Jan 16

Molokini Crater Dive

Category: Hawaii,scuba

While staying in Maui I decided to dive the back wall of Molokini, since it’s famous for clarity and the breathtaking wall plunging into the depths.  What I didn’t realize is that surface conditions often make this dive impossible to plan upon; the shops I called wouldn’t promise me a back wall dive, only that they’d try if the weather was right and the group of divers were experienced.  Another thing they seemed concerned about was diver experience level; I can’t blame them – who wants to see some clueless diver sinking into the abyss?  Luckily, when the day came it all worked out and we did exactly what I wanted to do – a portion of the back wall known as the northwest “corner.”

I used the highly-recommended outfit Mike Severn’s diving. They launched their boat from the Kihei boat ramp and the ride to the crater was only 20 minutes or so.  It was a drift dive, but there wasn’t much drifting, so let’s call it a live dive. Max depth was 85 feet with a temperature of 73, comfortable with a 3mm suit and a 2mm hoodie vest.  After our Crater dive, we stopped by the site of a tank and armored personnel carrier that somehow wound up on the ocean floor during training in WWII. During both dives, we could hear whales and porpoises singing.  We didn’t see any while diving, but we did see both types of animals on the surface – it was better than the whale-watching trip I’d taken a few days earlier.

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Above: Divers float over the abyss next to Molokini.

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An octopus lurks in a crevice within the profusion of life on the wall.  Can you see it?

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Above is a close-up.  Can you see it now?  Only a tentacle is showing.

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Above is another hard-to-see animal. Below is the close-up: it’s a nudibranch.  I haven’t identified it exactly yet, but I have never seen one quite like this.

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Above: a perfectly still and almost invisible frogfish.

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Above: a school of bluestripe bass.

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Above: the tank.

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Above: the APC.

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Above: a very rare black frogfish.

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5 comments

5 Comments so far

  1. anonymous January 16th, 2011 1:30 AM

    I’m trying to figure out the psychedelic purple things in
    with the school of bass. Are those fins on some or another fish
    mixed in?

  2. Dan Greenspan January 16th, 2011 1:49 AM

    If you’re looking at what I think you’re looking at, it’s spaces in the school of fish allowing light from the ocean behind to come through. Or maybe it’s the blue stripes on each fish? Those are definitely psychadelic neon blue, and are simply skin coloration.

  3. anonymous January 16th, 2011 6:45 PM

    You’re right, it is the water! It was hard to tell at first. Amazing photos. It’s hard to pick a favorite but I really like that school photo and the orange fish.

  4. Niffer February 8th, 2011 5:51 PM

    I always enjoy these diving posts. I find it amazing what you are able to notice amongst the mass amounts of color. I’m sure you have to have a certain eye for it, and you’d have to be very patient to find all the amazing creatures you are able to photograph. It’s impressive. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pride of Maui March 2nd, 2011 7:27 PM

    Nice Molokini pics!! Looks like a great dive.

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