Whale Watches and Snorkel Trips: What’s the Difference?

Whale season in Maui is from December 15th to May 15th. When whale season is upon us, one of the most commonly asked questions is “What’s the difference between a snorkel trip to Molokini and a whale watch tour?”

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  • The simple answer is: You are out on a whale watch for 2 hours and you are out on a Molokini snorkel trip for about 5 ½ hours. While that’s true, there’s so much more!

  • When you sign up for a Whale Watch, you are out on a boat for 2 hours looking for and finding whales. You stay on the boat and some boats offer refreshments- usually at a price.

  • If you are like most people, you won’t get on a boat unless you get to jump off and swim. When you sign up for a Molokini snorkel trip, you sign up to jump off the boat and snorkel- most times in 2 different locations -and during whale season, you see whales on the way to the snorkel spots and on the way back. You see, if there is a whale sighting within 100 yards of your boat (the length of a football field), your Captain is required to stop the boat and idle until the whales are at least 100 yards away again.

  • While some boats offer refreshments on whale watches, the snorkel trips offer a continental breakfast and lunch along with refreshments and it’s all included.

  •  If you sign up for 5+ hours on the water, there is even more of a chance that you will run into a pod of whales than if you are on a whale watch for only 2 hours. Plus, you get to jump off the boat and snorkel at some really cool places like Molokini or off the coast of our neighboring island of Lanai.

  • Seeing whales in their natural habitat is one of the greatest sights anyone can experience. These majestic animals are as large and weigh as much as a school bus. Imagine something as big as a school bus jumping completely out of the water and splashing back down right in front of your eyes! It’s an unforgettable experience. So too, is swimming in the pristine crystal clear waters of Maui and seeing all the wildlife there is under the sea! If you sign up for a snorkel trip to Molokini, you get the best of both experiences in one tour!