Snorkeling Maui's South Shore in the Summer
We frequently receive snorkeling questions from visitors to our website and are always happy to respond. With summer in full swing, a recent query about snorkeling conditions this time of year offered an excellent opportunity for a new blog post...
Q: How are the snorkeling conditions in South Maui during August? Is snorkeling typically not as good during this time of year? We stayed on the North Shore of Kaua'i last October and the rough surf made swimming and snorkeling almost impossible, I'm trying to avoid a repeat!
A: It's true the seasons in Maui can affect ocean conditions. In the summer, Maui sees most of its swells coming out of the south and southwest from winter storms in the southern hemisphere. This means beaches facing south/southwest can experience stronger wave action which can kick up sand and create less than ideal conditions for snorkeling—think cloudy water. But here's the deal, it doesn't happen all the time. Swells are periodic—they come and they go. . . a swell may hit for a few days, then waters calm back down. Or a swell can be so minor to begin with, it doesn't create enough wave action to impact visibility.
Another factor with south and southwestern swells are Maui's nearby islands. Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Kaho'olawe all help to block these swells or redirect them to certain areas of the island. Some say it's these outer islands that actually make specific areas of Maui's coastline better surf spots than others.
Keep in mind that wherever you plan to snorkel, conditions are always best in the morning. On Maui the winds start blowing by midday. This can create some serious waves which churn things up and limit visibility. The exception is Honolua Bay in West Maui, it can be good almost anytime of day.
We've spent plenty of time snorkeling South Maui during summer months. We wouldn't scratch any area off your list until you check the conditions on that particular day. In fact, we think South Maui offers so many great snorkeling spots, even if you're staying on Maui's west side, it's worth the drive. Head down, look things over, and if it's too rough to snorkel, make a trip out to La Pérouse Bay and enjoy the beautiful beaches and scenery along the way. If the surf's up, both La Pérouse and Ahihi Bay are also great spots for taking pictures and watching some amazing surfers catch the waves.
If you have snorkeling questions, be sure to send us an email from our contact page, we love hearing from fellow snorkeling fans! For more information on the best snorkeling spots in Maui and where to snorkel once you get there, pick up a copy of Mask, Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling. Happy Snorkeling!