Question of the day: Do you need to know how to swim to snorkel?

Snorkeling is one of Maui’s top activities to do! Maui’s underwater world is teeming with life. You can see tropical fish, green sea turtles, coral reefs and so much more when you snorkel in Maui!

But what if you don’t know how to swim? Do you need to know how to swim to snorkel in Maui?

The quick answer is no, you don’t have to know how to swim to snorkel in Maui!

Although knowing how to swim will make snorkeling easier, it does not mean you need to know how to swim to be able to snorkel in Maui. Snorkeling is a popular activity because anyone can get a glimpse of the underwater world with almost no experience or expensive equipment!

The concept of snorkeling was first documented in 350 B.C when Aristotle used an elephant reed to breathe underwater but It is also said that sponge farmers in ancient Greece used snorkel style methods as far back as 3000 B.C.! Modern swim fins were first patented in 1933 by French inventor Frenchman Louis de Corlieu, modeled after an earlier design created by Benjamin Franklin, who loved spending time in the ocean. The term “snorkel” was coined in 1945 and is derived from the German word “Schnorchel” meaning submarine, related to the German term for snore! Although snorkeling has come a long way, the same tips for snorkeling apply!

5 Tips for Snorkeling in Maui if you don’t know how to swim!

Make sure your snorkeling equipment fits properly!

It is important your snorkel gear fits correctly! Fitting your snorkel gear will ensure your mask is not leaking water and your fins stay on securely. When you go on a snorkeling trip with Hawaii Ocean Rafting, we size your mask and fins to fit comfortably and safely so you can enjoy your snorkeling trip! 

When fitting your mask, you want it to suction to your face when you breathe in prior to placing the strap on the back of your head. Avoid a mask that puts pressure on your nose or forehead, which leads to discomfort the longer you are in the water! If you have facial hair, you may want to shave for a better mask fit

You want your fins to also fit snugly, not too tight where they are pinching, but know that once you get in the water, they will loosen so make sure they are a good fit when trying them on prior to snorkeling. There are many styles of fins to select from, for snorkeling a medium length with a comfortable foot pocket is perfect for a casual swim! You can check our local Maui dive shops that sell snorkel gear in Lahaina like Snorkel Bobs and Boss Frogs.

Practice with your snorkel equipment!

If you purchase snorkel gear, put it on and practice breathing through the snorkel tube. You will be breathing through your mouth only, which works best when you relax and don’t overthink it! You can do this on land or in a pool or bathtub! Fins are not to be worn on land. If you want to practice with fins, walk into the pool or ocean prior to putting your fins on. Put your mask and snorkel on first, then sit in the water and place your fins on your feet. This will ensure you do not trip walking to the ocean (and also keep you from looking like it's your first time snorkeling! Lol )

Use Flotation Devices!

Our snorkel tours provide flotation devices for all snorkelers including float belts and pool noodles. We do not recommend wearing a life jacket for snorkeling as it is made to float your head above water. When you are snorkeling you want to float your body but allow your face to be in the water so you can see underwater while breathing through your snorkel tube! Float belts are perfect for this as they fasten to the snorkeler's waist and then float your mid section. Pool noodles can also be placed under your arms and waist for even more buoyancy and comfort. We also provide 2mm short sleeve wetsuit tops to rent which not only provide warmth and sun protection but also add more flotation while snorkeling.

Get Snorkel Instruction!

Our best recommendation for learning to snorkel if you don’t swim is to have snorkel instruction! Our Maui snorkel tours provide snorkel instruction for all levels of snorkelers, beginner and experienced! We will show you how to fit your snorkel gear properly, how to breathe through the snorkel, use floatation devices and how to safely enter and exit the water. We have a marine naturalist snorkel guide that snorkels in the water with you for the duration of the snorkel tour as well. It is also our goal to take you to the best places to snorkel in Maui where you can snorkel with turtles, tropical fish and see lots of marine life!

Always Snorkel with a Buddy!

Snorkeling with a friend is a safe snorkel practice whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler. Equipment can malfunction, weather and ocean conditions can change or you may feel ill, having someone snorkeling with you ensures they have your back in case of an emergency or you need assistance!

When in doubt don’t go out!

