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Dive Review of Bubbles Below/Marriott Waiohai Poipu in
Hawaii/Kaua'i + Ni'ihau

May, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Doug Ruby, NM, USA
Report Number 1685
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Kona, Hawai'i
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
75   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
10   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Must maintain computer time limit no less than 0:10 minutes at any given
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
3 stars    
We made arrangements with Bubbles Below to do the checkout portion of our
Advanced Open Water certification months in advance, telling them we would
do the classroom portion in our hometown before we left.  Linda Marsh, the
owner, said that would be fine and she would charge us only $60 each for
the checkout dive instruction.  When we got there, she wanted to charge us
$250 each.  When I reminded her of her of her $60 promise, she became
hostile and treated my wife and I with contempt from that moment on.
Walter, our instructor, was very nice and patient, although the local
Kaua'i dive we got checked out on was not very nice.  There were fewer fish
than in Kona, and on the 2nd tank dive, the visibility was no more than 10
feet!  However, this was a good test of our compass navigation
We went on the 3-tank Ni'ihau dive two days later.  Bubbles uses an old,
smelly 35' dive boat with no entry platform and more importantly, no head
for the 2-3 hour boat ride out to Ni'ihau.  Linda was very domineering and
arrogant leading these dives, constantly criticizing us without offering
helpful suggestions.  She seems to hold her paying customers in contempt. 
Although we were supposedly being "checked-out" for 3 advanced
open water dives, she paid no more attention to us than to any of the other
divers, except to admonish us for being "over-weighted".  The
2-hour ride home was rough in this small boat.  Our gear stunk after being
rinsed out in their filthy rinse bucket.
In comparison, we dove Ni'ihau two days later with their competitor,
SeaSport Divers.  They have a wonderful custom fitted PRO 48' dive boat
Certified for 42 passengers and 30 Divers. However, keeping comfort in mind
they limit it to only 12 divers for the trips to the Island of NIIHAU. 
They had no qualms about changing course to follow the pilot whales on our
way out, as well as completely circling the island of Lehua crater to see
the dozens of spinner dolphins playfully jumping and spinning inside the
crater walls.  We even caught a glimpse of 2 of the last humpbacks of the
season in the distance.  Monk seals came by and they caught a 40 lb yahoo
trolling during one of our surface intervals.  They were pleasant to dive
with and let us dive our own profiles while making sure we had plenty of
air left for 5 minute safety stops.  They had soapy water waiting in large
troughs at their store for rinsing our gear leaving it fresh-smelling.  And
their big comfortable boat, with head, made the rough channel crossing much
more pleasant.  They charge exactly the same price as Bubbles Below, but in
my opinion, have far superior facilities and are more pleasant people to
dive with as well.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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