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Dive Review of Bubbles Below/Woodard House, Poipu Kai Resort in

May, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Sandy Falen, KS, USA
Sr. Contributor   (24 reports, with 3 Helpful votes)
Report Number 1095
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Honduras, Belize, Los Roques, Tobago, Saba, Statia, Dominica, Grand Turk,
South Caicos, Cozumel, Bonaire, Curacao, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman,
Providencia, Costa Rica, Fiji
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
73   to 76    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
No specific facilities for photography.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Be prepared for chilly water temps.  The first few days, the water was no
warmer than 73. Kauai diving is fascinating, but don't go expecting the
coral reefs of the Caribbean.  This is an algae reef, and while there's
little coral, the trade-off is lots of critters, and tons of turtles. Vis
around Kauai could vary from so-so to excellent, but there was always lots
to see. 

Linda Marsh, owner of Bubbles Below ( was
terrific to dive with:  enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and just plain fun.
The members of her staff were delightful, too.  They all seemed to love
diving, and were happy to escort your dive, or let you do your own thing.
We met at Port Allen Small Boat Harbor each morning at 7:15, with the boat
returning between noon and one. A rinse bucket was provided at the dock,
but I chose to take my gear home and rinse it there. Be warned that diving
in Hawaii is more expensive than in the Caribbean, but you can get a pretty
good multiple day discount by booking at least three days.

If you go in the summer months, don't miss the trip to Ni'ihau ("The
Forbidden Island"). This is an all-day, 3-dive trip, with the 17-mile
crossing taking about an hour and forty minutes. Snacks and bottled water
are provided, along with Bubbles Below's famous "engine-block
pizza" that's served hot after the second dive. The diving at Ni'ihau
is nothing short of jaw-dropping, with vis exceeding 150', some ripping
currents, sharks, turtles, monk seals, multiple variety of eels, and the
geologic features that define the Hawaiian Islands: walls made of lava that
layered up over the millennia like a stack of pancakes -- and swim-throughs
that were formed when the interior of the hot lava flow collapsed, leaving
the cooled outer crust. Anyone who says "ho hum" after diving
Ni'ihau doesn't know what they're seeing -- this is truly spectacular
diving that is best left to the experienced diver. 
Ask to go to the "turtle cleaning station" at Hale O Honu. On
this shallow reef, scores of green sea turtles hovered in the water, heads
and flippers dangling limp, while tangs and other reef fish enjoyed the
all-you-can-eat buffet. This dive also featured a lion-fish den, but I
could scarcely pull myself away from the opportunity to float face-to-face
with the turtles.  The nonchalance displayed by these ancient creatures
allowed me to use my close-up lense, capturing one turtle portrait after
the other.

There are lots of accommodation options on Kauai, but I chose a vacation
home in the Poipu Kai Resort, which was only a 20-minute drive away from
Port Allen. It was an unbeatable value compared to a hotel, and included a
fully-equipped kitchen, garage, patio with gas grill, and a utility room
with a tub sink that was great for rinsing gear. Grantham Resorts
(, the booking agent, offers a wide variety of
properties in all price ranges, and I give them a strong recommendation.

Restaurants are not inexpensive, but there is fabulous food to be had.  For
good food with a casual environment and reasonable prices, try Tomkats
Grille in Old Koloa Town, and Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo.  When you're
touring western Kauai, check out Hanapepe Cafe.  When you want a special
dinner and exceptional service, try Plantation Gardens Restaurant and The
Beach House -- both were wonderful and worth every penny. And don't miss
the roadside fruit stands, where you can load up on pineapple, mango,
guava, sweet corn, and other delicious produce.

Do leave time for topside touring, as Kauai is blessed with stunning
scenery. The Waimea Canyon is not to be missed, but given its high
elevation, visit it before your first dive day or after you've had plenty
of off-gas time. And if you're adventurous enough to seek out "the end
of the road" at Polihale Beach, be assured that the vision of this
17-mile long beach, wider than three football fields and dead-ending at the
Na Pali Cliffs, is ample reward for the required drive down a road from
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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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