How do you know if the location you are snorkeling is safe to go to? We suggest checking local snorkel reports either online or calling snorkel shops nearby. Lifeguards are often stations near beach locations where you may snorkel. Ask the lifeguards and also look for signs that say warnings like “High Surf”, or “Shark Sightings”. If it has rained recently and the water is murky, avoid snorkeling. Not only is there increased bacteria and low visibility, predatory fish may be in these waters hunting for other fish and it is not safe to snorkel until the water becomes clear again. Ask locals and snorkel places where other people are snorkeling as well!

Learning about snorkeling and the ocean can help you feel more comfortable when you are snorkeling even if you don’t know how to swim. Put your best fin forward by keeping these snorkel tips in mind and booking a snorkel tour with a guided snorkel company for one-on-one instruction and a glimpse into Maui’s underwater world!

 

 

 

Small Group Lanai Snorkel Tours

Who else wants to check snorkeling in the waters of Lanai off their Hawaii bucket list? Well now you can by joining Hawaii Ocean Rafting for our Half Day Snorkel Tour! Due to the lack of people living on the island and pollution, Lanai offers some of the clearest waters and most pristine coral reefs in all Hawaii! When snorkeling, you will see breathtaking corals that are beyond imagination and abundance of tropical fish. Make sure you take advantage of this snorkel opportunity by going out with us. Our rafts are geared for the snorkel and adventure enthusiast!

How do you get over to Lanai? Well, there is a nine-mile trek across the Au’au Channel that needs to be completed to get from one island to the next. With Hawaii Ocean Rafting, the journey across this channel is half the fun! Our small fast rafts can zip you to locations much faster than large boats. During whale watching season, you can see Humpback Whales splash in the water and play. Humpback Whales love to play in the channel between Maui and Lanai because the islands shelter them from harsh wind and other weather conditions. Seeing these magnificent creatures is truly magical and a must do for your Hawaiian vacation! Humpback whale season typically runs from December to early May here in Hawaii.

Additionally, most of our tours get the opportunity to see Spinner Dolphins off the coast of Lanai as well! They love to frolic and play in the wake that is created by our rafts. As their names suggests, Spinner Dolphins are known for jumping out of the water and spinning many times in the air. It is truly astonishing to see! A plus of spinner dolphins is that they can be seen and live in our waters year-round. Being that our rafts are closer to the ocean compared to larger vessels, you can get that up close experience everyone wishes for!

There are many different snorkeling locations in the waters of Lanai but some of our favorites include Manele Bay, Fish Rock and Club Lanai. You will see that Lanai snorkel locations are much less crowded than other locations such as Molokini Crater on Maui. For our Full Day snorkeling trips that operate from the months of April to December, we circumnavigate the entire island! This trip offers sights unseen by the vast majority of visitors! On the backside of the island there is a shipwreck that towers above the water that is very interesting to see and great for photos!

Snorkeling Lanai is truly a remarkable experience. We look forward to welcoming you aboard and providing the exceptional service we are known for! Call us at 808-661- RAFT (7238) to book your next Private or Group snorkeling adventure!

the maui snorkeling scene is off the hook

the top 4 must do activities on Maui

Sheraton Maui

Dolphin Watching Done Right

Dolphin Watching Done Right!

We take small groups far from the beaten path to experience some of the worlds most pristine reefs and landscapes. The island of Lana’i is home to at least three different species of dolphin. We are often met by either spotted or spinner dolphins. The Island of Lana'i offers dolphin watching done right.We occasionally encounter the more rare bottle nosed dolphin. We’ve compiled a bit of information about each dolphin species that you are most likely to see. You can use this list to brush up before you experience these beauties first hand. All of our Lana’i snorkeling trips leave from Maui’s Lahaina harbor. If you are going to be on Maui between December and May don’t forget to book a whale watch.

Hawaiian spinner dolphins

At dusk Spinner dolphins travel offshore to feed.  The spinner dolphins of Hawaii live in family groups. Within these groups mothers and calves form especially strong bonds.  Vocalizations of spinner dolphins include whistles which may be used to organize the structure of the school. There are also burst-pulse signals and echolocation clicks. The spinner dolphin has a 10-month gestation period and mothers nurse their young for one to two years.  Spinner dolphins are well known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the water front first and twists its body as it ascends in the air. You can’t miss the resounding splash as it hits the water landing on its side. A spinner dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap.

