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March 2004 Vol. 19, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Thumbs Down: Short Fills from Lahaina Divers

from the March, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Thumbs Down: Short Fills from Lahaina DiversWhen John Nosworthy (Salisbury, MD) visited Maui in December, he rented tanks from Maui Dive Shop for shore diving and a trip to Molokini Crater. Nosworthy was delighted to see that all fills were consistently 3,200 psi or greater.

Not so when he switched over to Lahaina Divers. On their boat, the 72 cu. ft. aluminum tanks were consistently filled to only 2,800 psi or less. So not only were they smaller than the standard aluminum 80s, they were underpressurized, as well. When Nosworthy mentioned this to a crew member, the response was "some employee back at the fill station must have been in a hurry."

Since there was no compressor aboard, the crew suggested that Nosworthy could switch to his second tank to see if it contained more air for his first (deeper) dive ... but it didn't. He wound up using all his air on his safety stop.

Before the second dive, they invited passengers who needed more air to rent one of four 100 cu. ft. cylinders on board, at a surcharge of $7. "Can you freakin' believe that?" Nosworthy asks.

We contacted Akiyo Murata, an owner of Lahaina Divers, who confirmed that the 100s do, indeed, cost an extra seven bucks. She claimed that all tanks are filled to 3,200 psi in the shop but then lose some pressure due to cooling. Funny, that didn't seem to happen to the Maui Dive Shop tanks, even on the long haul out to Molokini.

Murata also confirmed that her operation considers anything between 2,800 to 3,000 a righteous fill. When I questioned her about using smaller tanks, she rationalized that Lahaina Divers doesn't do deep dives. On their morning two-tank trips, the max depth is 65-70 fsw. In the afternoons, dives go no deeper than 30-35 feet.

This is hardly the first complaint Undercurrent has received about Lahaina Divers. Our last two Chapbooks are filled with derogatory comments such as "cattle boat," "worst boat we've been on," and "seemed like they just wanted everyone out of the water as soon as possible."

Sounds like a good outfit for subscribers to avoid.

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