Need snorkel/SCUBA recommendations for Maui

Discussion in 'Hawaii' started by Scottrick, Jan 19, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I'm heading to Maui in a couple weeks and looking for a recommendation on a company for a SCUBA day trip. Neither my girlfriend nor I are certified. I've done it several times, but this is her first (first time at SCUBA, and first time to Hawaii), and she wants to try it before we aim for certification on the next trip.

    Pacific Whale Foundation seems to have the best snorkel charters, but I figure, since some of the SCUBA charters go to the same places (Molokini, Turtle Town) we might as well just do the SCUBA trip and then snorkel near the beaches. Unfortunately PWF doesn't do SCUBA. Does anyone else have a recommendation? Preferably not too sketch... I like a comfortable boat.

    Also, the concierge at the Hyatt is trying to push us to do a dinner cruise. IMO I can see the sunset from the deck at Kimo's and don't need to spend $100 to sit on a boat for the same thing. Does anyone have opinions on whether the dinner cruises, whale-watching boats, or other on-the-water trips are worthwhile? My last time on Maui was a decade ago, and I've blocked out a lot of my memories from the high school years. :eek:
     
  2. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    you can do the maui submarine tour.....Its scuba, but you are IN the air tank......

    I was SCUBA certified a couple of years ago. Theres some book learning, but its so rewarding when the instructor gives you a thumbs up after I finished the underwater navigation part ending the certification dives. Especially since I dont know how to swim. :confused:
     
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  3. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I would be very, very surprised to find any operator that would take you on an open water dive without certification. Trial dives are generally limited to a swimming pool, an enclosed body of water, or a very calm stretch of beach with water you can stand in. Open water diving is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
     
  4. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, yes, which is why there's some instruction involved. I've done dives like this a couple times, including near Sharks Cove on Oahu and further out in the open water Puerto Vallarta. I also know that at least some organizations on Maui do dives for uncertified divers, such as Lahaina Divers.

    The way it's worked in the past is there's usually an hour or so going over the equipment, etc. When I've been on a boat, it's done on the way out. When I've gone near the shore, it's been at the dive shop before driving out. Although I would like to get certified (because I'm tired of the same 1-2 hour orientation each time), that takes more time and money than either of us want to spend on this particular trip.
     
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  5. asanders0001

    asanders0001 Silver Member

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    There was a pretty nice dive shop in Lahaina, not too far from the Hyatt. I think it was called Maui Dive Shop, not sure what they would do for uncertified divers. You might look at trying to take a quick course at local dive shop before you leave (all the book work, and some practice in a pool) and then you can do your open-water check out dives in Maui, and get certified. A couple weeks might not be enough time, unless they can do a condensed couple day weekend course or something.
     
  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Their resort dive looks great -- on the reef in shallow water.
     
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  7. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Before I was certified, there was a type of dive that we went on whenever we were in the Riviera Maya in Mexico that involved you having a regulator connected to a surface buoy and you had about 20-30 feet of hose. It combined the bene's of snorkel and scuba without any training. I think it was called SNUBA or something to that effect. My wife liked it because it didnt require certification.
     
  8. msv
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    msv Gold Member

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    Easy question - Ulua beach in Wailea. Snorkeling is fantastic and many scuba divers come there too. You need to arrive early to get parking. I've been there 4 times and it's fantastic! Go out near the right side and there is a very nice reef. Turtles often seen and in season you can really see the whales!
     
  9. From NYC
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    From NYC Gold Member

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    I recommend doing a search for a PADI 5-star scuba shop on Maui and seeing if they’ll do what you’re looking for. Any reputable place will not let you go deep, and will keep a close eye on you. If you find a place that’s gonna let you dive down below 30 ft. and swim around, I’d be very wary. Best ask them how many divemasters will be in the water with you and will they be keeping an eye on you, just in case you get distracted or a current comes along.

    Took my 1st diving lessons back in the days of double hoses, no pressure gauges, and only horse collar floatation devices. Then, after graduate school, became PADI certified, learned how to use the new, easier gear that you almost don’t have to know how to swim to use, and have been diving for 35 years.

    You may think that, because you’ve done these other dives, that you’re experienced and that you know what you’re doing. That, to me, would make you dangerous unless I was watching you constantly and knew that you’d follow my directions under the water.

