Maui is Great! Vacation rentals Maui bring you the best scuba diving adventures! The scuba diving off of Maui's Southwest coast is one of my very favorite locations. In particular, the famous Molokini marine sanctuary, a partially sunken volcano crater, is a magnet for marine life. Its backside is a vertical wall that drops to 300', and its interior offers nice sloping ridges that run from snorkeling depth down to 130' plus. There are also great dive sites along the coast off Wailea, many of which are deep like the 110' "battleship" site (it's not a wreck.)
How it Works:
Most of the scuba operators launch their dive boats from the Kihei Boat Ramp near Maui condo rentals each morning. The ramp is on the South side of Kihei just North of Wailea. There is a public parking lot there that fills up pretty fast, so get there early. You'll see most dive boats getting setup to launch between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Some operators may want you to come to their dive shop first, while others will just meet you at the ramp. Most operators get back by noon or 1:00 p.m.
Choosing a Dive Operator:
Which operator you choose should depend mainly on your experience level. Some operators like "Mike Severns" and "Ed Robinson's" cater to the very experienced scuba diver. They typically take up to a dozen divers at a time, often diving in two groups (each led by a Divemaster.) First dives are often to 130', and a dive computer is a must to maximize your multi-level bottom time. Pauline Fiene, a marine biologist with over 20 years of experience diving off of Maui, runs "Mike Severns". Her knowledge of the unique species found only in Hawaii is tremendous, and you can expect her to personally show it to you (as Divemaster) about every other day. The rest of her crew is great as well. They really understand customer service, and again, cater to the highly experienced divers. Note that dives along the back wall of Molokini are "drift dives" with a slight current.
Lesser experienced divers might want to choose operators like "Maui Dive Shop" or "Scuba Shack". These folks are more conservative and will make you feel more comfortable if you're a new diver or have been out of the water for a while. First dives often start inside the Molokini crater and follow a 50' to 70' profile.
What Does It Cost?
Scuba diving in Maui is generally expensive compared to other locations in the Caribbean (just like everything else.) Single day, two-tank dives can run from $100 to $125 per person, and three-tank "adventure" dives can go up to $160. Most operators only have small discounts, if any, for multi-day packages. As usual, tipping the crew is as appropriate as your enjoyment level was.
When is the Best Time to Go?
Late January through March is the peak of the "high season" because of the Humpback Whale migration there. It's rare to see a whale while you're underwater, but every scuba trip is a whale watching trip as well. While diving, you can hear the whales singing very clearly. Water temperatures in the winter are about 74 degrees F, so a 5mm to 7mm wet suit is a must.
If your trip to Maui is centered around scuba diving, stay at a Maui vacation rental on the south side of Kihei. There are lots of accommodations across the street and just north of the boat ramp - just get in touch with us for the latest information and best deals. If you're staying in Lahaina or further north, expect to get up at 4:30 a.m. to make it to Kihei on time. To relax after diving, drive south and check out McKenna Beach (aka "Big Beach") or the adjacent and infamous "Little Beach" (if you have the nerve.)
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