Reef Dancer

Reef Dancer – Where to Get a 360 View of All the Ocean Wonders Around West Maui
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Want to see all the ocean has to offer without getting wet? You just have to take a ride on the Reef Dancer for a reef viewing experience to remember. All along the way, the divers will bring amazing creatures up to the windows beneath the surface, while the narrator fills your mind with incredible facts.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

If you want to explore the ocean but are less than thrilled about getting directly into the water, then you will enjoy what the Reef Dancer has to offer. Their one-of-a-kind semi-submersible boat lets you go beneath the surface and get amazing views, all while staying completely dry. As a result, their boat effectively serves as a sort of moving aquarium, which makes it an incredible experience for all ages.

To see what it’s like to ride this unique boat, you just have to book your spot through their website. They do allow you to sign up for same-day trips if there’s any room on their cruises. But it’s often best to reserve your seat well ahead of time. Either way, you’ll meet the crew at slip six in the Lahaina Harbor at the selected time and date. The crew will go over the safety rules before helping you and all the other guests board the watercraft.

You’re welcome to ride up top on the way to the barrier reef or go down into the underwater cabin. The views are quite different from both perspectives, although they are equally awe-inspiring. Once you arrive at the barrier reef, the show will commence through the windows in the cabin. On its own, the view is nothing short of incredible, often giving up-close views of coral and all its marine life. To take the experience to the next level, a diver gets into the water and starts bringing creatures up to the windows.

Eels, octopuses, and other rather shy sea critters go on a gentle ride in the diver’s arms and right up to the windows on the boat. As that happens, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life curiously swim all around the outside of the cabin. Thankfully, the 360 view lets you see all the action as it happens, ensuring that you don’t miss a thing.

You never have to wonder just what you’re looking at either. The narrator describes all the happenings outside the windows, plus provides in-depth overviews of every creature to make an appearance. If you have any questions, just ask them at your leisure, so you can walk away with a ton of newfound knowledge.

The captain will keep the ship slowly moving around the reef, so you can enjoy fresh views all throughout the trip. By the end of the 75-minute tour, you’re sure to have seen all the best sights around the waters of West Maui. Despite that, you will likely want to head out on another trip in hopes of seeing more. Thankfully, they’re always happy to see you again and have the chance to show you even more ocean wonders.

Want to extend your trip even more? Ask to add on the Maui Treasure Hunt package. With that package, you’ll get to go on the reef explorations, and then land in a lagoon to swim, play, and hunt for hidden treasure. The two-in-one adventure always delights kids and adults of all ages, plus offers tons of fun photo opportunities.

Insider Tips:
-Remember to bring a camera, so you can capture photos of all the wonderful sights. Put your camera in a waterproof case to keep it from getting splashed.
-Apply reef-safe SPF 50+ sunblock 15 minutes before checking in at the harbor. Reapply the sunblock every two hours to avoid getting sunburnt.
-They do not have a bathroom on the boat. So, use the one at the harbor right before boarding.
-Arrive at least 30 minutes early to find parking. For free three-hour parking, go to the lot near the corner of Prison and Front Streets. If you’d like to park for longer than that, use a pay lot.