    Sorry to be a downer, but I’ve seen what happens to people who don’t know enough and who haven’t studied or dived enough to know what they don’t know and think they can handle themselves. I agree that I don’t know you, and have not seen your previous dives. :)

    A proper PADI 5 star place should allow you to have fun while keeping you safe.:)

    I’d also recommend that you have a look at, and consider subscribing to
    http://www.undercurrent.org/

    You can get their chapbook if you subscribe and get a handle on Maui and other places you could go diving. You’d also see what certified divers think of various dive operations, like a Zagat.

    I think it would be great to get certified. Diving has been my escape from the world, and as close as I figured I’d ever get to space travel with being weightless and interacting with alien lifeforms. And you should really consider doing your course and poolwork before you go, then doping your checkout dives once there. It’ll be a whole ‘nother experience.

    For me, I’m not a fan of sunset cruises. I’ve gone on some whale-watching trips, but you never know. But I’ve been on some dives in Hawaii with whales and dolphins, more off the Big Island with Dive Makai, and that’s something I’ll never forget, amongst many great memories.
     
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  10. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Thank you everyone for your concern. I am not trying to get out of taking a course. I simply don't have time. I don't want to spend three of my five mornings on dives, and my girlfriend doesn't want to commit to a course when she's never tried it before. This is supposed to be an opportunity for her to see what SCUBA is like while also getting our Molokini snorkel fix. I know about snuba, and that's not the same thing. PADI has a some kind of "certificate-light" program that allows you to take an hour or two of instruction that allows you to take supervised shallow-water dives for a year from the date of instruction. I know because I have at least three of these cards lying around somewhere.

    I don't want to go deep, nor do I expect some wild open water diving. I only know that shallow water dives of a few hours do exist that involve boats out to places like Turtle Town and Molokini. If someone knows of a group that gives a good tour, I'd appreciate your recommendation.
     
  11. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    The problem with not being certified is that the best dives all require some technical skill that the tour companies won't take you on without being certified. The non-certified dives all have to be in relatively calm water and controlled situations - which usually mean lots of sandy bottoms without places for fish to hide. All of the best dives in my life have been on cliff-sides - which have tons of great hiding places for invertebrates and fish, but can drop off for several hundred feet, so you have to be good at maintaining your depth.

    If you're in Seattle, I got my PADI certification at Underwater Sports on Aurora. It was years ago, but they were good, and they have their own pool which makes it convenient to take classes there.

    I would have to say that the one dive I remember doing on Maui more than anything else is doing a night dive at Black Rock, in Kaanapali. It's a shore dive that starts on a golf course just north of Black Rock. Our dive took us south around Black Rock, and there is a ton of colorful invertebrate life that you can see at night - we saw a spanish dancer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6H01cUSpfQ - not my video) swimming around which was awesome. Doing the dive at night made it way more awesome, as everything was just lit up by our flashlights, and since you're not relying on the sun's rays penetrating the water the colors are way more vivid.
    As an added bonus, the dive ends right in front of the Kaanapali Westin, so you can sneak onto the property and do a "rinse" dive in their pools/lagoon if you have any remaining air.

    I think there are some companies that will take you snorkeling here, but probably not at night. I'm not sure if anyone would take you scuba diving at Black Rock without certification (another reason to get certified! it's really not that much work).

    Also I can't remember the name of the dive company that took us out to Molokini (I think it was Lahaina divers, but I can't recall for certain - it was 10 years ago!) but the -BEST- part about Molokini is the back wall of the crater. You can see huge tuna and jacks out there, plus sharks and rays out in the deep blue. Another certification-only dive. Inside the crater is terrific, too. Certainly worth a snorkel/dive too.

    Not trying to pile on about certification. I totally understand about not having time, though. I'm trying to write my dissertation right now! urg!

    However, I would say its worth getting certified. The Seattle area has some great diving. There's the dive-park out by the Edmonds ferry dock - they've got a "bottle garden" where octopus love to hide, and a sunken dry dock wreck. Keystone Jetty on Whidbey Island is a pretty cool spot, as the ling cod like to hide out in the rocks. Plus, some of the best diving in the world is up near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island - just a ferry-ride (or two) away.
     
  12. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I'm not getting certified on this trip.

