Snorkeling in Maui - The Incredible Octopus
Called the "Einstein of invertebrates" the octopus is a real treat to see when you're snorkeling in Maui. Boasting a large brain for its size, this sea creature makes good use of its smarts. It exhibits short and long-term memory skills, uses tools, and is a problem solver who learns by observation. In captivity, octopuses can be trained to solve multiple mazes, while in the wild they've been observed collecting coconut shells from the ocean floor and using them to hide from predators.
Octopuses are classified as Cephalopods, an amazing group of creatures that have inhabited the world's oceans for over 500 million years. After so much time, it's not surprising the octopus has developed all kinds of intriguing ways to adapt and survive. Most notably the octopus is a true master of disguise. With its body covered in millions of neurons, muscle fibers, and pigment cells, an octopus can change its color and texture to match its surroundings in an instant. Many predators (and snorkelers) swim right past them oblivious to their presence. When threatened, octopuses also have several weapons at their defense. Using their own jet propulsion, they can move through the water incredibly fast. They can also squirt a cloud of black ink obscuring their escape from predators.
If you want to see an octopus while snorkeling in Maui, you're in luck. The "Day Octopus" is the most common octopus in Hawaiian waters and can usually be found in and around Maui's near shore reefs—you just have to be observant! Snorkel slowly—very slowly—and carefully scan the rocks and coral reef. They often hide in plain sight blending with whatever surface they're resting upon. It's truly fascinating to watch an octopus zoom through the water like a streamlined bullet, then land on a surface and "turn themselves into a rock!"
To learn more about the "incredible octopus" or Maui's other amazing sea creatures, check back often and pick up a copy of our guidebook, Mask, Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!