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Maui v. the Big Island, which has better snorkeling?

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Hi,

Planning our first visit to HI in early September (myself, husband and daughter (early 20s). We will be spending 9 nights and splitting our stay between Oahu and either Maui or the Big Island. Looking forward to lots of sightseeing and activities on Oahu - Pearl Harbor, surf lessons, exploring chinatown, driving out to the north shore (and for DD, shopping and seeing any of the locations where LOST filmed).

For the second island, we know it will be more relaxing and we are trying to decide between Maui v. the Big Island. Deciding factor may come down to better snorkeling, as it is an activity we all enjoy. We're interested in both off shore experiences, where you can just wade in from the beach, as well as boat excursions (eg Molokini crater). I have 3 different guidebooks but am having a hard time determining which island would be better for this in early September. I humbly turn to fellow Fodorites for your opinions.

Thanks for any insights you can provide.

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