    If no one is specifically aware of dive shops that do uncertified dives, I would be interested in recommendations on dive shops in general, and I could check up on which ones also have programs for uncertified divers.

    Edit: Sorry if I've been gruff with people. I just really, really don't have the time to get certified on this trip, and Megan is a cautious person who wants to try it out first. I think the debate over whether I should get certified or not was off-topic, since my original question was really just about who would give us a good experience. I already know a SCUBA trip for non-certified divers is going to be less than stellar.
     
  13. msv
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    msv Gold Member

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    Check out this link for Maui

    Just an FYI I didn't find Molokini all that exciting but you can do snuba there. Also the water is much rougher in Feb.
     
  14. From NYC
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    The last time I dove in Maui, I went with the outfit at the hotel, Grand Wailea, I was staying at on an underwater scooter trip. A bunch of years ago.

    However, doing a Google search, I came up with this for you.
    http://www.scubadviser.com/destinations_1.aspx?id=1:35219&id2=0:37211,0:36373,0:36088&id4=0:36511
    The listings are for all of Hawaii, but it’s a short list and includes outfits on Maui, with some reader reviews:

    B&B Scuba
    Extended Horizons
    Maui Dreams

    You can read those reviews, though the ones on Undercurrent are much more pervasive, and trustworthy?, as it’s a well-known publication, and then contact each one to see what they’ll offer you. Undercurrent would list more operators, as well as give you reviews. If the above isn’t enough to get you going, is the cost of the subscription to Undercurrent so much that you’d leave it to chance rather than see what others have liked? I’ve gotten terrific leads and recommendations from Undercurrent.
     
  15. asanders0001

    asanders0001 Silver Member

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    I didn't dive while I was in Maui because my wife isn't certified, but we did go snorkeling. I agree Molokini wasn't that great. We thought black rock was better.
     
  16. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    My wife and I were certified dog's years ago on Koh Phangan in Thailand. If you can make the time, I'd definitely consider something like that rather than starting in a pool. The advantages:
    • Can be a lot cheaper.
    • You're in a beautiful place while you're learning.
    • All your in water work is in beautiful, warm water. So we started seeing stuff the moment our heads went underwater.
    (not suggesting this for the OP who's not in the market for certification, just in general).
     
  17. jfhscott
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  18. cliburn
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    cliburn Gold Member

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    What part of Maui are you travelling to? These guys are out of Kanapaali and have a real first class boat -- not very crowded and excellent food (post snorkel/scuba).
    They offer a resort dive for non-certified divers.
    http://www.sailingmaui.com/Hula_Girl/snorkel-scuba.htm
     
  19. jiali

    jiali New Member

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    I know only one thing about that. My friend went there for whale watch tour and he was very satisfied with his tour when he came back.
     
  20. From NYC
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  21. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    We took a snorkel tour with Pacific Whale Foundation and saw tons of whales. I wouldn't recommend a separate whale tour. It was the same boat going to the same places; the snorkelers just happen to be group 1 and the whale spotters are sitting there on the dock when you get back for their turn.

    As for SCUBA, we did a pool dive first and Megan freaked, so nothing in the ocean this trip (later I explained that your ears are supposed to feel funny, as long as it's not painful). But yeah, most beginner outfits are pool and shore dives, with a small number of companies that do boat dives (but still near the shore).
     
  22. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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  23. frostfire

    frostfire New Member

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    I have had very good experiences with Lahaina Divers going to Molokini and Lanai. On a trip this summer I had a bad experience with 5 star scuba at the Westin in Ka'anapsli. I paid them $600 to do the three day junior certification for my child a few days before their tenth birthday. Instruction for the class consisted of handing the kid the text book and sending her off with me to teach the material! When I told the instructor Abby Cox that she needed to teach the repetitive dive tables, as I have dived 25 years using a computer, she informed me that she had no time to teach them because she was the only instructor there. The kid finished the course and passed. I then got a phone call the next week from Abby who announced that Padi had rejected the kid's paperwork because she was a few days too young. Not only did they fail to check the paperwork before or after 'teaching' the course, but she then just said 'Sorry you wasted $600' and hung up. I was able to get Padi to honor the certification on the kid's birthday, but 5 star and Abby left a terrible taste to the vacation. Stay far away from them!
     

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