Butterflyfish are a common but beautiful sight when you're snorkeling in Maui!

Snorkeling in Maui – Tips to See More Fish

Every snorkeler we've met in Maui enjoys seeing fish and they all share the desire to see even more. Here's another tip to better your chances and advance your snorkeling skills.

Keep your Hands at your Sides:  If you want to see more fish while snorkeling in Maui, your best bet is to do all you can to avoid scaring them off. Splashing through an area like an Olympic swimmer just isn’t the way to do it. Fight the natural swimming impulse to pull yourself through the water with your arms, and instead keep your hands at your sides. Just a few gentle kicks of your fins and you'll find yourself slowly propelled through the water. It’s a trick scuba divers learn in training and it works well to keep from chasing-off the creatures you’re out to see. Try it for a while and you’ll soon realize you have all the power you need right at your feet!

For more Maui snorkeling tips, check back often or pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel:  The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Snorkeling with children in Maui offers memories that last a lifetime.

Snorkeling with Kids in Maui

Early one evening in Maui we happened to see a father and his young son snorkeling together in a condo swimming pool. The quality of their interaction captured our attention. The boy's father was not only helping his son become comfortable with his equipment, but teaching him hand signals so they could communicate non-verbally underwater.  Along with the standard “okay” sign, and the shivering “I’m cold” sign, they were creating hand signals to indicate what type of creatures they were hoping to see. The enjoyment and engagement of both father and son was readily apparent. Their pool time was not only a fun and practical way for this father to get his child comfortable with snorkeling, but it created a treasured memory his son will likely have for the rest of his life. Who knows? Maybe we were witnessing the early education of the next Jacques Cousteau. Then again, maybe the next Cousteau resides in your family. By getting kids comfortable in the pool and confident with their gear you can jump-start their interest in snorkeling and increase the likelihood of having a great "first snorkel" when you're ready to hit the reefs in Maui.  

For many more tips on snorkeling with kids in Maui, pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Chang's Beach in South Maui offers gorgeous snorkeling with beautiful coral and lots of sea turtles!

When to Snorkel in Maui

When it comes to snorkeling, bright sunshine and calm water create the best conditions. Fortunately Maui has plenty of both.  However, you'll find the best time of day to snorkel in Maui is usually in the morning. Snorkeling later can still be good, but Maui's trade winds tend to pick up the later it gets. Wind creates waves that can make snorkeling conditions less than ideal. Not only does it make the water choppy for swimming, but the wave action kicks up sand from the sea floor creating cloudy water and low visibility—kind of a bummer for snorkeling when the whole idea is "seeing" underwater features and creatures.

Fortunately the trade winds on Maui are predictable.  Most days start out calm.  By late morning the winds usually begin to pick up, then build into midday, and are blowing hard by afternoon.  So plan most of your snorkeling excursions for morning—we can't think of a better way to start the day! Occasionally there may be times when you get to the beach early and still find choppy waves and high surge. Usually this means Maui's waters are just catching the last remnants of a distant storm. If that's the case, you're better off waiting a day to give waters time to clear as ocean conditions calm.

Bright sunshine also adds to ideal snorkeling conditions. If it's overcast or intermittent clouds keep blocking the sun, you'll notice things look different underwater; the colors of fish and coral are less vibrant than on a cloudless, blue-sky day. That’s not to say you can't still have a good time, but in terms of optimal snorkeling and taking great "fish pics," the difference can be like turning on a bright light in a dark closet.  If you're marathon snorkelers like us, you'll notice that as the sun gets higher, the water clarity and underwater sights just get brighter and better!  At some point though, the wind starts in and conditions begin to change.  So our advice:  Get an early start and enjoy the best of both of both worlds!

Thankfully you'll find Maui offers plenty of sunshine and relatively calm water on most days. In fact of all the islands in Hawaii, you won't find more access to awesome shoreline snorkeling! But if conditions are less than ideal, just be flexible… hop in the car and try a different spot, or if all else fails save your snorkeling for another day and remind yourself—you're in Maui! There's always something to do!  For ideas, check out our Explore Maui posts or great surf spots, we're sure you'll find plenty to enjoy!

