Within easy access of our Maui resort are some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and during the summer months, the semi-enclosed Honolua Bay is one of the best places to see them. It sits on our island’s northwest shore, less than a half-hour’s drive from Lahaina. Many people like to snorkel there when the currents are calm and the crowds are light. It is also a popular spot among photographers, surfers, boaters and sightseers.
Basalt cliffs and rocky outcroppings rim the beautiful, 500,000-square foot bay’s north and south shores. That’s where you’ll find reef flats and a crest that leads to a 13-meter deep, central channel. If you head towards the middle of the bay you’ll find another large, sandy channel. It is partially outlined with additional coral beds that sit at a depth of 40-feet deep. There are a few underwater caves in the area too. They tend to be on the south side, where the coral formations are not as abundant.
The best way to reach them is to swim out from the northern or southern shores, which are very rocky on the surface. They are also reachable from the sandy sections of beach by swimming out to the center of the bay and then turning north or south. However, visibility can be low in spots due to the high amount of dark-colored sand that one has to swim over en route to the reefs. Plus, there is a small stream that feeds into the area and it’s known to lower visibility too. Consequently, many snorkelers like to avoid the channels for fear of stirring up the sediments even more.
If you are not a particularly strong swimmer, try exploring the bay a little at a time. Otherwise, you might tire out trying to swim from one reef fringe to the other. There are undeveloped spots nearby where you can find a sliver of land to picnic on but you’ll need to bring your own refreshments and potable water. If that’s not what you want, it’s always possible to jump into a rental car and drive about 10-miles until you reach one of Lahaina’s many restaurants. To learn more about snorkeling in Honolua Bay and making arrangements to stay in our Maui resort this summer, please contact us today.