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Snorkelling in Honolua Bay

Listed under Snorkelling in Hawaii, United States.

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Maui is a well-known destination, popular for its many golden beaches, humpback whales every winter, and toney destination resorts such as Ka‘anipali and Wailea. For those who focus on underwater life, however, there is a less well known world-class snorkeling spot in West Maui that should not be missed: Honolua Bay in lush West Maui.

Located just ten minutes north of tree-lined Kapalua Bay (ranked more than once the most beautiful bay in the USA or the world), Honolua Bay is best known as a major winter surfing break. But the rest of the year, it provides an opportunity to swim in protected waters with exceptionally large specimens of a wide range of colorful Hawai’ian fish: bluespine unicornfish, pearl wrasse, bluestripe butterflyfish, dense schools of aholehole, zebra moray eels, great barracuda (to four feet long), bluefin trevally and much more. As this is a Marine Life Conservation District, these fish need not fear snorkelers, and most will let you get very close for deliciously detailed views of their colorful markings. On our last visit, we encountered a dense ball of more than 1000 six inch aholehole (Hawai‘ian flagtails) so thick you could not see through it. To swim into such a ball, and have the school surround you, and then flow off like a silver river, is sublime, and seldom experienced these days. Come for the beautiful fish, truly the flowers of the sea, and enjoy the scenic beauty of West Maui along the way.

Written by  Mel & Judy Malinowski.

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