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!

Po'olenalena Beach in South Maui offers great snorkeling off both ends of this long and scenic beach!

Where to Snorkel in Maui – How to Find a Great Spot

If you enjoy great snorkeling with plenty of sea life and beautiful coral, it's important to know what to look for when you're scouting a spot.  As a general rule, rocks and coral offer the best opportunity for optimal snorkeling. Together they form the reef providing shelter and food for fish and other sea creatures.  At many of South Maui’s sandy beaches, coral reefs are often found at the ends of the beach where rocky points extend into the ocean.  So if you find yourself at an unfamiliar spot and intend to snorkel, you’re likely to have more luck if you begin snorkeling closer to the rocky ends of the beach instead of starting out from the middle.  You'll also avoid a long, somewhat boring swim!  Typically the underwater landscape in front of a sandy beach is pretty featureless and dull (think sand desert) while nearby rock formations offer coral teeming with life and activity. Of course there are exceptions… the reef at Kahekili in West Maui parallels the sandy beach just a few feet out from the shoreline.

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!

Use Anti-fog gel when you're snorkeling in Maui, you'll see so much more!

Maui Snorkeling Tips – Use Anti-Fog Gel!

Every snorkeler we've ever met enjoys seeing fish and they all share the desire to see more. To better your chances, here's an invaluable Maui Snorkel Blog Tip:  Get yourself a bottle of anti-fog gel. It'll extend your time in the water and you'll see everything better—guaranteed.

Whenever we advise snorkelers about equipment, anti-fog gel is a serious "must have" on our list. It's a fantastic product and makes any snorkel outing better. A thin coat applied to the inside of your lenses will keep them fog free and allow you to see clearly underwater for a much longer period of time. A few people may disagree or suggest "spit works just as well," but we beg to differ.  We've spent countless hours exploring Maui's underwater world and a bottle of anti-fog gel has been our constant companion. As penny-pinchers we know where to cut costs, and this isn’t one of them. A small dab on each lens is all you need, so that little bottle of gel can provide several years worth of snorkeling.

If you need further convincing, here's a fact:  the temperature difference between the warm air inside your snorkel mask and the cool water outside create ideal conditions for fog. A little anti-fog gel combats this natural tendency and will keep your mask clear for at least an hour, maybe two.

Our personal preference is Sea Gold Anti-Fog Gel. If you're in Maui you can find it at your nearest Maui Dive Shop. We encourage you to stop by and pick up a bottle—you'll find it's worth every penny. They also carry our book, Mask, Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling. So if you don't have a copy, you can pick one up while you're in Maui!

Oval Butterflyfish - Maui Snorkel Blog

Underwater Photography Tips

These days posting pictures to social media is more popular than ever—even from underwater! Taking pictures while you're snorkeling in Maui can be a lot of fun and  with a little research, you'll find numerous options for underwater cameras and/or waterproof cases. But once you start taking underwater pictures, you'll soon discover that getting something better than a blurry snapshot can be bit of a chal­lenge. Here are a few tips to increase your chances the next time you're ready to snorkel in Maui.

Before you hit the water, get to know your camera. Take a lot of shots and pay attention to how your camera responds. The single biggest problem with underwater photography and point-and-shoot cameras is the lag-time between the moment you press the shutter and the time it takes for the camera to take the picture and record it. It may surprise you, but it’s not instan­taneous, and some cameras are worse than others. When you're shooting underwater, the result can be a lot of missed shots and blurry images.

This "shutter-lag" issue really becomes apparent when a cool fish zips by and you scramble to get the shot. You press the shutter release and seconds later the only thing in the preview is a fish tail—bummer! To minimize this issue, try to anticipate the movement of your subject. If the current is pushing you or a fish is swimming in a certain direction, consider where your subject will be by the time your camera actually snaps the picture. Then frame your shot accord­ingly.

