Snorkeling near Napili Shores is a short walk

Snorkeling on Maui is amazing. The best snorkeling is usually where there is coral or lava below the surface. At Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay have easy entrance to the water in the sandy portion of the beach. Carry your fins until you are in the water, or hold them under your arm to keep a free hand. Rinse your mask quickly in the ocean water and put it on. Adjust the strap for comfort to the upper part of your head. It is wise to either purchase some snorkel anti-fog solution or simply use saliva prior to entering the water. Put your fins on, while being mindful to keep ahold of them.

At Napili Bay you may see turtles eating algae from the rocks near the Gazebo restaurant. The water can be shallow near the rocks on the left as you look toward the ocean. You can see the turtles from the beach. If you are snorkeling it is best to put in on the sandy beach and swim towards the lava rocks on the left of the bay. Be careful as swells will change the water level and touching the coral and lava is not good for your knees, or hands. It is also hard on the coral and sea life. You should see fish as soon as the water is clear enough to see through the sand. Once you wade or swim past where the waves break life becomes easier, and the visibility is better. You should see Bluestriped Snapper, Sergeant Major, various butterfly fish and various triggerfish a short snorkel from shore. As you get further out it will be deeper and the coral may be taller. Often there are lots of fish on taller ledges. Trumpet Fish are commonly seen, and look like long trumpets. There are sometimes schools of Yellowstriped Goatfish further out resting on the bottom. You may see Zebra or Snowflake Moral Eels. When we saw them they often left quickly and went back into the rocks. We saw the Hawaiian state fish humuhumunukunukuapua'a regularly.

If turtles are in the bay, they may be sleeping on the bottom or getting cleaned at a cleaning station. It is best to keep calm, and simply enjoy their presences. They may be curious and turn to face you and even come in your direction. Simply back up and remember not to touch them or disturb them. When we have seen them they are often busy

eating, and can be hard to see if the surf is causing lots of bubbles or stirring up sand.

Kapalua Bay is also amazing snorkeling. The best fish is to the left or right of the bay, where the coral and rocks are. There is a large sandy expanse in the middle as you swim further out. Occasionally turtles are sleeping on the bottom near big outcroppings or with sand laying on them. Keep your eyes vigilant and scan at all depths. We had turtles below us sleeping and others swam very close to us to breathe and we calmly watched each other while they gulped air. You will see the same fish life as in Napili Bay.

You may see guided snorkeling boats arrive in Napili Bay, Kapalua Bay, and Namalu Bay. If they arrive you can be happy you are snorkeling in the same places the snorkel trips are visiting. Give the boats space until the engines are off. 

Namalu Bay is good snorkeling and has lots of lava rock in addition to coral. The underwater ravines are deeper than in Napili and Kapalua. There is a trail you can use to walk around a private residence to a rock jumping area. The trail is a narrow path which goes around the residence. If you jump with your snorkel gear, be careful to not lose your mask when you jump in. It is best to jump without a mask, or put your arm through the headband. There are ledges from the many people climbing out after jumping into Namalu Bay. The nice thing about this location is there are fewer people than Black Rock, with a similar fun vibe. Be careful, and understand that rock jumping is risky.

You can rent snorkel gear, purchase reef safe sunscreen and laminated cards for Hawaiian Reef Fish at Water Works Sports which is right next to the condo. Water Works Sports also rents prescription goggles by the day or week. This is a much better option than contacts or struggling to see features under water.

Snorkeling conditions can change based on the winds, weather, currents. The Snorkel Store has a great daily snorkeling report.