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Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui

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Raring to go to Four Winds Maui? Read more about my recent trip below to see how it could be the next best travel activity for you and your entire family.

This Four Winds Maui Family Snorkel Trip post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

In celebration of my Mother-in-Law’s 70th birthday, we all got together for a trip to Maui. Since we were all going to be together, we thought we should do a special activity with everyone. We decided that since she loves to swim and make memories with the grandkids, doing a snorkel trip might be the right fit.

Choosing the Right Snorkel Trip

I did a lot of research on the various boat trips we could do on Maui. Since we’d be bringing our 2.5-year-old, I was worried he would be restless and stuck on the boat the whole time, especially since he might be too young to regulate snorkel flow. Many boats seemed geared for kids ages eight and up, which would have worked for everyone except our toddler. When I found the Four Winds Maui, their website featured small children! Jackpot! They also showcased a variety of diving equipment suitable for all ages.

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui: Owen enjoying his muffin as we set sail on the Four Winds Maui

Owen enjoying his muffin as we set sail on the Four Winds Maui.

Arrival and Boarding Confusion

We were told to arrive by 7 am for our 7:30 am departure. The website said to park on slip 55, but the boat ended up on slip 80, which was a decent walk for our group of 14 children and adults. We followed several groups who were also confused about where the boat was. This confusion made us feel a bit rushed; by the time we got on the boat, very few seats were available.

Setting Sail and Initial Activities

When we were all settled, the Captain introduced himself and explained the plan for the day. It sounded like things would be set for Molokini, but there was a chance that the wind would be too strong and the waves would be too choppy. We were going to try to make it, though.

Then, the sales pitches started for snuba, underwater cameras, underwater photography services, wet suits, etc., all designed to prevent water from spoiling the equipment. I already knew about them because I combed through the website before booking, but some people at our party felt like it was a little much, and they just wanted to get going. Some of our family headed downstairs to get drinks and grab fruit and muffins.

Adapting to Changing Conditions

We headed out of the harbor, and the waves started to get choppy after about 20 minutes. My toddler kept shouting “wee” when he was hurled from left to right, but my nephew felt overwhelmed with all the movement. The Captain announced that we’d be turning away from Molokini to have more time to snorkel and brought us to Coral Gardens.

They passed out the fins and snorkel flow masks on the ride and offered a snorkeling class on board right before we anchored. This includes using the diving equipment for proper snorkel flow.

Each snorkel was equipped with a one-way valve to prevent water entry, better snorkel flow, and reduce jaw fatigue, enhancing the snorkeling experience.

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui

Owen and Grandma waiting for a floatation device before heading into the Ocean.

Snorkeling at Coral Gardens

At Coral Gardens, we had 2.5 hours to snorkel, and that’s a long time to enjoy if you know how to control your snorkel flow. Since I didn’t plan on going in the water, I thought I might get bored with that much time on the boat. I was wrong! I couldn’t believe how quickly the time flew.

We let the masses enter the water while I hung out with our toddler on the upper deck. We watched many family members get into the water and start snorkeling, which my toddler found fascinating. He really wanted to go into the water, too, so my Mom and Mother-in-Law decided to go out with him.

The Four Winds Maui has cool flotation devices with a peephole for kids to lay on to look at the fish. The crew members were really helpful, bringing them the floaties and helping our toddler! They loaded my toddler (wearing a life vest and water wings) onto one. My Mom and Mother-in-Law pulled him around the ocean so he could participate.

Almost instantly, all his cousins swarmed the flotation and snorkel flow device, and my son was in heaven being a part of the experience! The enhanced snorkel flow devices featured one-way valves to streamline the snorkeling for the children and ensure they could enjoy the view without interruption.

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui: Lunch on the Four Winds Maui

Owen devouring a kalua pork sandwich and chips on board the Four Winds Maui.

Lunch and More Snorkeling Fun

While he was in the water, I took many iPhone photos and videos. Then I headed inside to grab lunch (at 9:30 a.m.). They had hot dogs, kalua pork sandwiches, burgers, and chicken. They had lots of burger toppings, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and potato chips. There was also an assortment of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

When I grabbed some food and water, my son and most of the family were ready to return to the boat to warm up and get food. My toddler devoured half my kalua pork sandwich (which was really tasty) and at least one cup full of chips. As time went on, the majority of swimmers came on board to get food. This was perfect timing because we were all done eating and ready to hit the water again!

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui: Coral Gardens Snorkeling on the Four Winds Maui

Snorkeling at Coral Gardens from the Four Winds Maui

Thrills on the Waterslide

My son wanted to go down the waterslide, and his cousins offered to accompany him. I took him down there, and the slide looked awesome but too intense for a 2.5-year-old. Maybe he’d be ready in a year or two.

But my nieces and nephews all went down the slide and had the time of their lives! They are all very experienced swimmers, and they were able to try going down one way on their tummies and backward! I held my son while we watched his cousins fly down the slides; he was giddy just watching them!

Then, he said he wanted to go back into the water. My husband was already back out there snorkeling. I shouted for him to meet me at the back of the boat so he could grab a flotation and snorkel flow device. Our son swam/floated for a while before he was all done and wanted to head back up.

It was good timing because we only had about 15 minutes of snorkel flow time left before everyone came back on board, and we headed back to the harbor. On the ride back, we were offered chocolate chip cookies that were also very tasty!

After about 5 minutes in the car, our toddler passed out and stayed asleep for quite some time! When he woke up, he kept going on and on about the boat ride, swimming, and watching his cousins on the slide. This was a great adventure for our whole family!

Fun in the Sun: Family Snorkel Tour with Four Winds Maui

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Tuesday 8th of May 2018

Was it a large boat? My husband gets seasick easily and we have a 3yo and a 9mo, I figure I can't take both in the water if he has to take care of himself :-/ He fares better on large boats (less wavy movement when anchored?). Your write up makes me really want to take my family to do this for our trip to Maui next month!


Wednesday 9th of May 2018

I'd say it was a medium sized boat. There was a small area downstairs where they did the buffet breakfast and lunch and then a larger area up top. I'm prone to motion sickness (plus I was pregnant) and I was fine. I don't think I saw anyone get sick on board. You might contact them directly to get a better sense of the size of the boat. Either way, have a blast on Maui!


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

This sounds like so much fun and looks like y'all are having the time of y'alls lives.


Tuesday 16th of May 2017

It was a great memory!

Elizabeth O.

Sunday 14th of May 2017

It sounds like an amazing adventure for the family and it's so nice that your son got to experience it as well. He might be too young but he still had a great time so that makes it worth it.


Saturday 13th of May 2017

Omg how fun!!! We are going on vacation in july and we're thinking of adding snorkeling to our schedule. Looks like it would've loads of fun


Saturday 13th of May 2017

I'm so glad you were able to find something to accommodate all of you! Thank can be the trickiest part of family vacations. I've never been snorkeling. I am going to put it on my bucket list now. ;)


Sunday 14th of May 2017

I don't snorkel and I still had a great trip!

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