Sure, you can enjoy cool and interesting snorkeling adventures from many of Maui’s beaches and shorelines all on your own. But when you want to go a bit further and see something a bit more unique, then you need a guide and often (when it comes to snorkeling and water adventures) a good boat. Such are the things that premier Maui guides like Blue Water Rafting offer.
Blue Water Rafting calls itself a high adventure snorkeling and sightseeing tour outfit that has been operating on the island of Maui since 1985. Emphasis on high adventure. This Maui tour group is one of the only such boating outfits that will take group tours out to the southern tip of Maui in addition to Molokini locations, but the trips out to these premium snorkeling and whale watching locales isn’t always easy. Big waves and fast speeds are to be expected with Blue Water Rafting. In fact, Blue Water Rafting has posted that their tours will depart rain or shine and so are certainly a choice best made by those who aren’t afraid of bumpy rides and getting wet.
In other words, Blue Water Rafting is not going to be a good choice for anyone with sensitive needs. This means if you’re pregnant, have spinal or knee issues, require wheelchair or service animal accommodations, or otherwise have a trailer disposition, this is not a good tour. Families with young children should likewise avoid booking with Blue Water Rafting. The company also states on their website that they reserve the right to refuse boarding to anyone they suspect with a limiting medical condition.
Those disclaimers aside, Blue Water Rafting does deliver on a fantastic snorkeling experience. And while they do not sell themselves as a whale watching tour, the locations where they go for snorkeling and sightseeing are some of the best for finding whales and dolphins.
For example, consider their signature tour:
Molokini and Kanaio Coast.
This is a five-hour trip that departs every morning at 7 am from the Kihei Boat Landing. The voyage begins southward, as the captain takes you down to the rugged and remote Kanio Coast. This coastline is virtually unreachable by land and no roads come even close from the north. By boat, you’ll explore secret coves, hidden caves, and other incredible lava rock formations that connect water to land. Dolphins love this area for its remoteness and when conditions are good, Blue Water Rafting will include snorkeling with them here (but that is not a given for this tour). After explorations of the Kanaio Coast, the captain will head back north for Molokini Crater. There, guests can enjoy world-class snorkeling both within the crater itself and by what is called “drift snorkeling” where swimmers are invited to ride the current over the reef’s end.
Again, while snorkeling, coastal sightseeing, and whale watching are all big parts of a Blue Water Rafting tour (whether you choose their signature option or another), don’t confuse this with a more relaxing snorkel cruise. Alcohol is prohibited on the boat and things are not slow-going, although light breakfast (primarily fruits) and lunches (sandwiches with deli meats) are included for relevant timed tours. If you like fast boats and secret coves, you’ll love this tour. If you want something more relaxed, skip this one.
-Choppy waves are a prime recipe for seasickness. We recommend bringing anti-nausea devices (such as wristbands) or taking an over-the-counter prescription before this trip if you are prone to seasickness or haven’t been in a situation to see for some time.
-If the weather is cooler out and/or windy, bring a spare pack of clothes. The group provides basic rain gear in more inclement weather, but just the splash from the ocean waves can be enough to chill you on a cold or windy day. Getting splashed when riding in the high-powered boasts Blue Water Rafting uses is a bit of a guarantee.