Trying to keep our vacation as unplanned and relaxed as possible we decided to try one last outing away from the hotel. We took a 20 minute cab ride up the coast to see the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. It is set right on the harbor where they can use the seawater for water changes in their tanks. It was fun to see some amazing displays of marine wildlife without having to get our feet wet.
We arrived at the aqaurium around lunch time so we decided to eat lunch first at a nearby cafe called the Blue Marlin. It was an open-air cafe with a beautiful view of the harbor where we could watch the boats coming in. The lunch was delicious, we had fish and chips, clam chowder and the lunch special – shrimp alfredo.
The thing I enjoyed most about the aquarium was the different points of view either above the water looking down or from the side window view ports below. I especially enjoyed the shark displays. This was a small tank full of hammerhead sharks. There were 6-7 hammerheads measuring around 4-5 feet long mixed in with some Blue Jacks and other filler fish.
Another very cool feature was their walk-through shark tunnel that measured nearly 100 feet long in a radius curve. It truly felt like you were in the water with the fish. When a giant Manta Ray swam right over my head I reached out and tried to touch it. Although the plexi-glass tunnel was nearly 6 inches thick it didn’t seem that way when a white tip shark would come right up and look you in the face.
One of their showcase features is the tank full of adolescent Green Sea Turtles. Jolynn and I got to see one while snorkeling on Wailea Beach but I couldn’t get a picture of it. The turtles at the aquarium were much smaller but much more willing to have their pictures taken. Notice the turtle crossing sign in the back.
Back in the comfort of our own beach is where Jolynn and I went snorkeling the most. There was always plenty of interesting fish to watch. We even got to see the Green Sea Turtles in the wild. On a return trip I saw three of them swimming together near the drop-off on the edge of the reef. My favorite fish to watch was the Blue Jacks. They look a lot like Bluefin Tuna and swam in schools on the edge of the reef near the deep water.
It was nice to go to the aquarium and learn the proper names of all the beautiful fish that we had been seeing in the ocean. I bought a book about the fishes of Maui so Travis can help me identify all the fish that I took pictures of while I was snorkeling in Maui.