Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Lahaina
Mokule'ia Beach (Slaughterhouse)
Kaanapali, Maui, HI
Mokule'ia is another great dive and snorkel site, but it's a good hike down to the beach. A great place to spend the day with the kids, so bring a cooler with food and water. The name “Slaughterhouse Beach” comes from the Honolua Ranch slaughterhouse and tanning/storage shed that were (oh, so conveniently) located on the cliff’s edge above the ocean. The buildings were torn down in the 60’s, but the lovely name stuck. In contrast, the Hawaiian name Mokule’ia means “district of abundance”, and like most Hawaiian names, is a very accurate description. Mokule’ia Bay is part of the same preserve as its neighbor Honolua Bay: the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. But unlike its rocky neighbor to the north, much of the year this bay has a nice sandy beach to relax on. During the winter months there are often large well-formed waves that are perfect for the more experienced boogie boarders and surfers. But the large surf can often become dangerous, and even the most experienced need to keep a healthy respect for the ocean in mind. In summer months the waves are much more mellow and are often suitable for beginners. When the ocean is tame there is also very good snorkeling around the the north point and into Honolua Bay. Travel North on Highway 31 until about mile mark 32.6. You can't miss the bay off to your left.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Mala Wharf (sometimes called Mala Pier) was once a fully-functioning pier which served as a shipping facility for the island’s pineapple and agriculture. In 1992, however, 30 ft. surf came marching into Lahaina as a result of Hurricane Iniki, and the end of the dock was completely destroyed. Today, the pilings from the old dock lie scattered along the ocean floor, and what was once a shipping facility above water is now a healthy artificial reef which is home to a vast array of marine life.
Airport Beach (Kahekili Beach Park)
Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii
Kahekili Beach Park is the park that includes Airport Beach Maui. It’s sometimes called North Beach because it is the north half of Kaanapali Beach. Airport Beach Maui in Kahekili Beach Park is one of Maui’s best beaches for several reasons. It is adjacent to Kaanapali Beach, the most famous beach in Maui, but it is not nearly as crowded as the main section of Kaanapali Beach, because it does not have any of the major resort hotels found in that nearby area (the Hyatt, Marriott, Westin, and Sheraton). It has a long wide stretch of smooth light sand. The ocean near shore is shallow. The waves are usually not too big for swimming. It’s a great snorkeling spot with plenty of fish to see, including the Hawaii state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Kahekili Beach Park has a large free parking lot. There is a pavilion with benches and picnic tables. Additional picnic tables are on the grassy areas. There are real bathrooms. The boardwalk through the park provides a paved path for walking several miles along the beach. Airport Beach Maui is within a ten minute walk of several large condos, including Maui Kaanapali Villas, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Nanea Ocean Villas, Honua Kai, and Mahana. Why is this called Airport Beach? From 1961 to 1986 there was a small airport here called Kaanapali Airport (HKP). Royal Hawaiian Air Service was the airline that flew small twin-engine Cessna propeller planes here from Oahu. The 2615-foot runway was surrounded by sugar cane. The small A-frame terminal had an upstairs bar called the Windsock Lounge. Who was Kahekili that this park is named after? He lived from 1737 to 1794 and was the last king of Maui from 1766 to 1793, before King Kamehameha came from the Big Island of Hawaii to conquer Maui and unite the Hawaiian islands into the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii
Black Rock was formed from one of the last-gasp lava flows on this side of the island. It is a rocky outcrop at the far North end of Ka’anapali Beach and blocks off access (from the beach) to the lesser-known Ka’anapali Resort beach called Kahekili Beach Park. The Hawai’ian name for Black Rock is Pu’u Keka’a, and ancient Hawaiians believed that this was the place where their spirits went to jump off to join ancestors forever. Unlucky souls who could not be shown the way by their family ‘aumakua (guardian animal spirit), would wander and attach themselves to rocks in the area. This is likely where the “it is bad luck to take a Hawai’ian lava rock” superstition comes from. This is also a popular spot for cliff jumping. If you are cliff jumping, swim to the far side of the rock and climb up from there. It's much more challenging and dangerous to reach the rock by click up it from shore.
St. Anthony Shipwreck
Kihei, Maui, HI
Location to tire reef and boat is approximately a 240 degree heading from bottom of stairs, about a .4 mile swim, 70 feet depth. Dive site is do-able from shore, with scooters or fairly long surface swim, many use kayaks to get there. Keep going South on S Kihei Road, do not veer left to go to Wailea, road dead ends, turn right at end, Park at Keawakapu Beach Parking. There is a beach shower near stairs, no fixed restroom facilities, porta-pottys only. Reef dive is very good here. St. Anthony is a 65-foot shrimp boat was intentionally sunk in October 1997, creating Maui’s most popular wreck dive and home to many Green Sea Turtles. The turtles can be seen on the decks, inside the V-berth and cabins. On occasion you even may encounter a turtle clinging on one of the horizontal or vertical bars while it rests. What a great dive! Along the sandy bottom next to the wreck, old tires and cement blocks are scattered, creating an artificial reef that is fun to explore. In addition to turtles, you may see Moray Eels, Trumpetfish, Batfish, reef sharks, and an abundant supply of curious Milletseed Butterflyfish.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Carthaginian II sits at a max depth of 97 feet on a sandy seabed. There is typically a slight current on the site, but the wreck is appropriate for scuba divers of beginner and intermediate skill levels. The masts have collapsed on deck, and divers can swim through the large, accessible hold. The engine room and forward compartment have been closed off, but scuba divers can still peer in through the bars. Frogfish can be found all over the wreck, so keep a sharp eye out. Trumpet fish, sergeant major, orange spine unicornfish, rainbow cleaner wrasse and other small fish can be seen swimming about the ship. It is also possible to see turtles, sharks and eagle rays on this site.