While we were in Maui, my daughter and I had the opportunity to dive on the Molokini Crater. The Molokini Crater is a crescent shaped partially submerged volcanic crater off the south-west side of the island and has been a marine preserve since 1977. There is a vast array of marine life to see at the crater, the visibility on our dive was very good, and water was cobalt blue.
After having signed up with the dive shop the evening before, we met with the dive boat operator in a parking lot near the boat launch early in the morning. The had us load our gear up onto the boat while it was on the trailer in the lot then hop aboard before launching. If my memory serves me right the ride was about an hour or so to get to the crater. It's a popular spot so there were a few other boats around but it's pretty big so there was plenty of room without having all the groups on top of each other.
After gearing up we did a giant stride entry off the back of the boat into the middle of the crater and began our decent. The dive was to start inside the crater near Reef's End then drop over the rim and do a drift dive on what the divemaster called the "SCUBA Superhighway".
Once we got down to the sand, the dive guide led us from the center of the crater toward the edge, on our way over we could see tons of eels sticking up out of the sand. If you look carefully in the picture below you can see them.
The guide also stopped and picked up a sea cucumber and showed it to my daughter and let her touch it. Then he carefully placed it back where it was and continued on.
As you start getting closer to the edge of the crater you start to see more coral formation and can feel the current start to pick up a little bit.
Once we got over the ledge there were lots of fish, colorful corals and even a couple sharks hiding in a crevice in the wall.
The sharks didn't seem interested in us at all, they seemed pretty content laying on the ledge in the coral.
Once you get caught in the current it's a real relaxing dive, you just drift along the wall of the crater enjoying the scenery. We saw a manta ray and had a couple white tip reef sharks swimming above us at one point. As you drift along the wall you can see how black the walls of the crater are in spots where there isn't coral growing on it.
Toward the end of the dive I was fist to get low on air, hauling the camera set-up around had taken a bit of a toll on my air supply so I signaled the guide and my daughter finished off the dive with him. I then started my slow ascent to 15 feet as I backed away from the crater. Hanging alone at 15 feet I slowly drifted away from the wall into the blue water and after my 5 minute stop I surfaced, gave the OK sign to the boat and waited to be picked up.
It was a chance of a lifetime dive, living on the east coast we aren't sure if we'll ever get back that way. Definitely do it if you get the chance, to me it was well worth the money.