Looking to enjoy Maui marine life? Maui is one of the most unique of the Hawaiian Islands due to the simple fact that it is full of marine life. From the crazy creatures of the deep on the outer reaches and drop offs that line the sea cliffs; to the fun-loving animals that love to play alongside boats and kayaks; be sure to read more and see what ocean experience will fulfill your Maui sea-dreams!

Dedicate a Maui Day to Dolphins

One of our favorite sea creatures is the playful dolphin— Maui is no stranger to these fun-loving mammals.

Dolphins are common in Maui as they are to the neighboring islands like Oahu or the Big Island but are seen more frequently in the island nearby Maui's mainland. Dolphins have been known to play amongst snorkel tours that venture to the Maui's neighboring islands within the county like Lanai and Molokai.

While it's not guaranteed you'll see them on every snorkel trip, these marine animals are an experience to encounter. If you are lucky enough to see a dolphin on your adventures you are surely in for a show as they are known to jump out of the waters and play amongst the side of snorkel boats.
maui marine life

Take a Trip with Turtles

Turtles are some of the most sacred creatures to Maui’s waters, as well as arguably the most misunderstood.

Many visitors to Maui’s isle make the mistake of crowding or touching the sacred honu, or turtles; which is the most harmful thing you can do to these species. While these hard-shelled turtles can grow to be 440 lbs and 4 feet; they are not immune to the harms of humans, including entanglements from fishing lines and disruption of behavior due to human proximity being too close.

If you want to properly enjoy these turtles be sure to book a snorkeling tour that introduces you to this wildlife in a way that is safe to both you and the marine life below!

Maui’s Most Popular: Whale Watching

The whale watching that exists in Maui is unlike anywhere else in the world. While you could book an Alaskan cruise or try and catch a glimpse of the whales are they pass by the neighboring islands— it is in Maui where the mother whales birth and raise their young calves, encounter suiters and enjoy a vacation from the feeding and cold of Alaska's waters.

The unique environment and channels that exist between the neighboring islands of Maui County (not to mention the inviting bathwater-temperature ocean) means that the young humpbacks thrive as they wean and learn the skills that will ensure they thrive as they move back North.

While the young calves learn these skills they are uniquely playful with the human life they may interact with. This could include a boat passing at a safe distance, some canoe paddlers during a morning regatta, or curious kayakers.

You will notice in your time in Maui that the young whales are especially eager to show off for any and all visitors to their ocean home. Whale season tends to occur between the winter and spring. On average 10,000 whales will travel from their Northern homes to Maui’s tropical waters; there they give birth.

If you are lucky and book a whale watching tour who knows where to find these amazing creatures— from a safe distance you may be able to see an acrobatic show, tail slaps, and full breaches as the mother and their young jump out of the water.

The Fish to See in Maui

What would be an overview of the magical marine life of Maui without giving a shoutout to the most popular (and most well known) state fish! The humuhumunukunukuapua’a “HOO-moo-HOO-moo-NEW-koo-NEW-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah) is not only fun to say but one of the most popular fish that you will see on your Maui snorkeling adventure.

These fish are known to hang around the reefs of Maui (amongst the over 20 percent of reef fish that are found nowhere else in the world). They are an endemic species however, due to many factors as overfishing and reduction of habitat due to the use of non-reef-safe sunscreens and human pollution.

When planning your dream trip to Maui make sure to book a snorkel tour that takes you around the pristine reefs that surround the beautiful island Lanai! There you will find the state fish amongst a host of marine life special to this island and unlike anywhere else on the planet.

The marine life that surrounds Maui and the neighboring islands in the county is what makes the islands the ideal destination for any ocean lover. Make sure that you respect the aina and book a snorkel or whale watching tour that properly introduces you to all of the amazing wildlife and gives you the best chance at unique encounters.