Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Maui, Dude

If you’re a regular reader, you may have missed me over the last several days. Tony and I returned today from a week with a best, good friend in Maui. We left the island yesterday just past noon, and arrived in Traverse City this morning around 8:30. We’re still a bit jet-lagged, though I will say the 3-4 hour nap helped tremendously, even if that does make it two days in a row that went breakfast…dinner with lunch stuck in the time vortex.

But you didn’t come here to listen to my travel complaints – you (probably) came here for sea turtles. We actually rose with the sun (or earlier) each day, and had a week full of adventures including multiple snorkeling expeditions, a kayaking outing, a driving/exploring tour of the island’s circumference, a few hikes, and yes, a bit of surfing. In retrospect, I probably should have tried to fit in more surfing, because I love it even in my completely novice state. Still, my favorite thing this trip was swimming with the sea turtles.

Meg is in her fifth year on Maui, and as an avid adventurer, she knows some great places that she was kind enough to share with us. I’d tell you where we went, but 1) I’m  not entirely sure that snorkeling spots aren’t like mushroom spots where you say things are great but never actually identify the location, and 2) Meg drove the whole time so I have NO idea where anything really was. What I can tell you is that we drove from the Kihei area and through Lahaina to get to this place. I think I’m not making that up.

We watched the waves roll in and spend themselves on the far point across the protected “turtle cove” (That’s my name for this place. It maybe/probably has a name, but I don’t know it.) for several minutes before suiting up and hopping into the briny water.

The swells occasionally surged over the rocky outcropping, tossing the interior waters about. We waited for a break and then swam out.

Before we had even tipped a fin into the water, we had spotted three turtles. I’m not sure how many we saw in total, but I’d guess at least a lot. (I was going to throw in a number here, but Tony and I can’t come to any consensus beyond “It was a bunch…or at least it seemed to be.”)






Gulping air. Do you see both turtles?



Hiding turtles


Resting on the reef with his reef fish companion (to the left)



Turtle and cleaner fish







Obviously these guys are used to swimming with humans. They don’t swim up to you to check you out, but they don’t mind terribly if you swim up to them. They slowly rudder their way around you, and if they’re mightily annoyed, they dive into the coral and hide.



We swam within inches of these gentle giants numerous times, and for quite a ways. Even though one of those pictures above might look like I was reaching out to high-five a turtle, I did not. None of them tried to hitch a ride on my back, so I figure fair’s fair. If you snorkel with the turtles, please have the same respect.

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12 thoughts on “Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Maui, Dude

    • It was incredible. I can’t even claim all the photos. There are some that I know I definitely took, but we passed the camera back and forth a lot.
      I’m not sure what’s next. I wasn’t even going to do a big blog post about the turtles: I was just going to post a picture or two and tell everyone we were home and that I loved the turtles, but you see how that went. Lots to share, and no idea how I’m going to do it!

    • I don’t think that marks you as an obvious parent. Meg and I spoke in turtle voices a lot on the reef – EAC, Dude! Thanks to Nemo, all turtles are now males with a typical surfer dude lilt šŸ˜‰
      I don’t want to live there, but the reef flora and fauna make me want to go back. Or at least go to Australia for the real EAC šŸ˜‰

  1. Dude, this is an amazing post! Welcome back home. Gosh, you are doing better than me about getting a blog up after your trip. I can’t seem to get all the wedding photos together. Glad you’re home safely. **turtle hugs & a splash your way!**

    • Thank you Miss Kathy. I look forward to seeing your wedding pictures whenever you get around to sharing them.
      I only pulled out pictures from one morning of snorkeling, and only chose turtles šŸ™‚ I’ll get around to the rest of it soon enough. Glad you’re back safely too! **Exchanges a turtle high five**

  2. Oh wow oh wow oh wow! Another adventure I’d like to have! I think I’m going to need to live to 150 to do even half of the things I would like to do. Your photos are wonderful!

    • I am so happy to have spent the time with the turtles that we did! I’d still love to swim with dolphins and see whales (my friend Meg was stand-up paddle-boarding when a baby whale came right up beside her. She stopped – legally she had to, but was also too excited to do anything else – and had a very close eye-to-eye encounter!!). May you cross many things off your adventure to-do list šŸ™‚

      • Thanks Loran! There’s so much good stuff in this world, and I fear there’s probably just not enough time to get to it all. I guess that’s what makes each adventure, big or small, precious.

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