A juvenile Green Sea Turtle rests among the coral, Makena, Maui.

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Maui

When it comes to snorkeling in Maui, high on the wish list of creatures to spot are turtles. In Maui, you'll often hear turtles called "Honu" (Ho Noo), the Hawaiian name for turtles. While these days we can fly to Hawaii in a few hours, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are genetically distinct from other sea turtles because of Hawaii's remote location in the Pacific. By the early 1970s their numbers were in sharp decline, but protective laws enacted in 1978 have helped the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles to make quite a comeback. They are now frequently spotted throughout the near shore waters of Maui and other Hawaiian Islands as they forage for algae and seaweed around coral. Weighing-in at 200-500 pounds, sea turtles are likely the largest creature you'll spot while snorkeling in Maui, and seeing these gentle giants is a real treat!

Tips for seeing turtles while snorkeling in Maui: When not foraging for food, sea turtles like to rest on the ocean floor tucked just underneath the ledges of coral. Float or snorkel slowly along these areas and you're likely to spot them. If you're lucky, you may see several turtles at once. For the best chance to observe turtles interacting naturally in their environment, avoid crowding them. If they happen to swim near you, give them plenty of space and they'll be much more likely to hang around for awhile. Important to note, federal and state laws make it illegal to touch or harass sea turtles.

For more tips on snorkeling and seeing turtles, bookmark our blog and pick up a copy of our book, Mask, Fins & Snorkel:  The Adventure Guide to Maui’s Best Snorkeling. Happy Snorkeling. Happy Snorkeling!!!

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