Dixie Maru Beach Snorkeling
The 5th most popular snorkel dive spot in Molokai.
Monday 30 April 2018 07:00 GMT
On the west end of Molokai, the snorkeling at Dixie Maru Beach offers good snorkeling. Also known as Kapukahehu Beach, this snorkel spot is an oddity for the west coast - it is a narrow protected cove that offers a longer snorkeling season than just the usual couple months at most west side locations. Unfortunately, the red soil in the region drains into the bay causing the visibilty to usually be low. It doesn’t take much rain or runoff to spoil the water. The best snorkeling is usually on the south side of the cove and if you go far enough out, you may encounter green sea turtles feeding on the rocks. There are also the usual butterflyfish, parrotfish and wrasse.
Dixie Maru Beach is located at the end of Pohakuloa Road on the west coast of Molokai. To reach the snorkeling at Kawakiu Beach from Kaunakakai, head west on Highway 460 past the airport turnoff towards Maunaloa. Turn right heading north on Kalua Koi Road for several miles staying to the right. Near the end of the road, there is a marked public beach access road leading to Dixie Maru Beach.
While Molokai does have several good shore-accessed snorkeling spots, the best Molokai snorkeling is found off-shore along the 25 mile fringing reef. This coral reef crests about a half-mile off the southern and eastern coastline; the northwest wavefronts are too powerful for fringing reefs along the northern and western coastline. There are extremely healthy corals and excellent water clarity just outside the crest. The reef consists of green lobe coral, antler coral, cauliflower coral, finger coral and blue rice coral. From the Kaunakakai Harbor on the south coast, there is a snorkel boat tour that regularly heads out to one of 25+ dive sites on the fringing reef, usually in the morning when the winds are calms. It is a 20-35 minute boat ride out to the snorkel spots where the mooring is in 8-12 foot deep water. The water clarity ranges from 50 to 150 feet and the water temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees. The best time of year is from May through September. During Molokai snorkeling, you may encounter spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, octopus, butterflyfish, parrotfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, triggerfish and the occasional monk seal.
To reach the snorkeling on Molokai, you’ll need to arrive on island by an interisland flight from Oahu provided by Hawaiian Airlines. There are several flights per day. While there used to be a ferry boat service from Lanai and Maui, it was discontinued in October 2016. It is best to rent a car to explore the various snorkeling spots, but keep in mind there is only one national rental car agency at the airport and one locally run rental car company. When planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands, be aware that the State Of Hawaii has banned all sunscreens that oxybenzone, which has been proven to kill coral reefs.
Overall, Dixie Maru Beach is the 5th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 11 snorkeling dives in Molokai.