Maui is home to a wide variety of marine life. One of the most fascinating creatures that call this island their home is the Hawaiian green sea turtle, also known as Honu. Honu have been an integral part of Hawaiian culture for centuries, and they continue to be an important part of the ecosystem in Maui. Read on to know more about these turtles of Maui!
The Turtles of Maui
Hawaiian green sea turtles are easy to recognize, thanks to their unique appearance. They can grow up to three feet long and weigh as much as 350 pounds! Their shells, which are a mix of brown and green, are covered in algae and other marine organisms. This camouflages them when they are resting on the rocks or sand, making them almost invisible to predators. The hawksbill turtle – named after its unique beak-like mouth that resembles a hawk's bill – is a rarer sight. Unlike the green sea turtle, which can be seen basking on the sand, hawksbill turtles are more elusive and tend to hide in crevices or caves during the day.
Does “Turtle Town” exist in Maui?
There is a bit of misinformation out there when it comes to snorkeling with the turtles of Maui. We get quite a few phone calls asking if we go to “turtle town”, and the answer is yes and no. First of all, there is no one “turtle town”. Wouldn’t it be odd if all the turtles lived in one little spot, with the entire coastline of Maui at their flipper tips? One thing that there will definitely be lots of at this so called "turtle town" is people. If you really want to experience the magic of these amazing creature you will want to avoid the crowds. They are so graceful underwater. Watching them swim through the crystal blue water is truly something to behold.
Is There More Than One?
In reality there are many areas where the turtles of Maui tend to hang in out in larger numbers and unending cleaning stations for the turtles too. We avoid the crowds (of people) and have found some really great spots to snorkel with turtles. Mala wharf on Maui’s West side is one such spot. There once was a giant concrete pier just West of Lahaina. Hurricane Iniki destroyed the pier and it still lies below the surface as a man-made reef teeming with life. This spot is one of our favorite turtle spots and we are usually the only group there. You get to see more natural turtle behavior when you visit them away from the crowds. Less stress on the turtles means a better experience for all because we all love the turtles of Maui.
For The Love of Turtles
One final word on snorkeling with turtles, it is the most important thing about the whole experience. It is never ok in any way to ever touch a sea turtle. We think it better for the turtles when hundreds of people don't crowd around all at once. So, let’s get out there and make some memories and snap some photos! If you love the turtles of Maui and want to take a tour, stop by HERE to save 10% on your next snorkeling trip!