Pan tropical spotted dolphin

Spots are the key defining characteristic in the adult dolphins. Immature individuals are generally uniformly colored and can look like a small bottle nose dolphin.  This dolphin has a long thin beak and the upper and lower jaws are darkly colored. The chin throat and belly are white to pale grey with a limited number of spots. The flanks are separated into three distinct bands of color with the lightest at the bottom, followed by a thin grey strip in the middle of the flank and a dark grey back. The tall dorsal fin is similarly colored. The thick tail stock matches the color of the middle band. The pan tropical spotted dolphin is very active and is prone to making large splashy leaps from the sea. Bow riding and other play with boats is common. They are often the first to greet our tours!

Bottle nose dolphins

Bottle nose dolphins live in groups of between 10 and 30 members we call pods. In reality group size can vary from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diets consist mainly of fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools but they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echos to determine the location and shape of nearby items including potential prey. Bottle nose dolphins also use sound for communication including squeaks and whistles emitted from the blowhole and sounds emitted through body language such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water surface.

destination Lanai

Maui Has such Variety!

Maui Snorkeling is the focus  of our tours and for good reason. The waters surrounding Maui are crystal clear and usually glassy calm. The reefs below are breathtaking and home to colors that are beyond imagination. Maui has such variety available when looking for a snorkeling tour. There are large group tours aboard huge vessels, which may be a bargain. Often these larger tours lack the intimacy and off the beaten path aspect that makes a snorkeling adventure magical. Hawaii Ocean rafting will take you on a small group tour aboard a speedy eco raft. When the weather is nice, we head for Lana’i!

Why Lana’i?

The volcanic formations below allow for a kind of visual drama found nowhere else on earth. Lana’i is a sparsely inhabited and privately owned island. There is no real road system to speak of, so a boat is the best way to check it out. The journey from Maui to Lanai is sometimes half the fun. The waters there are home to many different species of dolphin, all of which enjoy frolicking in our wake. On our full day snorkeling trips we circumnavigate the entire island. This trip offers sights unseen by the vast majority of visitors. There is a GIANT shipwreck towering obove the surface on the backside of the island.

A Glimpse of Our Favorite Spot!

One of our favorite  spots is just along the coast of the neighbor island of Lana’i. As we approach this spot it appears to be an impossible snorkeling spot because we are in nearly 60 feet of water.There is a secret pinnacle here that reaches from the sea floor to just mere feet below the surface. You can snorkel right over the top or venture down along the sides. As you venture down the sides of the pinnacle you will see how the reef inhabitants change with the decrease in sunlight. Maui has such variety all around. As if this weren’t amazing enough, listen close and you will probably hear the clicks and whistles of the dolphins that greet us upon our arrival to magical Lanai. Maui snorkeling is also a way to see the Hawaiian green sea turtles from a different perspective. While it is never alright to touch a sea turtle, you can get pretty close. Join us, snorkeling is a magical way to spend the day.

book your private charter today

Now is the time to book your Private Charter!

Have you ever dreamed about cruising around Maui in a private speedboat? Imagine just you and your favorite people spending the day doing exactly what you want when you want to. Maybe you have been out on a tour and wished you could have stayed at a spot for longer. Sometimes our on a tour you may see something fom a distance and wished to check it out from up close? With a private charter you can customize a trip to fit your family and friends unique desires.

Snorkeling

Zip over to the island of Lana'i for some world class snorkeling. There are towering cliffs and sea caves as well as massive pinnacles rising from the depths to just kiss the surface of turquoise blue. You can even venture to the North shore of Lana'i to check out the giant shipwreck. We can also take you to the world renowned Honolua Bay and you can hop right off the boat into some of the best snorkeling on the planet. If you visit this spot via the road system you have a bit of a trek on your hands.

Sightseeing

The islands that make up Maui Nui have endless striking views. You can customize a delectable meal and enjoy the day cruising around seeing the sights. This is the best way to collect some seriously instagram worthy shots from your vacation. The striking West Maui Mountains set against the crystal blue sea is truly striking. The towering sea cliffs of Lana'i are not only spectacular but you will often find dolphins frolicking there.

Diving

We are able to take as many as 6 people diving during one of our private charters aboard the Scarab. You can completely costomize what kind of dives you would like to do. There are options for all experience levels. An absolute favorite is Cathedrals on the island of Lana'i. It gets its name from the stained glass appearance from the inside of this breathtaking lava formation. Swim inside and you will see sunlight pouring through myriad spaced and holes, it is magical!