For more underwater photography tips and Maui snorkeling advice, check back often and pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Happy Halloween from Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Maui Snorkeling Tips - Choosing a Mask

Whether you're snorkeling in Maui or getting decked out for Halloween, choosing the right mask can make all the difference! A leaky, uncomfortable snorkel mask can really take the focus off of enjoying the sights—not what you want if snorkeling isn't something you get to do everyday. Thankfully, finding a good fit isn't difficult. Hold the mask up to your face and take note—does the plastic feel hard, stiff, or uncomfortable? If so, put it back and look for another. Masks with silicon skirts (the part next to your face) are usually your best bet. Silicon forms to the contours of your face and feels softer against your skin than older materials. When you’ve found a mask that feels reasonably comfortable, inhale through your nose to create suction. A seal should develop between your face and the mask. If you hold your breath and bend forward—like taking a bow—the mask should stay put. If it does, you’ve got a good fit and a mask that shouldn’t leak.

Tip: Clearing your Mask

If you find a mask with a good fit, the occasions of getting water inside will be limited. But from time to time it happens. Fortunately, clearing water from your mask is easy. You don’t need to remove your mask or even take a break from snorkeling. Here’s what to do:  while keeping your mask underwater, tilt your head back and gently apply pressure to the upper portion of your mask. Exhale through your nose. This will cause the water to drain out the bottom of your mask. It’s a simple trick that works great with a little practice. 

Neoprene Strap CoverYou'll notice "our model to the left" ;) is sporting a strap cover. If you plan on snorkeling a lot and are buying your own gear, you might want to pick up a neoprene strap cover for your mask. A strap cover just makes wearing a mask more comfortable and much easier to "slip on" or "slide off" over your head. It's definitely nicer than wrestling a rubber strap through wet hair—particularly if you have long hair. Strap covers are easy to attach, they slide right over your mask's strap and are secured with Velcro. While they're not a "must have," strap covers are icing on the cake for avid snorkelers.

Happy Halloween snorkel fans!  If you're in Maui over Halloween, be sure to check out the festivities in Lahaina. Get there early if you can, it's quite the celebration and traffic can be a "fright!" For more snorkeling tips or questions about Maui, contact us here or through social media. You can find Maui's Best Snorkeling on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.  We'd love to hear from you!

Snorkeling by kayak is a fantastic way to see the beautfiul reef at Olowalu, Maui.

Maui Snorkeling Tips – Fins

Every snorkeler we've ever met enjoys seeing fish and they all share the desire to see even more.  Here's another tip to better your chances and advance your snorkeling skills...

Quiet your Fins:  Whenever you're snorkeling, pay attention to the noise you're making as you snorkel. If your fins are slapping or chopping through the water, you'll want to take a few minutes to work on your technique. Fins actually work best by using the full length of your legs to kick. It's your hips and thighs that should be doing most of the work, not your knees. Concentrate on letting the power of your kick come from the big muscles in your thighs and rear instead of your knees. Just a few tweaks in your style will propel you more quietly and efficiently through the water, with fewer fish dashing away from the "creature" splashing noisily toward them and a bonus—less calf cramps!

For more Maui snorkeling tips, check back often and pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling.  Our guidebook will direct you to Maui's best snorkeling spots and show you where to snorkel once you get there—we'll have you planning your adventures and ready to snorkel before your plane lands in Maui!

Be on the look out for tiny creatures like this Whitemouth Moray Eel - Maui.

Maui Snorkeling Tips

We've said it before and we'll say it again:  Every snorkeler we've ever met loves seeing marine life, and all share the desire to discover even more.  Here's our next tip to better your chances and advance your snorkeling skills...

Think Small:  When snorkeling in Maui, it's easy to be enthralled by a huge fish like a Blue Trevally, but if you look closely for some of the smaller creatures on the reef, you'll find equally engaging traits. The intricate details and color on something so small can be mesmerizing to watch. Juvenile fish and other creatures can be found all along the coral reefs you just need to look for them. Some of the best spots are along the rocky edge of shore or between the ridges and grooves of coral. Slowly scan these areas and you may find all kinds of miniature creatures going about their day just inches in front of your snorkel mask. Take time to stop and observe the smallest of creatures and we're sure you'll add a whole new dimension to your snorkeling experiences in Maui.

