Travel Blog #171 – Snorkeling Molokini & the South Shore of Maui with Seafire Charters

Sep 2, 2021 | Activity Information

Seafire Charters is a company that does Molokini trips that depart from the Kihei Boat Ramp. The vessel that they use is one of the most overbuilt, sturdy vessels on the island and its an interesting story why. The owner and Captain of the boat whose name is Don Burns is an active member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. From his extensive knowledge of the island he has been able to carve our a niche for himself that would make most other captains green with envy.

Through his connections with the Coast Guard he was able to find out that the local coast guard station in Maalaea was in need of a S.A.F.E. boat to use for search and rescue operations. He found out the exact specs that were needed for the boat and decided to make it himself and then lease use of it to the Coast Guard. This boat resembles a any other inflatable surrounded Zodiac style raft from the outside, but when you get onboard youll find out that the Seafire is anything but normal. The orange surround on the hull appears to be inflatable but it is actually filled with a high density foam that is designed to make the boat unsinkable, and capable of pushing other boats (in the same way a tug boat does to a tanker). The boat is powered by massive engines that are designed to be able to tow, and the fact that the boat is made of very stiff aluminum makes it capable of towing other much larger boats over very rough seas. Basically, if this boat was a truck….. It would be a military specd tow truck that was equipped to go anywhere.

We met captain Don at the Kihei Boat Ramp, he eased the trailer down the ramp and into the water before tying the boat to the pier and then inviting us aboard. Once we were all loaded onto the boat he navigated the boat out of the harbor and set a course for the island of Molokini. The weather conditions were ideal, with no winds and very small surf. When we got to Molokini Captain Don pulled into the inside part of the lagoon where we jumped off for our first snorkel.

The water was very clear, the fact that Molokini island gets very little rain and is surrounded by deep water keeps the water absolutely pristine. Once we got in the water we were immediately surrounded by large schools of colorful fish. We thoroughly explored the area until Captain Don signaled for us to return to the boat. Once we got back onto the boat Captain Don started the motors and took us to our second snorkel spot of the day which was on the backside of Molokini.

The backside of Molokini is known by SCUBA divers as the Back Wall, Very high rating in This is because the undersea structure that you will find here is a sheer cliff that extends down about six hundred feet down from the surface. The visibility was great with a clarity that was close to two hundred feet. Even with this crystal clear water the bottom was far out of view. Underneath us the cliff literally disappeared into the deep blue and it made it a bit difficult to accurately judge the scale of the fish that were around us. Some of the other passengers who were visiting from the mid west let out some shouts of excitement as they got into the water, after we got back on the boat they explained to me that none of them had ever swam in water that deep before, let alone snorkeled in water that deep.

After the back wall we went to three more snorkel spots before the day was over. We snorkeled with turtles, we snorkeled shipwrecks, and we snorkeled with more turtles. As we were pulling into the harbor I glanced at my phone to check my messages, when I saw what time it was I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. We had managed to snorkel in five different places in only three hours without even feeling the slightest bit rushed.