Trip report - Maui (feel free to skip the first two paragraphs of personal background)
Hi - I am new here so first I am going to introduce myself. My name is Elaine. I have been diving since 1994. Like many people that I have met that became scuba divers here in Texas it was divorce therapy. I got certified in Fort Worth, Texas — not exactly a diving destination. For years I made dives in lakes and “rivers” — anyone that has seen a Texas river knows why it is in quotes. I grew up in Astoria, Oregon with a view of a real river, the Columbia - so large you can not see across it on most days. The “rivers” here in Texas would be creeks or streams. I made the occasional trip to Cozumel and then went through about an eight year dive spell.
In 2005, I got married and broke my leg on a hiking trip to the Pacific Northwest. I fell off a boardwalk on the Makah Indian reservation and had to be Coast Guard lifted out. In rehabilitating myself, I asked my new husband (we were on our first vacation together when I fell and broke my leg) if he would mind learning to scuba dive because I thought that it would help to build up my leg muscles. Since Ian got certified in 2005, we have made more than 120 open water dives together, most of them in Cozumel.
Neither of us had ever dived in the Pacific. Ian wore a 3mm full suit, I wore a 1 mm full suit. Each of us was comfortable, but we both enjoy being on the cool side to dive.
We dived with B and B Scuba in Kihei. Kihei is a town out of the 60's - pretty funky and laid back. Amazingly different from the elegant Waimea which is very near it.
First the dive operator. The dive operator is AWESOME! There were many skill levels on the boat. There were usually 12 divers on the boat which gave us plenty of elbow room. There were two dive instructors and a dive master in the water with us. The groups were divided up by skill level with the dive instructors (Brad (one of the B’s in B and B) and Stan) taking the least experienced divers and the dive master (Dave - an awesome critter spotter) taking the more advanced divers.
All dives started on Molokini crater for the first dive of the day. I made a total of 6 dives on Molokini while I was there and the dives varied a lot in desirability. The first dive day was nothing special. There were hard corals (different from the colorful, soft corals of Cozumel) and quite a few fish, but not the veritable aquarium that I am used to in Coz. In addition, the fish that we did see on that first dive were not that colorful - Black Durgeons, Amberjacks, some type of bass. Just not that interesting. We were at the place that we were because they had had a monk seal attempt to board their boat there the day before. So, they were trying to re-create what had been a very memorable day for them and it did not work out.
The second dive that we made was at White Rocks. This dive was in the traditional White Rocks area and featured MANY sea turtles. The sea turtles in Maui are very indifferent to humans. They will get amazingly close to you. I love to watch turtles because they look so relaxed my air consumption goes way down just watching them. Plus it is like looking at a piece of history. I love turtles!
When my husband and I got on board from our second dive of the day, we agreed that we were cured of our desire to live in Maui — the diving just was not that great.
That all changed two days later with our next dive trip. We again went out to Molokini crater. For this dive, we did it with a live boat, started inside the crater and went to the outside of the crater. Fabulous! For this dive, Stan was our group leader and he showed us a Frog Fish. One of the holy grails of diving for me. I was thrilled to see the Frog Fish and the coral on the outside of the crater was more abundant than inside the crater. Many more fish were present, closer to the diving in an aquarium experience that I am used to.
The rest of the dives that we made there continued at this level of enjoyment. Some of the highlights of the other dives were a pregnant red frog fish; Manta rays spotted in midwater, white tipped reef sharks sleeping under shelves, many butterfly fish, Moorish Idols and triggerfish. Absolutely fabulous diving!
What we did wrong. First, we were staying in Kaanapali which is more than an hour away from Kihei where the boat launched. If we were doing this again, I would have stayed in Kihei or Waimea, I really recommend this dive operator and it would have been worth changing our locale if we had realized how much we would be diving and that we would need to get up at 4 am to make it to the boat on time. Second, neither of us brought a windbreaker with us. We would have been much more comfortable on the boat on the way back with some protection from the wind. Hawaii just does not get as warm as the Carribean. We did not change dive operators to go to Lanai for more pristine diving. I am mixed on whether or not this was a mistake. I saw a lot of Molokini — different dive spots did change the critters that we saw, but not the type of coral. I might have enjoyed more different dive experiences.
What we did right. We chose the right dive operator. Brad and his crew were unfailingly laid back, helpful, and safety conscious. The food on the boat was simple and just right for what we were doing. Juicy pineapple and plenty of water and juice between dives, sandwiches on sweet hawaiian bread on the way back to the launch.
I loved this trip and I especially loved Maui where there was lots to do besides diving. Lovely restaurants, beautiful sunsets, volcanoes, flowers, beaches and even great snorkeling in the Kaanapali area.
We stayed in three different resorts: Sands of Kahana (really large rooms with good beach access), Royal Lahaina Resort (traditional Hawaiian hotel with stunning views of the ocean and good access to Black Rock one of the top snorkeling sights on Maui) and the Westin Kaanapali Resort Villas (luxurious rooms that were not nearly as large as Sands of Kahana). We loved every place that we stayed - albeit each one for different reasons.