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

Bubbles Below/Marriott Waiohai Poipu, May, 2005,

by Doug Ruby, NM, USA . Report 1685.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Kona, Hawai'i
Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 75 to 77 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Must maintain computer time limit no less than 0:10 minutes at any given depth.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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 capabilities.
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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