Once a mighty volcano, it is now a submerged crater which is home to a number of species of birds and fishes and is also a treat for the divers and snorkelers. The Molokini Crater falls on the Alalakeiki Channel and is between the islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe in Hawaii. The crescent shaped crater covers an area of 23 acres and has a diameter of 0.4 miles. It has the State Sea Bird Sanctuary of Hawaii.
As per the geological tests which have been done in the region, the volcano of the Molokini Crater erupted 230,000 years ago and after the crater got submerged in the water, the inlet has been a favourite destination for fishing for the locals. There is a reef within the Molokini Crater which has an amazing clarity and where you can find about 250 different varieties of fishes, like the Black Triggerfish, Yellow Tang, Moorish Idol, Parrotfish, and so on. Because of the favourable shape of the inlet, it is known to provide some help to the divers against the strong current of the neighbouring waters. The Molokini Crater also has the provision of conducting a variety of water sports which therefore takes a number of enthusiasts to the region.
This isolated inlet is also a favourite destination for a variety of seabirds. Two major species of sea birds include the wedge tailed Shearwaters and the Bulwers Petrels. Climbing up the rocks one gets to see across a huge distance and enjoy the sight of the sunlight falling on the corals and displaying the algae within them. The Molokini Crater also has about 50 species of plants which grow in the region and are not found in the rest of the mainland around. The locals of the nearby islands also access the inlet in order to get the eggs of the nesting seabirds like that of the Brown Boobies and the big sized Frigate birds.
Apart from being a natural reserve and a tourist destination, the Molokini Crater has also been of other use like during the Second World War, it was used as a location for target practises by the US Navy. Till recent times a number of unexploded munitions were found in the area which created a public outcry as it was understood to be adversely affecting the waters and the marine life underneath. Post then not only has been the munitions removed from the area but, it has also been declared as a Marine Life Conservation.
The best time of snorkelling in the Molokini Crater is known to be during the early mornings and therefore a number of tours are available to the place from the surrounding islands of Maalaea Harbour and Lahaina. The mornings also give chances of watching many whale activities as well. It is therefore always advised to take cruises from Lahaina and Maalaea Harbour and enjoy a good deal of time in the Molokini Crater.