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Extremely tame snorkel spots?

yfunk3
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Extremely tame snorkel spots?

I know there are plenty "snorkeling on your own" threads on this forum, but they mainly consist of COUPLES or a pair of people wanting to snorkel without a tour company, etc.

I will be traveling solo to Maui in a week, and I just wanted to get some advice on places where I can basically just wade in, stick my head in the water, and see...something. Fish, turtles, anything. LOL Maybe areas surrounded by rocks, bays, etc? I mean, I'll be sure to get a snorkel belt just in case, but I'm not that great a swimmer and just want to enjoy myself, maybe take a few pictures of what's under the water, that type of thing. Nothing too extreme for a complete beginner.

I know not to go out into deeper water by myself, especially since I've never snorkeled before. If I enjoy an experience like the type above, then I might pony up the money to go on a snorkel tour to Molokini or something one of my days there.

Thanks in advance for any advice or tips!

dallas, texas
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1. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

I ordered a book from Amazon called Snorkel Maui (tip from TA poster)...and it looks really great!

Me and my family have snorkeled in Cozumel and Bahamas, and love it. Don't be afraid to book a snorkel boat trip for a newbie -- they will have people on board (or they should - ask when you call to book) that will be able to give you good instruction and oversee your snorkeling (so it would be safer than going alone to a beach). I would also advise you to only go to beaches with lifeguards. Don't risk it no matter how calm the water may seem.

Hope your trip is wonderful!

Chicagoland
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2. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

Ask where you rent your snorkel gear. They'll know what's good, when.

You might consider an inexpensive morning with Ann Fielding or her crew: An Introduction to Snorkeling. Even experienced snorkelers have liked knowing more about what they're looking at under the sea. (Google her name for info.)

Birmingham, Alabama
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3. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

I am not really sure what to suggest as it makes me nervous for people who say they are "not great swimmers" to venture out in deeper water. The ocean is unpredictable, for sure, and many of the good snorkel areas, while not deep, are a bit further from the shore.

I'd look for areas that have snorkeling fairly close to shore and are well popluated. Black Rock in Kaanapali is always croweded -- that might be a good first option.

Check out tropicalsnorkeling.com/maui-snorkeling-hawai… for info on various spots.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

I understand some of your frustrations - my first trips to Hawaii were as a single parent, so I was essentially snorkeling solo or with a kid. But I did pick very calm beaches where there were plenty of people around, so at least someone was near me when I was snorkeling. OR go to beaches were there is a life guard as well. The ocean is unpredicable and most people will tell you not to go solo, but I have done it very cautiously within those boundaries I shared above.

If I was a novice snorkeler and traveling entirely solo, I would do as the one poster recommended - find that expert snorkeler and do a tour - you would learn so much and see so much that it would be well worth it. Or pick a small tour group, where some one would be with you to take the time to teach you how to snorkel (very easy) and help make it an enjoyable experience. I love to snorkel - I hope you have a great trip! :)

Boston, MA
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5. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

On the west maui side, I'd recommend Kapalua Bay. The water is generally calm and there is interesting fish and coral pretty close to shore. It's also an easy entry, that starts off sandy.

As always, use caution. If the waves are big, don't go. If the visibility is bad, don't go. Don't swim out further than you can swim back and always assume the current will be against you when you estimate how far you can swim back.

Oh yeah, also remember to have fun. :)

yfunk3
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6. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

Thanks, everyone. Don't worry, I won't go out too far. I'm sort of a wimp in the water, so I tend not to go out deep enough where I can't stand up, really. I was just hoping maybe there were lagoons or something where there would be interesting things to see if I stuck my head into the water with a mask on, something like that.

I've e-mailed Ann Fielding and asked if there was a group I could join on her only day free while I am on Maui, and am waiting for her reply. I might just ask the locals and see what they suggest if it turns out I can't go with Ann Fielding.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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7. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

yfunk3, I'm so glad you contacted Ann Fielding. Hope it works out as she is a super person and a great way to learn to snorkel!! My advice to you if you can't go out with her is to take a snorkel boat. Most of the companies are used to having "newbies" on board. You will learn everything you need to know and they will keep an eye on you.

Even if you are only in ankle deep water, you can still have a multitude of problems if you don't know what you are doing. The water doesn't need to be deep to drown!!

The places that have lifeguards aren't generally the best places to snorkel. You will get a good feel for it though if you go to one of the three Kamaole Beaches in Kihei. Each of these beaches have lifeguards.

Kapalua Bay is a great place for beginners,almost like the lagoon you are looking for but not a place to be without a buddy. There are no lifeguards there.

I would never suggest snorkeling at Black Rock for a beginner without a buddy and again, there are no lifeguards there either!!

Paris, France
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8. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

Hi yfunk3!

You are going to LOVE snorkeling. It is a whole different beautiful world down there. If I can just add a few things to the advice you've received above...

1) I, too, recommend Kapalua Bay if the water is calm. Early morning is generally quieter water than later in the day, but watch the wave action before you get in. At Kapalua, there is a sandy beach area off to the left. I have stuck my head under here in just a few feet of water and seen lots of fish. Not as much as you will see farther out over the reef, but you will see some marine life very close to shore.

2) The only problem with the advice, "Don't go in without a lifeguard present," is that on Maui, you will only tend to find lifeguards at a few of the more dangerous beaches.

3) I would also second Black Rock due to the number of people in the water. As long as you don't go out too far, staying where you are comfortable, there is some truth to the "safety in numbers" rule.

4) I also would second the suggestion of a snorkel cruise. You will have instruction and someone to watch over you while you are in the water. Also, these people know the water. The wave action/roughness of the water changes frequently on Maui, and the boat captains will do their best to find you calm safe water for that particular day. Book an early morning trip, as these are almost always calmer than the later, cheaper, afternoon trips.

5) Lastly, if you are not a big fan of the water, test out your snorkel gear in your resort/condo's pool first. You'll feel much more comfortable getting used to things like snorkel breathing if some of your apprehension is removed first. Then, in the water, I recommend a noodle or boogie board to hold onto in addition to your float belt. DONT use these aids to go out farther than you normally would, but rather, use them to make yourself feel a little more secure.

Have an awesome trip!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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9. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

The statement, "you only tend find lifeguards at a few of the most dangerous beaches" isn't true. The only places you find lifeguards are at either Maui County Park Beaches or State Park Beaches. Has nothing to do with the danger or lack there of.

I would only go to Kapalua Bay if I had a buddy. This is the only place on Maui I have ever run into a rogue wave!! It wasn't a pretty sight to those on the beach who were unaware of what was in the way. This can happen at any beach at any time. Snorkeling at any beach without a buddy or lifeguard is just asking for trouble!!

Napa, California
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10. Re: Extremely tame snorkel spots?

I know that the Pacific Whale Foundation used to offer a free guided snorkel tour from Ulua beach (in Wailea) on thursday AMs. You should call them and see if it still happens. My DH went and it was very nice.

We are big PWF fans (folks here on the forums either love 'em or hate 'em - we love 'em!).