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“Relaxed and enjoyable outing to Molokini and Turtle Town”

Kai Kanani Sailing Charters
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Kai Kanani Sailing Charters is the only South Maui charter to offer daily departures from Makena/South Maui. From this location, it only takes 15 minutes to sail to Molokini Crater, which means less time on the open water and more time snorkeling. With two snorkel trips daily to both Molokini and Turtle Town, Whale Watching Tours (late December through April) and romantic Sunset Champagne Sail three days a week, Kai Kanani is sure to make your vacation very memorable. Snorkel equipment, instruction, and select food/drinks are included in all snorkel tours. We have marine naturalists on-board, so you can learn more about all of the fascinating underwater life you see! We even have GoPro4 cameras available for rent on-board so you can capture all of the amazing memories you make. Staying in Wailea? Kai Kanani offers free Mercedes shuttle service from select Wailea Resorts.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Level 6 Contributor
84 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 274 helpful votes
“Relaxed and enjoyable outing to Molokini and Turtle Town”
Reviewed October 21, 2012


We were coming from Makawao (an hour away) and so elected for the later 8:30 am loading / 9:00 four hour trip from Makena Beach out to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town (rather than the earlier and shorter 6:30 am two hour version). The information you get for departure could be clearer. Drive to the Makena Beach & Golf resort entrance circle and complimentary valet park for free (included in the trip fee, tip nicely when you return to depart), and they will give you directions on walking through the hotel (nice washrooms and showers enroute) and down and out to the beach. Most of our fellow travellers weren't aware of this, and self-parked some distance way in the self-park area, and had more of a walk.

The trip check-in and usual liabilities signoff are at the small beachside activities office, and then the boat backs into the beach and you load up the back ladders through the surf. It's a fun process, and you are assisted by crew, but you may well get wet up to your waist in the surf, and need to be slow and careful in following instructions so that you don't take a tumble.

It was a short but scenic 15 minutes out to Molokini. We had our own gear, but most others relied on the gear provided on the boat and included in the price, and got fitted enroute. Gear provided looked in very good shape, and lots of sizes to meet everyone's needs.

At Molokini there were lots of other boats around and snorkelers in the water, from groups who had arrived earlier. Some of these other boats were packing up to depart shortly after we arrived. The bottom was fairly regular and smooth relative to other areas where we had snorkeled on our own in Maui, and which had had more lava irregularities and coral, and diversity of sea life. At Molokini there were a reasonable number of fish, relatively habituated to human presence, but we didn't see anything particularly noteworthy. There are a LOT of other snorkellers in the water from our group, as well as others intermingling. The earlier departure from Makena would have avoided that crowding, and perhaps there would have been more aquatic activity underwater at the start of the day. The earlier start just wasn't an option for us, and we recognized the downsides going in. We had already had lots of great snorkeling elsewhere earlier in our trip, and so that wasn't a big issue for us, but if this is to be one of your trip highlights then definitely make the earlier departure.

Breakfast was put out as we wrapped up at Molokini, and we headed over to the "Turtle Town" area which is offshore the main island nearby. Over the course of the hour there we saw a couple of turtles on the bottom and one swimming, in somewhat reduced visibility, and a few surface sightings of turtles swimming. Enjoyable, but also best you don't arrive with over-hyped expectations (as some did) about going to be swimming with turtles all around you.

After Turtle Town, lunch was served, do it yourself buffet, and complimentary beer and Mai Tais. The boat motored around as we reclined and relaxed in the sun, and then returned to the beach around 12:30 to offload. Although there were good breezes blowing, the sails never went up, and my guess is that they rarely do, much easier to motor about.

This was a very relaxed and enjoyable outing for us, and we would recommend it. Boat, facilities, and crew all good. It is a very large group however, and you can get quite spread out in the water. Although there is good oversight from the crew, if I was travellng with young folks and/or folks who were not strong swimmers, I would personally want my posse to agree in advance to stay within reasonable sight and contact with one another in the water.

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Safe travels, and Mahalo!

Visited October 2012
7 Thank Western_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
San Francisco, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great snorkeling tour!”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

I had never been snorkeling and was a little nervous about it. But, this place was great. The staff was nice, the equipment was in good shape, and the tour itself was great. My husband is a more experienced snorkeler/scuba diver than me and he had a great time as well. We saw turtles, tons of fish, and coral. It was awesome!

Visited October 2012
3 Thank Corey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Leisurely Sail and Snorkeling”
Reviewed October 10, 2012 via mobile

We took the early mornin sail to Molikini and turtle town with Kai Kanani. This trip is on a large catamaran that holds up to 80 people, so it is a leisurely sail and no one became sea sick on the ride, as there is not much rocking. The morning trip was not crowded.. maybe 15
people or so when we went. The crew was friendly and knowledgeable and provide information on the fish and the reef while you are in the water. While the morning sail was a bit chilly (bring your own towels and light clothing), you are at Molikini when there are no other boats there, which is pretty nice if you have seen how crowded it gets later in the day! You snorkel the inside of Molikini where there are plenty of little fish (the neat big ones that swim up to you are on the other side of Molikini but that is more choppy and not done on this tour). We also got to see a few turtles at turtle town. FYI, you meet on the beach in front of the Makena beach and golf resort and you use the valet parking at that hotel to park (no charge, just gratuities). If you are looking for something adventurous or small groups, there are other trips/companies on the island (see my other reviews), but for people looking for a calm sail and snorkeling, this is a solid trip!

3 Thank lawblonde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Perfect Trip”
Reviewed October 8, 2012

Beautiful place, wonderful crew - very professional, entertaining and nice to hang out with. The snorkeling at Molokini and back closer to shore for turtle watching was fantastic. Very much a highlight of our trip!

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Marc T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Go early and see the good stuff”
Reviewed October 7, 2012

I highly recommend taking the early boat out for the Molokini snorkel. This is a very professional outfit that does a better-than-usual job of meeting the needs of all snorkeling levels--from first-time and kids to advanced. They took the time to make sleepy, unresponsive people feel welcome and cared for. The guides were fun and attentive. At the crater we were the first boat in and our advanced sub-group got to spot an octopus and various eels, including *swimming* morays. We were happy the crew left us alone and helped others with their gear, including finding the right prescription mask for a near-sighted 10-year-old. The best: a race with dolphins, who were obviously thrilled to play with the boat on the ride to Turtle Town. A great trip that leaves you the whole rest of the day to find more terrific snorkeling spots.

Thank chicken-n-cat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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