1 of 22Molokini Crater Snorkel
Just 2.5 miles off the Southern coast of Maui lies the sunken crater of Molokini Island. With crystal clear, tropical waters, Molokini teems with fish painted in every color of the rainbow. Molokini is a national marine preserve and is protected by the state of Hawaii. The rich fishing to be had in itís sheltered bay has caused the island, lying between Maui and Kahoolawe, to be declared a protected marine area. Because of its crescent shape, Molokini provides a natural barrier against the waves and currents and its clear, blue, waters are always calm. Inside the crater it is particularly suitable for beginner to intermediate snorkelers. But the back-side of Molokini (or as they call it... "the back-wall") boasts some of the most advanced diving for scuba divers. Boats sail every morning from Maalaea and Lahaina to Molokini.

This famous crater was formed by an underwater erruption. It is actually the remains of a cinder cone that rose above the surface and erupted thousands of years ago. Hundreds of ancient cinder cones can be found all around Maui, but Molokini is unique, in the fact that it one of the few that rose all the way from the deep ocean floor and erupted above the water. Many of these never break the surface of the water and actually erupt below the surface.

When our islands were young, molten lava flowed beneath the surface of the ocean through porous tubes. These tubes also trapped water within their rocky structure. When the flowing lava heated this water to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius, the water turned to steam and caused an earth moving explosion. Rock and cinder were spewed into the sky and formed a crescent shape as they fell. That familiar crescent we know as Molokini Island.

December 26, 2010