A Guide to Maui: Mala Wharf
Location: Southwestern coastline of the island of Maui, about 10 minutes from Lahaina Harbor between Lahaina and Ka’anapali
Depth: 10-30 feet
Good for seeing: Hawaiian green sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, nenue (lowfin chubs), goatfish, octopus, black durgeon, frogfish, parrotfish.
Best time of year to snorkel at Mala: Mala Wharf can offer fantastic snorkeling during all times of the year, and even though it’s a short sail from Lahaina Harbor, it offers some of the best snorkeling and diving on the west side of the island.
Reasons we might not snorkel here: There can sometimes be south swells during the summer months which bring large surf to Mala, in which case we would opt for a location further north such as Namalu Bay or Mokulei’a.
History: Mala wharf was once a fully-functioning pier which served as a shipping facility for the island’s pineapple and agriculture. In 1992, however, 30 ft. surf came marching into Lahaina as a result of Hurricane Iniki, and the end of the dock was completely destroyed. Today, the pilings from the old dock lie scattered along the ocean floor, and what was once a shipping facility above water is now a healthy artificial reef which is home to a vast array of marine life.