Maui beaches were more populated than the Kauai beaches, probably because there are so many more in Kauai. In Kauai, you didn’t need to watch the time of day as much. The best snorkeling/swimming time in Maui is in the morning because around noon, the waves pick up, and you can get bounced around. Since most of the best snorkeling spots are a little swim away from the shore, you can get tired having to move around in the currents. Remember, you don’t want to get pushed into the coral.
We wanted to encounter sea turtles, so I read in my copy of Maui Revealed about snorkeling at area beaches. There was one area that noted turtles. I couldn’t get the kids to come along, but my husband and I got up early, grabbed our gear, and headed out. The parking lot for this location only had eight spots, and it was a little hard to find, but we made it. The parking lot and walkway were public areas within the resort, and the beach was surprisingly empty in the morning. Most of the people there were sunbathers, and therefore came out later. Note: when the sun comes up, the sand is burning hot.
We found a spot on the beach and put on our snorkel gear. The turtles were said to be around the rocky edges of the beach. As we started out, the water seemed murky, and we could barely see any fish. I was afraid my husband was going to complain that we saw fewer fish than during our last snorkeling trip in Kauai, but all of a sudden, I spotted a turtle on the bottom of the ocean. They seemed to be sleeping earlier in the morning, so you need to time your snorkel from mid day to noon in order to see the turtles, but be out before the water gets rough.
At one point, I was tired and wanted to head back. As I turned around, I was startled by a turtle that was swimming right behind me. It was so neat, I could have reached out and touched it. Before we returned to this spot again later, we went out and bought swim noodles to help us float. It’s not a life preserver, but it helps preserve your energy. Shore can be far away sometimes, and the currents can make it hard to get there.
Swimming with sea turtles was definitely a high point on our trip. Another would have to be the fantastic sunsets you can see in Maui. Lihue is the perfect place to see sunsets, because it is located on the western side of the island.