In Maui we stayed at the Honua Kai Resort in Kaanapali. There wasn't a dive operator located at our hotel, so we had the opportunity to dive with three different dive operations.
Dive Operator: Lahaina Divers Rating: 4.5 Stars
Lahaina Divers is located within the City of Lahaina on the west side of Maui. The dive shop is about a block from the docks where it's boats are located. The dive shop is well equipped and professionally set up. One problem we encountered was that the crew left for their boats and did not bother to inform us as to what to do. We were waiting at the dive shop while everyone else was gone. Fortunately, with their boats close by we made it to them in time. In another's review that I read, this apparently happens quite often.
Our boat was spacious allowing ample room to move around both on deck and above deck. A bathroom was on board. The boat had two divemasters on board and each gave a proper dive briefing. The crew had light snacks and water for the divers. We dove with them along the Island of Lanai which was about 9 miles to the west. The boat trip was about 30 minutes and was a comfortable smooth ride. Being safety conscious the crew held each diver's tank at the valve as the divers, one at a time, made their way to the rear of the boat to enter the water. With such an effort regarding safety it surprised me that by the time a diver was splashing into the water the crew member assisting them moments before had already turned around to fetch the next diver. Therefore, when a diver turned to signal "ok" no crew member was actually looking. This was really the only flaw that I noticed with this dive operation. The dive master we dove with properly guided the divers, although on these two particular dives the sites were somewhat barren thus there were few things for the divemaster to point out. Spinner dolphins were spotted on the return trip and the crew took the time to stop and allow the divers to take some time viewing them.
Overall I felt that this dive operation was the best we dove with in Maui. I rate them 4.5 stars.
Dive Operator: B&B Scuba Rating: 2.8 Stars
B&B Scuba is located in the City of Kihei at the southwest portion of Maui. The dive operation has one boat which has a double hull similar to a catamaran. This makes for a smooth stable ride. Our first dive was at the Molokini Crater which is less than three miles from Maui but about 7 miles from the dock where the boat was located. The boat was fast for a dive boat, thus we reached Molokini within about 15 minutes. The crew likes to get to the crater early so we had to get to the dock prior to sunrise. The boat was cramped and did not provide much space to move around. The crew was very nice and they had some home made sandwiches for the divers.
Although I was pleased with the crew and satisfied with the boat, I was not happy with this outfit in the water. Although a proper dive briefing was given, the divemaster in my opinion was somewhat dangerous. We dove a site at the southern end of the crater. The divemaster brought the divers down to 130 feet chasing a large lobster. As an instructor I am certainly comfortable at that depth. However, the divemaster should have known the skill levels of all of the divers he was leading. There were divers in our group certified as open water divers only and the divemaster had no business bringing them down to that depth without having verified their experience and comfort level. Furthermore, I dive with an air integrated wrist computer and use a regular pressure gauge as a back up. That morning I had forgotten my wrist computer in the hotel room's safe. Therefore I only had my back up non-computer pressure gauge for use. Going down that deep without a computer seriously limited my dive time as I was having to use regular dive tables. It is not the divemaster's fault that I did not have a computer. That would be mine. But it is the divemaster's responsibility to know if a diver is on a computer or non computer dive. I felt that the divemaster was seriously irresponsible to the point of perhaps dangerous for his errors.
Overall I felt this was the worst of the three dive operations that we dove with in Maui. I rate them 2.8 stars.
Dive Operator: Maui Divers Rating: 3 Stars
Maui Divers is located in the City of Lahaina; however, their boat was docked in a marina about a 15 minute drive south of Lahaina. Their shop was small and not well equipped. Their boat was somewhat small but did provide some room to move around. The boat was not fast so the ride to the Molokini Crater took about 45 minutes. The boat had a poor exhaust system so you could not stand just anywhere or you would be breathing exhaust fumes. Fortunately, the crew was extremely nice and made the trip to and from the docks quite enjoyable. They had snacks for the divers which consisted of sandwiches and cookies.
A thorough dive briefing was presented. The divemaster was pleasant to dive with and allowed divers to stay in the water until they were low on air rather than just ending the dive at a prescribed time. That I liked about him. The one problem I did have with him is that he allowed the group to reach a depth of 100 feet even though there were four new divers in the group. Once he turned the divers around I could tell that one of the new divers was somewhat uncomfortable in the water so I stayed with him to make sure that he was ok. It wasn't my job to do so, but I was more concerned for his safety. I felt this was very irresponsible of the divemaster. The depth made most of the divers in the group use up their air quickly. Therefore, most had to surface early. I signaled to the divemaster that I was taking the group up. After doing so I went back down to continue my dive. After the dive the divemaster chewed me out for doing so because he said he did not know where my dive buddy was. He was right for doing so, so I do not fault him for that. In fact, I respected him for being safety conscious regarding that issue. However, I just wish he would not bring inexperienced divers down so deep. Where was his cioncern for safety then?
Overall I felt it was a decent dive operation. They could use a faster boat and need to be more cautious with newer divers. That is the tough thing to deal with when you have divers with great differences in capabilities on the same dive. I rate them 3 stars.