molokini craterSometimes you just need to get away! Recently I jumped on board the Leilani for a day out in the sunshine on the sparkling blue Pacific waters. The 5 hour trip took us to Molokini and Turtle Town, complete with a continental breakfast and BBQ lunch.

Leilani Snorkel BoatNot long after sunrise our boat departed Maalaea Harbor. As the sun began to warm up the day, from our vantage point out on the water, we looked back and admired the orange colors lighting up the crevasses of the West Maui Mountains. With a morning coffee and yummy croissant, we headed out to Molokini in the distance. As we approached the island, “Beast of Burden” by the Stones comes on and starts to rev up everybody’s engines.

The perk of Leilani is that she is a smaller vessel, so we were able to get a more intimate experience and hands on attention. Our boat that day was manned by three fun and lighthearted Mauians. Captain CJ has been sailing the ocean for over 10 years and handled the craft with ease. The rest of the crew made sure to greet each passenger and fit them with the proper gear and offer snorkeling tips.

We reached Molokini, got geared up, and plunged in to swim with the fishies. I spotted a parrotfish which shows vibrant blues, purples and greens. There was also a bloated sea cucumber hanging out at the bottom, the largest I’ve ever seen. My dad and brother had an 8ft long eel sleek past, trying to escape the snorkelers.

After climbing back onto the boat to warm up in the sunshine, I was stoked to smell burgers sizzling on the grill! The fresh water shower was also a very nice perk. We filled our plates full of mixed veggies, burgers or grilled chicken, macaroni salad, Maui pineapple, and then set sail in the direction of Turtle Town.

Captain CJ said that the calm waters and crystal clear visibility were absolutely ideal conditions that day. Turtle Town, our second snorkel spot, lived up to its name. Back on the boat, I snapped this great picture of a friendly Honu (turtle). When Jimmy Buffet came on the speakers, I decided to top off my trip with a cold Maui Brew Company Longboard Lager and a fresh Macadamia nut cookie.

Even though we booked the 5 hour tour, it was still over way too fast!

By Jen Kane

Maui snorkel photos