When I was in my early twenties I was lucky enough to snag a job on a sailing and snorkel tour boat. It was a smaller Hobie Cat that was only carried 6 guests which gave us a lot of versatility and flexibility. I have endless stories of adventures and mishaps. Most of them are amusing but a few are tragic and those always involve carelessly assuming the ocean is safe.
Sneaker waves come up and slam you into the sand if you're not watching. The current carries snorkelers into the rocks while they're mesmerized by the underwater magic. But to me the most frightening is being pulled out to sea.
Our little Hobie Cat would scream through the ocean and passengers loved the rush so we often just raced up and down the coast without any destination. One time we were sailing off Kihei and we saw arms waving frantically. A wind surfer had gotten caught up in the fun and found herself far, far from shore. She was sitting on her board, in a current, heading off towards the Big Island. Of course we rescued her and pulled her to shore but what a lucky break for her we saw her.
* Don't turn your back on the ocean
*Don't take your eye's off your children anywhere near water - Drowning is a silent death. If they've cut the finger or broken their arms you'll hear them scream but there's no sound underwater. Don't assume the other adults are paying attention.
*Wear reef-safe sunscreen and drink water. The tropical sun will have you blistered and burnt sooner than you imagine. You can even get heat stroke or dehydration.
*Don't swim alone and at the least have somebody watch from shore.
*Don't go near the cliff edge -Sneaker waves come without warning and are on top of you before you know it.
*Heed the warning signs.
Common sense will keep you safe and let you have the time of your life while visiting Kihei.
Part time Maui resident sharing my Kihei condo with guests when I'm staying in my mainland home.