Trip Report Maui dive report

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ChrisM

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Went last week, May 9-16. Not a dedicated dive trip, but just get a bit wet among all the other things to do. I have been diving there since '92 when we got certified here. Unless you cert in a quarry, the first place you dive is always "wow," cuz it is. But last trip was 2012 and my wife and I recall being underwhelmed with the boat diving. I have 1K pls dives, my wife 800 plus, we've been a lot of places. We are not jaded (at least I don't think so) and enjoy a nice muck or cruise dive looking for small things, and don't need perfect conditions. Most dives in California kelp. We had in recent years been going to Coz and other locales as the diving was better and cheaper (even though my wife's family has a place in Kihei that's always available)

Plan was two boat dive days (thought about three but after booking two, at $900, that was enough), and then 2-3 shore dives.

First trip out was Lahaina Divers to Lanai. I cannot recommend them. Our DM was a young guy, Conor, who was enthusiastic enough but rushed through the Second Cathedrals dive and didn't seem to see anything to point out. Mixed group of skill levels but generally competent. Briefing was OK, and noted a 40-45 minute dive (!). That said, I was still surprised at 43 minutes when we had ended up back under the boat, pointed at us, held up two fingers circling below, then up. 60 ish feet, 48 minute dive with 1000 PSI left.... I recall years ago second Cathedral being given a little more leash to explore, like a jungle gym. That's a lot of air to leave in a tank for the price....

Second dive was Lighthouse. Basically route was out to a little point, but with the rising current, after 10 or so minutes go back into the current towards the boat, then to a little cave that was silted our by the time we looked in, although even without silt there didn't appear much to see. That was it. Muck around under the boat a little (did see two fire dart fish). Similar dive profile but the current cost a couple hundred psi and ascended with 700 PSI. Nothing much pointed out here either. About $525 for that experience. I get that maybe they need to cut dives at 45 minutes because it's a longer boat ride out and back (hour ish), but maybe explain that as part of the process, or leave earlier, or... We were back at the dock 12 ish. I am used to being in a group but being able to dive our own air, while also giving consideration to not making people wait forever topside if they have to go up. Usually not much of an issue. But I have not been instructed to come up from a dive in years.

The crew generally, and especially the captain, seemed bothered by our presence, and in a hurry to be rid of all of us. My wife was geared up, capt came over, grabbed her tank valve and pulled it up, "Ready?" My wife didn't hear him, and within 2 or 3 seconds he said "OK no," and forcefully pushed the tank back down. Felt very institutional, like they were all just dong a job, and not a lot of passion for diving.

Next dive was Mala Ramp, the diving highlight and unfortunately our only shore dive. Rented tanks from Extended Horizon up the street, he (Erik?) gave a few pointers and tips, and off we went. Bit of a long walk along the pier to drop in, but what a great dive. Fantastic viz, tons of turtles (at least 11 in view at one point), sharks, eels, lots of fish life. Dive was 1:05 and still had over 1K, wish I would have lingered longer at the platform turnaround. Best dive in Maui in a long while

Third day, went out with Maui Dreams for a backwall dive, Ma'alaea Harbor. First off, great operation. Enthusiastic DMs, (we had Dave), captain Joe was engaging and friendly, efficient procedures and very helpful. I am fine setting up and breaking down my own gear, but sometimes it's nice (and easier for the crew) if they set up and get everyone on the boat, then I can adjust as needed. They took all gear and staged it at our station. Each station had a dedicated drybox beneath. Have good covid protocols that they explained, seemed to be a full boat, there were 18 divers, 3 DMs and 2 crew Able to dive our own profiles, computers and air consumption (GREAT warm water hose at the back of the boat). Backwall dive, 103 ft for 53 minutes, the topography is impressive, but it's not the greatest wall dive. We did see a big Galapagos shark at a cleaning station.

