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Dec 31

Ulua to Mokapu Beach – Maui

Green Sea Turtle
Ulua and Mokapu Beaches are two beautiful beaches located in South Maui, and like most beaches in the Wailea area they are great for snorkeling.  One of the hardest things for Karen and me to do while on vacation in Maui was picking what beach we were going to snorkel at today which was a wonderful problem to have. 
Mokapu Beach

Karen and I set out early for a parking area in the Ulua and Mokapu beach area.  We like to go snorkeling earlier in the morning because the conditions are usually calmer, there is less of a crowd and parking is easier, and we usually have more energy.  We ended up parking at Ulua beach and were there early enough to find plenty of parking.  The beach was nice and sandy was a nice change because the day before we had snorkeled at Ahihi Bay which has a rocky entrance so walking around barefoot in the sand was heavenly.   After we set up our beach towels and I got the camera ready it was time to snorkel.
Yellowfin Goatfish

We headed out from the sandy beach and there was not much to see be a few scattered heads of coral, but as we moved closer to the point and farther out did things start to get a lot better.  We did not get to see large numbers of fish but the ones that we did were very interesting.  One of the more interesting fish that we saw while we were there was a juvenile yellowtail coris.  I had no idea that it was a juvenile until I started doing a little research for this blog post it is a lot of fun to see the differences from a juvenile to adult fish.  Karen and I also got to see what is quickly becoming one of my favorite fish to see the peacock grouper.  The color pattern and spots is very fascinating to me. 
Yellowtail Coris

After swimming out to the point we started to come across a few green sea turtles which is always a highlight to us when we are snorkeling.  On the Mokapu side we saw the biggest sea turtle that we have ever seen.  It is pretty amazing to see this turtles basically come out of nowhere and then before you know it they have disappeared again.  They both swam directly towards us like they wanted to check us out and then swim away.  Overall it was a wonderful snorkeling spot that Karen and I would of liked to visit more often than we did while were there, but there were just too many wonderful places to snorkel that there was never enough time to explore each one thoroughly.      
Big Sea Turtle

Going around the point was a bit of swim and plus all the investigating the coral around that area we were getting pretty tired so we headed in towards Mokapu Beach.  It also had a very nice sandy beach which made the water exit very easy.  Karen and I took off our snorkel flippers and barefooted it back to Ulua Beach.  There was a very nice path that connected the two beaches and it is an extremely short hike back.  Once back to Ulua Beach we took a twenty minute break soaking in the sun.  After a short rest we headed back to our car just about the time the beach was getting crowded.  It was just another wonderful morning in paradise. 
The path between beaches

To get to Ulua and Mokapu Beaches take Highway 31 south past Kihei where you will take a right onto Wailea Iki Dr.  You will stay on Wailea Iki until you hit the stoplight and the Wailea Shops will be infront of you.  Take a right at the shops which is Wailea Alanui Dr. and you will be heading north.  After a ways on the left you will see a small sign for the Mokapu/Ulua beach access follow the sign and hope there is a spot for you to park.
Peacock Grouper

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