Saturday, July 10, 2010

Snorkeling in Maui with Maui Classic Charters

One of my favorite activities in Hawaii is snorkeling!  Although as much as I like it, I've only snorkeled a hand full of times in all my travels.  I find it to be a more affordable activity, no matter where your visiting.  The Caribbean, Hawaii or Mexico all have snorkel trips that range anywhere from $30-$100 per person. 

We decided to do our second Molokini snorkel (the last time was 10yrs ago), which takes you on a 30 minute ride out to the sunken crater for what is known as the most popular snorkeling destinations in Maui. 

If you choose to snorkel Molokini, no matter who you choose to tour with, you must remember that the afternoon tours are very unlikely to make it to Molokini due to the trade-winds that blow in each afternoon.  Some companies are very clear about this fact, while others may place it in teeny tiny writing at the bottom of the brochure.  If your set on going to Molokini you'll have to get up just a little earlier and hit the morning tour. 

Here are the basics of what *most snorkel companies* are offering for the Molokini tours. Pricing will vary due to quality of their vessel, snorkel gear and possibly different foods offered for meals.  I only found one higher priced company that was offering slightly healthier looking food options.  For me, it's a short term investment, so dishing out the extra cash isn't worth it.  The fun of it is getting out on the water and snorkeling.

Morning Tour
Check in time: 7-7:30am
Includes Breakfast & Lunch
4-5hr tour time
Snorkel Molokini & sometimes one additional destination
Cost - $80-$130 per person

Afternoon Tour
Check in time: 12:30-1:00pm
Optional Lunch: Cost: $6-$10 per person
3-4hr tour
Snorkel Molokini if your lucky to have no wind - otherwise you get to visit the Coral Gardens or which ever location the tour company decides to take you.
Cost: $30-$45 per person

*Children, Seniors and sometimes students receive discounts on rates

Snorkeling with Maui Classic Charters

After my struggle to choose a snorkeling charter (as with every travel decision I make) I decided to go with Maui Classics's Four Winds II.  We decided we didn't want to get up early on our "sans kids" vacation and we were ok with missing Molokini if necessary.  Their prices were very competitive with other tour companies and quite frankly their boat looked alot nicer than a few I had seen down in Maalaea harbor. 

We arrived at the dock and were greeted by Nita.  She was extremely nice and I was very surprised when the rest of the crew was just the same.  Our captain was very laid back, and there to show us a good time. We were lucky to be boarding a vessel that could hold 130 passengers with about 40 that day. 

We boarded the Catamaran and sailed off towards the Coral Gardens (those darn trade winds).  The trip there was smooth, but nevertheless there was still one older lady who was heaving over the side of the boat.  During the ride out they got us equipped with the proper snorkel gear and ready to go, so when we arrived at the Coral Gardens it was a quick jump in the water and fishes galore!

My husband and I felt comfortable snorkeling on our own but the staff was great to offer tutorials and individual help to anyone who requested.  They even took time giving extra assistance to the couple of families with smaller children aboard the boat, letting them use these really cool "snorkel boards" that the kids laid on and could just look through a window to see the fish below.  The kids and adults even got brave enough to use the slide off the back of the boat into the water.

We got back on board for our quick lunch.  I can't say it was a buffet of sorts. Basic BBQ burgers, pork or veggie-burger with chips on the side.  Nothing fancy, but we were there to snorkel and I would probably recommend eating a nice meal before your afternoon snorkel trip.

Awesome CAMERA tip!
You can rent Digital underwater cameras! How crazy cool is that? Here I was running to the local grocery store for my cheapo $15 click and wind up camera that probably didn't get the best of pictures.  I have yet to even develop them. I mean, who has time to develop film these days?  The digital cameras on board were $40 to rent and they give you a disk at the end with all the pictures you take underwater and on the boat.

Our trip with Maui Classic Charters was nice and I would recommend them for snorkeling during your trip to Hawaii. They have affordable prices, a nice vessel and a great staff!


*Disclosure: Maui Classic Charters gave me a discounted tour ShareThis

1 comment:

Jen said...

I am going to have to look into renting a digital underwater camera for snorkeling when we go to Oahu. I didn't even think about that...like you I would have the cheapo one that doesn't take great pics. 40 dollars is pretty reasonable too if you get a disc with all your pictures. Thanks for the tip!

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