeling Molokini Crater with Redline Rafting was the absolute highlight of my time in Maui!
Snorkeling Molokini Crater with Redline Rafting
Our red raft picked up speed into the Kealaikahiki Channel as a lighthearted playlist set the mood. Our guides Chase and Katie made our boat of 24 people instantly feel like a family. With humorous safety instructions and surprising us all by knowing each of our names, the boat had a friendly BBQ atmosphere. The choice to snorkel with Redline Rafting was affirmed when we took a momentary detour to pick up nearby floating debris, coined “good ocean karma” by Chase. To top our pre-snorkel off we enjoyed warm cinnamon rolls and an array of fresh-cut fruit as the Maui dawn glittered on the water and Molokini bobbed up and down next to us.
When it came time for the main event, every skill level was accommodated. Since this was my first time snorkeling, I was nervous that I would hold back the group or waste a bunch of time learning. However, after reiterating the responsible snorkeling rules, our guides sent the experienced snorkelers on their way and then had time to provide individualized support where needed. I only needed help fitting my mask, but Katie also jumped in the water to give a short lesson on snorkeling for others on the raft.
Snorkeling in Maui is almost indescribable. The water is warm and so is the air when you get out of it. (I visited in early September with the water around 80 degrees!) Molokini is teeming with wildlife which really surprised me. I expected the fish to be skittish, but they paid no mind to the snorkelers in the water at all. The simultaneous ability to breathe and see underwater truly gives you a new admiration and respect for ocean life.
The Best Maui Snorkeling Tour
Redline Rafting is unique to other snorkeling experiences in Maui because of the raft itself. At 35 feet, it is large enough to accommodate 24 people comfortably and yet it is small enough to reach snorkeling spots that bigger boats cannot. Snorkeling the back wall of Molokini is something I will never forget, and it’s a place few get to snorkel. With 140 feet of visibility and no other company outside of our raft, our connection to the ocean was special here as we drifted in our own blue world.
Riding on a Redline Raft is also a unique experience. While there is plenty of room on the covered benches, adventure seekers should definitely try the tube seating as well. Riding sidesaddle, grip the ropes as the wind whips your hair, sea sprays your face, and the raft skips over the waves. Hold on because the small boat will catch some serious air.
Snorkeling Molokini Crater FAQs
Nope! As I mentioned, this was my first time snorkeling. Redline provides expert guides who will help you, be that in the water or before you get in. There are also float belts available for swimming support or if you need a break but still want to be in the water.
I brought a waterproof bag, sun shirt, my wallet, iPhone, and a GoPro. I was nervous about bringing my phone but next time I won’t have any hesitations. The watertight locker underneath the benches kept everything dry, even through some big splashes.
Molokini is a protected marine wildlife area so there is absolutely no touching anything. Hawaii is also one of the first states to ban certain sunscreens that can harm coral reefs. Luckily Redline provided some reef safe lotion on board. Redline is also one of the first adventure companies I have come across that has a full Sustainability Policy lined out on their website. It gave me great peace of mind booking with them!
I saw Butterfly Fish, the Moorish Idol, Damsels, Yellow Tangs, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, colorful Parrot Fish and Trigger Fish (including the Humuhumunukunukuapua) to name a few. I would love to return and see the Spinner Dolphins and Humpbacks as well!
For even more footage you can preview the full snorkeling experience on my Maui Instagram highlights! And if you’ve been snorkeling in Maui, I’d love to know your favorite spot in the comments below. I posted mine there too!
For this post, I partnered with Redline Rafting for a discounted experience. However, you can count on me to be a good steward of this opportunity. All thoughts and opinions are completely honest and completely my own.