Snorkeling in Maui - Reef Care - Sunscreen
There's nothing like snorkeling in Maui at Honolua Bay where you'll find coral and sea life in abundance! We've seen just about everything the warm waters of Maui have to offer at Honolua—green sea turtles, colorful squid, all kinds of eels, octopus, and a myriad of fish species. Its marine preserve status and vast area of healthy coral are major factors to the diverse sea life you'll find in this top snorkeling spot. To keep Honolua Bay and all of Maui's beautiful reefs healthy, it's up to each of us to be good reef stewards. Part Four of our Reef Care Tips takes a look at sunscreen use.
Smart Sunscreen Practices: We can spend hours snorkeling Honolua Bay and often do! But if you're going to spend that kind of time in the water, you have to protect your skin or you'll regret it for the rest of your trip! With the number of people who snorkel in Maui that's a lot of sunscreen going into the water. It's estimated that up to 6000 metric tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers' bodies annually with serious potential to damage coral reefs.
Fortunately there are smart sunscreen practices you can follow to minimize your impact on the reef while still protecting your skin. First, consider using a "reef friendly" sunscreen. Tour boat operators usually offer these sunscreens on their excursions and a variety can be found on the island. Second, always apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before entering the water. Giving sunscreen time to absorb not only increases its effectiveness, but helps prevent excess sunscreen from washing into the water. And finally, consider investing in sun-protective clothing to cover your back and arms. "Skins" provide great protection and minimize the need for sunscreen. Many are UPF rated, providing an additional defense for sensitive skin or those spending hours in the sun (think surfers). You can find skins in all price ranges on Maui from surf shops to big box stores.
For more ways you can help protect Maui's beautiful reefs, check back frequently or pick up a copy of Mask Fins & Snorkel: The Adventure Guide to Maui's Best Snorkeling!