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Dive Review of AAA Diving/Hilton Hawaiian Village in

March, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Iwanowicz, WA, USA
Report Number 2401
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Sardinia, Italy
Florida Keys
NC Coast
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
72   to 74    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
General guidelines for return pressures and times were presented - nothing
very restrictive.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
No camera tank or other provisions on board the dive boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
1 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
AAA Diving / Oahu HI / (808) 221-8346 / (877) 617-2822 - [ link] / 

Bottom line: This is a service-oriented outfit that could use a bit of
polish, but Id dive with them again in a heartbeat

Alex Mason proprietor & instructor  says he originally comes from
South Africa (great accent!).  He clearly takes pride in being an
independent operator, doesnt like cattle boats (see his web site), and
tailors the days trip to provide a good dive experience to his clients. 
Cash or checks only  no credit cards.  Prices very reasonable.  Picked up
at the hotel on time in his aged van.  Alex asked about prior diving
experience & discussed the options for dive sites with us that looked
promising for that day based on the previous days diving, weather, etc. 
Divers are treated as adults, being allowed to dive their own profiles
within general rules for return pressures / times.  All divers this trip
were experienced, though it was clear that appropriate allowances,
provisions, support, and flexibility would be made for neophytes.  

Advertised as the only dive company on Oahu that offers a 3-tank deep dive
package on Sundays which is what I opted for.  Other Oahu operators are
cattle boats doing two-tank quickies.  Boat was Elysium, 38 long, 15
beam, listed as being 2 years old, but appeared older. Elysium is
described to be capable of taking 16 passengers and 4 crew, but Alex says
say they run with 5 - 9 divers plus crew.  We had 5 divers.  

It aint glorious, but itll do:  Fresh water hose at stern for shower
& washing equip.  No camera tank.  Overall stowage, cleanliness, &
orderliness below average.  No snacks.  Water provided in water bottles,
but cooler it had debris floating in the icewater.  Trash had accumulated
in the trash cans and was not emptied prior to getting underway; by the end
of the day, the trash was near full but not overflowing.  Between dives,
the crew did not change out dive gear from tank-to-tank, divers took care
of their own equip  that is what I prefer because its MY life support
equip.  All tanks were aluminum 80s & had full air charges; no NITROX
available.  Plentiful supply of uncoated hard weights; no soft weights.  An
oxygen tank was on board.  They did not have a method (like a diver tag
board) to show when everyone was on board, but with the small group of
divers on board, it is obvious when someone is missing.  Pre-dive briefs
were well done and sufficiently detailed.  The crew was adequately
attentive to surfaced divers and assisting them out of the water.  Great
discussions during surface intervals.

Dove the following sites (lat/long are from my personal GPS):
1st: San Pedro  N 21-15-38.5; W 157-50-16.1
This wreck, very near the YO-257, was a hospital ship that was sunk in 1996
to create an artificial reef. It rests upright in 85 ft, with the deck at
60 ft & the top of the wheel house at 50 ft.  The current at the
surface abated with depth, but was always there to some extent, but very
small & posed no problems at all.  The wreck had a many coral
formations growing and a great variety of reef fish.  Also saw green sea
turtles.  Oahu had received a lot of rain and vis was reduced to 60 ft or
so as a result due to both run off from the land as well as algae; normally
around 100 ft. Still good, though.  The current & vis were the same at
all three dive sites.

2nd: YO-257  N 21-15-38.2; W 157-50-15.9 
YO-257 was a Navy yard oiler built in the 1940's and serviced ships during
World War II. It was bought by Atlantis Submarines HI & sunk as an
artificial reef off Waikiki in 1989. The ship rests upright in 100 feet of
water with the main deck about 85 feet. It has many large access holes cut
through the structure and is a well-developed artificial reef.  Easy
swim-throughs  bring a good dive light.   This was an excellent wreck
dive!  The ship was absolutely teaming with reef fish, turtles, and other
life.  Also saw a white tip reef shark.  Atlantis tourist submarines also
drove by a number of times and all in the dive group took time to wave to
the tourists  mostly Japanese.  Alex gave us a clear warning about the
subs in his dive brief: when you hear them, stay close to the wreck.  The
subs came close  within 15  20 feet of the wreck and us.  The electric
motors / thrusters of the sub was loud enough to drown out the alerts of my
dive computer, so you have to monitor your gages religiously.  After the
dive, we pulled into a pier to get away from the rough water, let out
stomachs settle, have a bite, and offgas.  

3rd:  Sea Tiger  N 21-16-48.4; W 157-51-35.8
Sea Tiger was "Plan B," because "Plan A," the "100
ft hole (N 21-15'-19.9"; W 157-50'-03.0") had a screaming current
at depth.  Coral formations and other marine growth is in early stages. 
Not much wildlife to see at this wreck.  Was fascinated by two octopi that
were inside the ship - located just inside the main deck area.  Also saw
spotted eagle rays.  Atlantis tourist subs came by a number of times here
too.  I came across four sport fishing rigs fouled on the wreck; we took
care of the heavy monofilament and hooks so other divers wouldnt run into

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