With tired eyes I ventured out in the early morning darkness. I was
told the 6 a.m. call time is essential for a good day of
snorkeling. By the time I arrived at Maalaea Harbor a soft pink
sunrise was making its way over the horizon.
My Maui itinerary for the day would include an afternoon of
snorkeling aboard the Trilogy Excursion. Shoes flew as I boarded
the bare-foot-only ship, and my first priority was breakfast. Soon
I was in the ship’s hull and helping myself to fresh, warm cinnamon
rolls and coffee. The Trilogy provides a convenient complimentary
breakfast; this was my saving grace having found most restaurants
were still closed in the early morning hours. Happy with my meal in
hand, I took a seat on the deck of the 54-foot catamaran and
enjoyed the activity taking place in the busy harbor.
Crew introductions were made once guests had gathered on deck.
The ship was staffed with a comical and safety conscious
four-person crew: Capt. Freddy, Dave, the dive instructor, and
marine naturalists Luke and Pat.
As the ship motored out of the docks, the guests ready to scuba
were summoned for instruction. For an additional cost, clients can
chose to upgrade their snorkel to a scuba tank. Introductory and
certified dives are available; participants must be at least 12
years of age and in good health. Introductory dives consist of 20-
to 30-minute dives with depths ranging from 20 to 40 feet, while
certified dives last about 30 minutes and have a wide range of
As I prepared to snorkel, I gradually acquired my sea legs as
the catamaran slid out into the open water. I held tight to the
railings as I moved about the ship to ensure no spontaneous
introductions were made by way of falling into another guest’s lap.
Soon the engine turned off and the crew sprung into action.
As the white sails ascended the mass and the wind took the lead,
we were off to our first stop the Molokini crater. Molokini sits 2½
miles off of Maui’s southern coast. The inactive volcano is now a
highly protected State Marine Life and Bird conservation. The small
crescent shaped island provides protection from powerful waves and
strong currents, making its inner reefs an excellent place to
snorkel and dive. Our ship weighed anchor, and we began to adorn
ourselves with flotation devises or bright yellow non-inflated
safety jackets for identification purposes. (The crew joked that
losing a customer is always bad for business.)
Once in the water my body and equipment became unencumbered. The
calm waves let me easily navigate over an underwater hillside of
coral that plays buffet for a dazzling array of brightly colored
fish. I was most taken with the strange looking unicorn fish whose
brow extends into a cone and the leopard blowfish whose name
denotes its amazing spotted body.
After an hour of snorkeling Molokini crater we were back on the
ship and off to our next destination, Kaanapali (also called Makena
Beach) to swim with Hawaiian Green Turtles. Also unique to this
beach are the two large lava tubes visible just off shore, which
help create an underwater metropolis. These coral reefs stretch
from the sandy beach far out into sea. Skimming along the top of
the water I have the strange sensation of flying as I slowly float
over the peaks and valleys of the ocean floor.
Being on one of the first ships to this area was important. As I
snorkeled I caught sight of a dozen turtles, but as the afternoon
lingered on I noticed turtle sightings became more infrequent until
suddenly I saw one dart to the ocean floor and cover himself with
sand. When I poked my head out of the water, I noticed the number
of ships in the bay had tripled and more were quickly approaching.
Taking my cue from the turtle, I decided to retire my fins and go
A morning of snorkeling created quite the appetite. Capt. Freddy
insists that buffets are passe, so guests make themselves
comfortable as the crew serves an amazing barbequed chicken lunch.
As we devoured our meal the captain entertained his guests with a
brief lecture and stories of Hawaiian history and geography. No one
aboard the ship was left hungry: The abundance of food made for
ample seconds or thirds even dessert.
After lunch at about 1 p.m., we bid the turtles goodbye and set
sail back to Maui, but the excitement wasn’t over. On the way back
to port the crew spotted a humpback whale spouting and slapping the
water with its magnificent tale. It was a wonderful way to end a
great day of ocean exploring.