Maui Snorkeling, The Lani Kai, and Pacific Ocean


Maui Snorkeling, formerly known as Friendly Charters, operates the Lani Kai out of Ma’alaea Harbor in Wailuku Hawaii. The harbor sits on the western side of the island of Maui in close proximity to the world-famous and celebrated Molokini Crater.

Maui Snorkeling is the “Original” Maui Snorkeling company…as you might be able to tell from our web address,! Our crew has been running snorkeling trips, whale watching trips and SNUBA dives for decades and we believe that we offer the best snorkeling in Maui. We have hosted over 1,000,000 people since 1998.


As a 53-foot, double-decked catamaran, being powered by twin-diesel motors, The Lani Kai is the perfect vessel for navigating the Pacific Ocean and maneuvering into ideal snorkeling, SNUBA and whale watching destinations on Maui. Even better, she carries only 49 passengers to prevent overcrowding and eliminate the “sea of humanity” that are generated by our larger counterparts.

Our crew is led by one of the most experienced senior captains in Ma’alaea Harbor, Captain Marc Minkler. Captain Marc’s resume is deeper than the seas he sails and we consider ourselves lucky to have him leading our team. His counterpart, Captain Kiwini Hall, may not be as “senior” (both in experience AND age!), but he is outstanding at the helm and even better when leading customers out on our SNUBA dives. He’s what you might call a “kiwini-of-all-trades“. Add a tremendously committed crew with exceptional charisma and moxy and you get what we strive for each and every day…”breathtaking, yet relaxing“.

Our captains and their crews take our customers to various locations throughout the Maui region. From snorkeling trips to Molokini, to whale watching trips near Maui, to swimming with sea turtles in Turtle Town, to private charters around Hawaii, we believe that the Lani Kai is the best boat tour in Maui!


Maui is an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. Haleakala National Park encompasses the island’s highest peak, volcanic Haleakala, as well as the pools and waterfalls of Ohe’o Gulch, accessed via scenic, winding Hana Highway. The island’s 30 miles of beaches include golden-crescent Kapalua, sheltered from strong currents by lava-rock promontories.

The Island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the State of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County’s four islands. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444, third-highest of the Hawaiian Islands, behind that of O’ahu and Hawai’I Island. Kahului, home to Ma’alaea Harbor and the Lani Kai, is the largest census-designated place on the island with a population over 26,000 people. Kahului is considered to be the commercial and financial hub of the island. Wailuku is the seat of Maui County and is the third-largest CDP as of 2010.


The Pacific Ocean, in and around Maui, offers some of the most breathtaking snorkeling, whale watching and diving in the world. Calm waters around Molokini Crater (a favorite dive location for Maui Snorkeling), offer outstanding views of the marine life in the region.

Typically-speaking, the waters near Maui tend to be calm in the mornings and usually pick-up later in the day due to trade winds. These somewhat unpredictable trade winds make it difficult for boat captains to know where they can sail until they have a chance to experience the waters for themselves. With this being the case, it’s not unusual for a captain to make a decision after a boat is underway.

Calm waters around Molokini Crater, offer outstanding views of the marine life in the region.”

While we would love to make it to every destination during every trip, we place our full trust in the experienced hands of our veteran captains and crew. They make the call, not someone sitting in an office or watching a news report.