Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii

Fish Rain is a great dive site and probably has one of the highest densities of marine species that you will find while scuba diving in Maui County.  This site would rate even higher if it were easier to access. Scuba diving in Moloki is challenging, this is not a dive for the novice.  In fact any time you have to cross the Pailolo Channel you are in for an interesting ride.  Seas can regularly be between 6 and 10 feet with strong gust or steady winds.  The Pailolo Channel is one of the windiest and roughest of the Hawaiian Island channels.  Seas of 4 to 6 feet

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Awesome visibility

should be considered calm water and it takes about 45 minutes to get to the dive site.  Do not attempt this dive unless you do not have a problem with motion sickness, you are not intimidated by rough seas, and you are not concerned about exiting or reentering the boat while it is moving.  But….what a great dive.  In fact this is one of my favorite dives on the planet.

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Rebreather diving on Fish Rain

There are no buoys on the north east side of Molokai, no place for a boat to tie up and the usually choppy to rough surface conditions mean the boats must stay in constant motion when dropping or picking up divers.  There will be rigid instructions given for entry and reentry into the boat and these must be followed.  The dive masters and captains regularly take ginger before making this trip.  So again, Fish Rain is not for novice divers.
Now….to the good stuff….

Fish Rain Rating = 4.63out of 5

  • Visibility – Very good to excellent; typically the best visibility in Maui County
  • Access – Difficult to reach the site; 45 to 60 minutes from Lahaina Harbor; Complex entry and exit; Advanced level only
  • Current – variable – moderate to quite strong
  • Depth to 120 ft / 36 m
  • Reef health Hard / Soft Corals – Excellent, wonderful corals all around Mokuhooniki Rock
  • Marine species variety – Excellent, Wonderful diversity and high number of species;
  • Pelagics / Mammals / Turtles / Rays – Sharks, sharks, sharks many dives with 10+ Hammerheads, White reef tips, occasional Tiger Shark, Monk Seals, and much more…..AWESOME

Fish Rain Overview

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Milletseed Butterflyfish. Chaetodon miliaris. Molokai Hawaii

Fish Rain is a really awesome scuba diving site.  It is on the far eastern side of Molokai near Mokuhooniki Rock.  You go to this site for Hammerheads and you get the bonus of amazing diversity and quantity of marine life.  The site depth is to about 110 – 120 feet, 36 meters around the pinnacle/Mokuhooniki Rock.  There are sea grass beds along the

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Pennant Butterflyfish, Heniochus diphreutes, Molokai Hawaii

bottom between Mokuhooniki Rock and the island of Molokai and this is where you will often find the Hammerheads swimming.  You will see a wide variety of hard coral on the lava slopes of the pinnacle and such a great variety of fish surrounding  that will make you think it is literally “raining” fish, hence the name of this site.

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Blackside Hawkfish. Paracirrhites forsteri. Molokai Hawaii

If the weather is good and there is adequate sunlight this site makes a really nice place for underwater photography and the opportunity to see large pelagic species.  If you do not encounter sharks or other pelagic species, do not worry this Fish Rain will not disappoint.
You will need to exit the boat as it is moving.  The seas are typically 2 to 4 feet as you enter the water.  You will be given precise instructions on how to get into a ready position for entry into the water and you need to follow these closely.  You will typically gear up and wait at your station until signaled by your dive master.  You will then queue up in groups and when the dive master says “Dive, Dive, Dive” you enter the water, with your camera or other gear and swim quickly away from the boat as all divers in your group will be entering one right after the other.  Your inner “navy seal” will love this.  So enjoy.
Once in the water you will descend as a group quickly as you do not want to stay on the surface here for an extended period of time.  As you descend you will notice immediately the large number of fish surrounding you and the pinnacle.  You will see hundreds of fish including various Butterflyfishes such as the Pennant Butterflyfish and Milletseed Butterflyfish.  You will also see Eels, Unicornfishes, all types of Wrasses and much more.  A camera of some type is a must for this location if you can.  The lava p

Fish Rain, Molokai Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

Starfish. Linckia multifora. Molokai Hawaii

innacle has lots of very healthy hard corals covering the slope down to the sea floor which tends to be covered in sea grass.  You will more than likely go to around 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 meters) just off the pinnacle on your first dive and “hang out” waiting to for the Hammerhead sharks.  The sharks can be anywhere in the water column so make sure your head is on a swivel.  You will more than likely at least get a view of the sharks in the distance and if you are patient and do not frighten them away they may come in to investigate your dive group.   The Hammerheads are easily frightened or chased away so do not chase them as soon as you see them.  Be patient and wait for them to approach your group, they are basically curious and you may b

Shortnose Wrasse, Macropharyngodon geoffroy, (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824), and Yellowtail Coris, Coris gaimard, (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824), Molokai Hawaii (Steven W SMeltzer)

Shortnose Wrasse. Yellowtail Coris. Molokai Hawaii

e rewarded to see them up close.  I usually carry a little bit of extra weight on this dive to enable me to descend quickly if I see Hammerheads at depth.
Fish Rain is more or less a drift dive and you will follow your instructor and then surface and wait for the boat to come and pick you up.  You must have a safety sausage or signaling device when on this dive.  It is extremely difficult to see a diver in calm waters from a distance and in these seas without a signaling device you can easily be missed.  When you surface, have one or more of the people in your group inflate their safety sausage and then wait until the ship spots you.  You could be on the surface for 15 minutes before you are picked up, especially if you have more than one group in the water.  The boat will typically have a line in the water and all divers will need to use the rope for reentry to the boat.  As the boat comes by simply grab and hold onto the line and then wait your turn to approach and enter the boat.  Be prepared and be patient.  This is certainly one of my favorite scuba diving sites and highly recommended to very experienced divers.

As in all dives I recommend going slowly and take time to appreciate the site. Read other dive site reviews on my blog and see other underwater photographs on my website and follow me on Twitter @ images2inspire. The pool is open…