Was booked as a double back wall but we were both fine moving on, I would not have wanted the same backwall dive from a different view, and the wind was up so went to the lee of Maui to a place called Stonewall along the Pali, live boat dive to Ladders, a place I hadn't dived before. Max 35 feet, 76 minute dive time, plenty to see mucking around the reef and Dave was great at pointing out some cool critters. Close to the harbor so short ride in, at the harbor they rinsed the gear if you wanted. Really great crew that clearly enjoyed eachother's company, loved diving, and wanted to give the guests a good experience. Would use them again in a heartbeat.

Temps were 76-77, I got cold on the second dives in a 3 mil, especially at Lanai when there was not much to see. My wife and I both recall enjoying Lanai much more, and neither of us are sure whether the diving has declined or it was just the operation that made it less fun. Following the Lanai dives we actually had a discussion whether we would bring dive gear if and when we come back. We questioned it after Lanai, it's a lot of weight to haul around. But after Mala and Maui Dreams we both said we would bring it back, but only for certain dives.

Lots of other stuff to enjoy, and down time (first post covid airplane trip), had a great week and enjoyed the island.
 

DiveMaven

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The Maui Diamond (aka Maui Dreams) also goes to Lanai, though not on a regular schedule. You would have had a much different experience with them vs Lahaina Divers. Joe and Dave are former Ed Robinson’s crew and they captain and DM the same as before. Don, the owner of The Maui Diamond, expects a high level of customer service, friendliness, fun, and “critter finding” of his crew, and I haven’t been disappointed being led by any of his DMs. They’re really great about long bottom times and letting people dive their tanks to about a 70 min max or so.
 

drrich2

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Sorry to hear it didn't all go as hoped, but glad some did. I imagine your trip report may be quite helpful to people researching Maui as a destination. What other things did you do besides dive? What drew you to Maui as opposed to 'the big island,' etc...? I've never been to Hawaii.
 

ChrisM

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Sorry to hear it didn't all go as hoped, but glad some did. I imagine your trip report may be quite helpful to people researching Maui as a destination. What other things did you do besides dive? What drew you to Maui as opposed to 'the big island,' etc...? I've never been to Hawaii.

Maui primarily because my wife's family has a place there. Have dived the Big Island twice on the Aggressor. Overall I like the diving a bit better in Kona, but it does get a bit same-same over a week. Dec - April in Maui you have a shot at seeing whales underwater and you will definitely hear them singing (even snorkeling), which is magical and worth a few dives.

Otherwise I did some road biking (climbed Haleakala), a few touristy things, Haleakala sunrise, ate at some good restaurants, beach time and relaxing. We've been going long enough, even tho it's been a while. that we don't like to fill out dance cards chock full of doing stuff.
 

ChrisM

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The Maui Diamond (aka Maui Dreams) also goes to Lanai, though not on a regular schedule. You would have had a much different experience with them vs Lahaina Divers. Joe and Dave are former Ed Robinson’s crew and they captain and DM the same as before. Don, the owner of The Maui Diamond, expects a high level of customer service, friendliness, fun, and “critter finding” of his crew, and I haven’t been disappointed being led by any of his DMs. They’re really great about long bottom times and letting people dive their tanks to about a 70 min max or so.

Used to love diving ER's

I see the MD Lanai trip schedules to return between 2-3. that's two more hours than Lahaina Divers although it is a bit further from Ma'alaea
 

Adobo

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Is there recommendation for a better boat op out of Lahaina? I want to do some easy boat dives with an inexperienced family member so I am not so interested in Molikini back wall stuff. I was gonna go out with Lahaina divers but if they are annoyed by customers, well, like I said, recommendations please.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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scubadada

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My son and I had a good trip with Lahaina Divers way back in 2003. Did Lanai, backwall... Sounds like I would hesitate to use then again if I ever returned to Maui. Do they still use the smaller tanks?
 

fisheater

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@Adobo: Give Extended Horizons, in Lahaina, a call. They are a smaller operation that can (and has) cater to a wide range of diver experiences. They like to personalize the experience.
 
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