If you’re looking for a snorkel tour on Maui where you can sit back and blend in with a hundred other people clinging onto neon noodles, you’re on the wrong tour. Redline Rafting, who prides itself on providing a much more intimate approach to the typical tour setting, delivers on their promise, and then some.
At first, when I realized check-in time at the Kihei Boat Ramp was at 6:30am, one of the only tours to leave from this convenient South Maui location, I was like “Sayyy Whaaaaaat?!”. I’m not a morning person. However, as soon as we arrived, Kiki and Sean, our guides and captains for the day, were there to give us a big aloha welcome, a shortie wetsuit to use for the day, and a cup of much needed coffee. Game on.
We were escorted to the giant red raft with the rest of our small group, around 10 people in total, and headed out toward our first stop at Molokini Crater, which we got to in no time at all. Once we arrived, we were treated to views of several of the surrounding islands, including Lana’i, Molokai, and Kahoowale. It turns out there’s a reason Redline leaves so early, and that’s because they get you there before the other, much larger boats arrive, so you can spread out and enjoy Molokini to yourself. Redline served up some warm cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit we were ready to go!
Molokini is one of the best places I’ve ever snorkeled, in my opinion, because of the water clarity, easily 180 feet on the day we were there. We enjoyed the view of several kinds of tropical fish and coral reef before heading around to the back side of the crater, a place where very few have gotten the opportunity to snorkel.
Here we were treated to slightly larger fish, a steep drop off of bright blue, crystal clear water, and an “elevator” ride of waves that picks you up right next to the crater without ever pushing you directly into it. What a rush!
We then headed toward our next stop, La Perouse Bay, through some rough waves that made me wish I’d been born a pirate. Feeling the ocean spray as you crash down on the water is what makes being out on the ocean so refreshing, and definitely something you won’t get on any of the other boats. Once we arrived at La Perouse Bay, Kiki did a wonderful job explaining the history of this part of the island, including how it’s the most recent lava flow in Maui and the chosen spot for lots of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins to rest during the day. They swam right up to the boat, which was a nice surprise for all of us on the tour. If that doesn’t make your day, you might be dead inside.
We then cruised around the bay, stopping to look at the lava formations that created grottos over time, and headed back North toward Turtle Town, where (you guessed it), we got the chance to snorkel with several sea turtles. Kiki led us around, pointing out the hidden turtles and even free diving into caves to snap photos for guests.
Back on the boat, lunch was served, which was a nice spread of sandwiches, fruit and pasta salad. Sean spotted a humpback whale from far off while we were all snorkeling, so once everyone was back on the boat and finished with lunch, he was nice enough to head in that direction in order for us to see it closer up. Sure enough, a huge humpback whale surfaced for air and then dipped back into the ocean, my first whale sighting of the year, and ever. Awesome!
I would highly recommend Redline Rafting for anyone looking for a more adventurous way to spend the day in Maui. The raft was a blast, Sean and Kiki were amazing, and our experience was the absolute perfect way to spend the day in paradise. Visit them online at RedlineRafting.com to see all tour options or call them directly at 808.757.9211 to reserve your spot.
All photos taken by underwater photographer Peter Rimkus of Two Tank Photo.