For more Maui snorkeling tips, check back frequently or pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Snorkel slowly, camouflaged octopus are easy to miss in the waters off Maui.

Maui Snorkeling Tips to See More Creatures

Every snorkeler we've met enjoys seeing fish and they all share the desire to see even more.  Our next two blog posts will focus on a few tips to better your chances and advance your snorkeling skills.

Take it Slow:  A popular Maui bumper sticker reads:  Slow Down—This ain't the Mainland. It's a sentiment that's equally applicable while snorkeling. When you enter the water and slip on your mask, think "island time" and slow your pace as you snorkel over the reefs. Many of the most interesting sea creatures are experts at camouflage. When you take your time, you'll pick up details that are easy to miss and you'll see more sea life than ever before. Many times we've seen snorkelers cruise right past an octopus. If they hadn't been in such a rush, they would have seen it.  Whenever you're snorkeling in Maui, take it slow, you'll be glad you did!

For more Maui snorkeling tips, keep an eye on our snorkel blog or pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Ulua Beach in South Maui offers beautiful snorkeling and a highly accessible reef.

Snorkeling in Maui – What Makes it Unique

Maui is officially known as the Valley Isle, but many call it the Ocean Island. Maui is blessed with more spots to easily access its waters than any of its sister islands. This is great news if you love snorkeling and are planning a trip to Maui. From Maluaka Beach in the south to Kapalua Bay in the north there are a countless number of beautiful snorkeling beaches in Maui.

However, snorkeling in Maui is a little different than many other places and knowing about these differences can make your snorkeling adventures even better. The two most important differences to be aware of are Shoreline Access and Wind.

Shoreline Access: Nearly every snorkel spot in Maui can be accessed from shore. This means if you know where to go and how to get there, you have very few limits. You don't have to take a boat, you don't have to pay anyone, and you don't have to be on someone else's schedule. You have the freedom to go where you want, when you want, and for as long as you want. All you really need is a great snorkeling guidebook—we recommend ours! :) We've snorkeled all the spots and give candid advice on which ones are good and which ones are great.

Wind: Maui can be windy—at times very windy. The wind creates waves and can stir up sand that makes snorkeling conditions pretty lousy. Fortunately the winds on Maui are predictable. They pick up in the late morning, build into midday, and can really blow by the afternoon. This means your best bet for snorkeling on Maui is in the morning or earlier in the day. You'll find nicer water, safer conditions, and a more enjoyable snorkeling experience.

For more tips and great snorkeling beaches in Maui, check back often and pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!

Id Rather Be Snorkeling T-Shirt - Promotional Offer from Maui's Best Snorkeling

Happy Cyber Monday – Maui's Best Snorkeling Style

To show our appreciation for all our great customers, we're offering an Unbeatable Deal. And when we say "Unbeatable," it's not the typical Black Friday / Cyber Monday hype that everyone's come to expect. We mean it. After all, it's pretty hard to beat "Free."

So to pass along some Aloha Spirit, we're offering 10 of our "I'd Rather Be Snorkeling" T-shirts absolutely free—yes, we'll even pay for the shipping! If we could figure out how to package it, we'd toss in some Maui sun, sand, and warm ocean water, but for now you'll just have to visit.

What are the details?  What's the catch?

No catch. The details are this:  Just Follow or Like Us on Twitter and/ or Facebook. Then send us an email from our website's Contact Page saying, "I'd Rather Be Snorkeling"  any time from now, Nov. 28 until midnight, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

Final note:  Currently our T-shirts are available in Large or X-Large, so if you have a preference, let us know. But act fast... because in true Black Friday / Cyber Monday tradition, supplies are limited... we'll let you know if you're one of the first ten to respond.  Happy Aloha Friday!

PS... Sorry, we can only ship to US addresses–international shipping rates are crazy!

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Snorkeling Guide Book for Maui - Front Cover of Mask, Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling

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