Now is the Time to Book your Private Charter!

Why now, you ask? Well, the weather is mild and very cooperative this time of year. The crowds are down as kids are mostly back to school and Summer has come to an end. Really is there ever a bad time to go on the trip of a lifetime? There is one more reason and it is a good one. We are offering a whopping 30% off all private charters for the entire month of September! You can book our sleek Scarab speedboat or our super fun high speed eco rafts all month at this special rate.Click here to book your private charter and use promo code "privatecharterseptember"  Private Charter September

 

 

Our Lanai snorkeling tours are a favorite among visitors and locals alike.

We take small groups far from the beaten path to experience some of the worlds most pristine reefs and landscapes. The island of Lana’i is home to at least three different species of dolphin. We are often met by either spotted or spinner dolphins and we ocassionally encounter the more rare bottle nosed dolphin. We’ve compiled a bit of information about each dolphin species that you are most likely to see. You can use this list to brush up before you experience these beauties first hand. All of our Lana’i snorkeling trips leave from Maui’s Lahaina harbor. If you are going to be on Maui between December and May don’t forget to book a whale watch.

Hawaiian spinner dolphins

At dusk Spinner dolphins travel offshore to feed. The spinner dolphins of Hawaii live in family groups. Within these groups mothers and calves form especially strong bonds. Vocalizations of spinner dolphins include whistles, which may be used to orangize the structure of the school. There are also burst-pulse signals and echolocation clicks. The spinner dolphin has a 10-month gestation period and mothers nurse their young for one to two years.  Spinner dolphins are well known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the water and twists its body as it ascends in the air. You can’t miss the resounding splash as it hits the water landing on its side. A spinner dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap.

Pan tropical spotted dolphin

Spots are the key defining characteristic in the adult dolphins. Immature individuals are generally uniformly colored and can look like a small bottle nose dolphin.  This dolphin has a long, thin beak and the upper and lower jaws are darkly colored. The chin, throat, and belly are white to pale grey with a limited number of spots. The flanks are separated into three distinct bands of color — the lightest at the bottom, followed by a thin, grey strip in the middle of the flank, and a dark-grey back. The tall dorsal fin is similarly colored. The thick tail stock matches the color of the middle band. The pan tropical spotted dolphin is very active and is prone to making large, splashy leaps from the sea. Bow-riding and other play with boats is common. They are often the first to greet our tours!

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins live in groups of between 10 and 30 members we call pods. In reality group size can vary from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diets consist mainly of fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools, but they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echos to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Bottlenose dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks and whistles emitted from the blowhole and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water surface. There have been numerous investigations of bottlenose dolphin intelligence. Research on bottlenose dolphins has examined mimicry, use of artificial language, object categorization and self-recognition. Their considerable intelligence has driven interaction with humans. Bottlenose dolphins are popular from aquarium shows and television programs such as Flipper. They have also been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. In some areas, they cooperate with local fishermen by driving fish into their nets and eating the fish that escape.

 

The Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Can you believe it is already November? Thanksgiving is just around the corner and some of you out there may be starting your Christmas list. Often times the novelty of a material gift wears off and the gift is put in a drawer or the back of the closet. Taking your loved one on an ocean adventure will create memories to last a lifetime. The gift of adventure is also fun for the giver (make sure you book yourself into the adventure, to keep your loved one  company. The thing about an adventure is that you never know exactly what to expect, you may get to swim with rays or bask in the raft as dolphins frolick all around. It’s just plain fun!

Budget Friendly Gift

You won’f find a more budget friendly one of a kind gift out there (unless you make it yourself, and that can go any number of ways). Our half day snorkeling tour to the neighbor island of Lana’i includes all of the gear, food, beverages, and expert instruction all for under $85. You can avoid the crowds out looking for deals in the mall and complete the whole shopping experience online. Just print it out and wrap it up!

The Photos!

Finally, the photos! Bring an underwater camera along with your regular camera or phone and you will go home with a treasure trove of breathtaking photos. Maui and Lana’i are home to some truly majestic coastlines that you can’t really appreciate from shore. As you depart the harbor you can capture the West Maui mountains in all of their glory. We suggest that you blow one of these photos up to grace the walls of her home forever. Underwater is home to an unimagineable pallet of colors, coming alive with the tropical fish and living coral reefs

Turtle

A Secret Pinnacle

Maui Snorkeling is the focus of all of our tours and for good reason. The waters surrounding Maui are crystal clear and usually glassy calm. The reefs below are breathtaking and home to colors that are beyond imagination. The volcanic formations below also allow for a kind of visual drama found nowhere else on earth. One of our favorite  spots is just allong the coast of the neighbor island of Lana’i. As we approach this spot it appears to be an impossible snorkeling spot because we are in nearly 60 feet of water. There is a secret pinnacle here that reaches from the sea floor to just mere feet below the surface. You can snorkel right over the top or venture down along the sides. As you venture down the sides of the pinnacle you will see how the reef inhabitants change with the decrease in sunlight. As if this weren’t amazing enough, listen close and you will probably hear the clicks and whistles of the dolphins that greet us upon our arrival to magical Lanai. Maui snorkeling is also a way to see the Hawaiian green sea turtles from a different perspective. While it is never alright to touch a sea turtle, you can get pretty close. Join us, snorkeling is a magical way to spend the day. This particular time of year is special because there are a few humpbacks that have arrived early. There are no where near enough whales for anyone to offer an exclusive whale watching tour. Your best bet for seeing one of these gentle giants is to hop on one of our snorkeling tours because they head directly through the waters that the whales are most likely! Stop by www.hawaiioceanrafting.com and book directly. You will save an automatic %10!!!!

Maui Dolphin Watching trips

the maui snorkeling scene is off the hook

Our Lanai snorkeling tours are a favorite among visitors and locals alike. We specialize in small group tours to the island of Lana’i. We take groups far from the beaten path to experience some of the worlds most pristine reefs and landscapes. As if the mind blowing sights just below the oceans surface weren’t enough, Lana’i is home to at least three different species of dolphin. We are often met by either spotted or spinner dolphins. We ocassionally encounter the more rare bottle nosed dolphin. We’ve compiled a bit of information about each dolphin species that you are most likely to see so you can brush up before you experience these beauties first hand. All of our trips leave conveniently from Maui’s Lahaina harbor. If you are going to be on Maui between December and May, we also offer whale watches! The best Maui snorkeling

Hawaiian spinner dolphins

At dusk Spinner dolphins travel offshore to feed. Spinner dolphins live in an open and loose social organization. The spinner dolphins of Hawaii live in family groups, but also have associations with others beyond their group and mothers and calves form strong social bonds.  Vocalizations of spinner dolphins include whistles, which may be used to orangization the structure of the school; burst-pulse signals, which may serve to be evocative and vocative and echolocation clicks. The spinner dolphin has a 10-month gestation period, and mothers nurse their young for one to two years.  Spinner dolphins are well known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the water, front first, and twists its body as it ascends in the air. After it reaches its maximum height, the dolphin descends back into the water, landing on its side. A spinner dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap. These dolphins may also make nose-outs, tail slaps, flips, head slaps, “salmon leaps”, and side and back slaps.

Pan tropical spotted dolphin

Spots are key defining characteristics in adults, though immature individuals are generally uniformly colored and can look like a small bottle nose dolphin.  This dolphin has a long, thin beak. The upper and lower jaws are darkly colored, but are separated by thin, white “lips”. The chin, throat, and belly are white to pale grey with a limited number of spots. The flanks are separated into three distinct bands of color — the lightest at the bottom, followed by a thin, grey strip in the middle of the flank, and a dark-grey back. The tall dorsal fin is similarly colored. The thick tail stock matches the color of the middle band. The pan tropical spotted dolphin is very active and is prone to making large, splashy leaps from the sea. Bow-riding and other play with boats is common

Bottlenose dolphins,

Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10–30 members, called pods, but group size varies from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diets consist mainly of fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools, but they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echos to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Bottlenose dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks and whistles emitted from the blowhole and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water surface. There have been numerous investigations of bottlenose dolphin intelligence. Research on bottlenose dolphins has examined mimicry, use of artificial language, object categorization and self-recognition. Their considerable intelligence has driven interaction with humans. Bottlenose dolphins are popular from aquarium shows and television programs such as Flipper. They have also been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. In some areas, they cooperate with local fishermen by driving fish into their nets and eating the fish that escape.