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Dive Review of Mike Severns Diving/Hyatt Regency Maui in

February, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by John & Nancy Nakamura, CO, USA
Report Number 775
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Florida, Malaysia, Thailand
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
76   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth.  Follow the DM, with "roaming" flexibility based on
demonstrating underwater competency.  The lesser of you/buddy's air.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 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
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
First found out about Mike Severns Diving through the Chapbook.  To us,
Undercurrent is an outstanding investment for those that dive.  Like having
a trusted friend give an honest personal report on a dive experience, the
must-dos, and the gotchas, PRIOR to you going yourself.

Mike Severns Diving (MSD).  For those going to Maui, this is a top-notch
operation, and (in our humble opinion) should be your first consideration. 
Like when you come to Denver, and want great beef, Ill send you to Brooks
Steak House.  Others might argue for Mortons or Del Friscos.  If you want
the USDA Prime of diving in Maui, you may have other options, but you
cant go wrong with MSD.

Ownership/staff.  When the owner leads the dive, you can be assured that
the one with the primary vested interest in your customer satisfaction,
will do everything within reason (and safety) to assure that you feel that
your money has been well spent.  Pauline Fiene (marine biologist with
thousands of Maui dives under her belt) is now the primary owner (bought
out her partner/ex-husband, Mike).  She maintains a superb staff, from boat
captain, Vici, to the various divemasters (been out with Andy and Tara). 
Totally professional attitude, but still fun, and treat you like youre
part of the family.  Theyve been leading dives for 20-some-plus years, and
it shows with their knowledge of the area.  No Gilligan here.

To read more, check out their website for info on dive areas, crew, news,
etc. (

The setup.  Weve been using them for several years.  The boat meets early
at the Kihei boat ramp (about 50 mins from Kaanapali), but the seas are
usually nice and calm at that time of day.  They set up and verify all your
equipment for you.  Once on the boat, they greet you with Kona
coffee/juice/water, fresh fruit, and great pastries from a local bakery. 
They ask if there is something specific you want to see, and do their best
to accommodate you.  On this trip, once we were out at the outer wall of
Molokini, Vici carefully surveyed the water currents (we asked about it and
she said she wanted to make sure we would be fine underwaterdont want a
current/surge pushing us into or away from the wall; and that she would be
fine above waterdont want the boat banging into the wall).  It was
obvious safety was a top concern.  Pauline provides a thorough, patient
dive briefing (along with pictures from her book) on EXACTLY the things to
keep an eye out for during your time under water.  She establishes specific
hand-signals for things she will point out to you during the dive.

The dives.  Our first dive was on the outer wall (great viz, 100+).  With
various rock ledges and steep drop-offs, there are plenty of places to
explore for critters, and you should also be monitoring the deep blue for
large pelagics.  We heard (but didnt see) humpbacks throughout the dive. 
Pauline led the dive, and made sure we saw her specialty, nudibranchs (she
has discovered new species and has one named after her).  We also held a
crown-of-thorns.  The highlight was at the end of the dive.  We were ~30ft,
and a juvenile manta ray (~6ft wing-to-wing) showed up, feeding at the
surface.  Throughout our 3-minute safety stop, the manta was going back and
forth right above us.  Once Nancy completed her safety stop, she slowly
ascended to the surface, keeping her eye out for the manta, and it gave her
a front-row experience, as it headed straight at her, mouth wide open,
and only veered away at the last moment (literally 24 inches away from
bumping into her mask).  Our second dive was at the AMTRAC (Army
vehicle).  We descended to six green sea turtles down there.  Lots of
interesting close-up stuff.  The humpback singing was amazing down there,
and we kept looking around waiting to see a 40-footer fin by, but none were

Back-at-the-ranch reading.  Pauline sells (and signs) her books once you
return back to the dock in Kihei.  Her books are a great way to learn more
about Molokini and Hawaii diving, and reflect on this great sport that
weve decided to make part of our lives.

On the plus side.  1.) Safety  even though this time there were only eight
of us on board, they still did a verbal roll call.  2.) Dive times  the
exact opposite of diving in Grand Cayman.  No more large boats with 22
other divers, hearing our dive profile is 100 feet, 20 minutes, and
returning to the boat with 1900 PSI.  On MSD, you and your partner
basically dive your air.  So, if youre like us (i.e., similar air
consumption, and very efficient), youre in for a delightful surprise. 
Weve had multiple 60+ minute dives, where youre glad your air was running
out because youre starting to get cold!!  3.) Dive groups  they try and
place similarly experienced divers together.  In this case, four-and-four. 
4.) The DM lights  each of the DMs carry a monster 100-watt cavediving
light.  Great for seeing true color at 100 feet down, and in dark spaces. 
5.) The relaxed atmosphere  unlike Cayman operators (where you set your
watch on them getting you back before 12:30p), MSD feel relaxed and not at
all rushed, which is why youre in Hawaii in the first place, right?

On the minus side.  Ascending on the second dive, realizing we were done
for the day, and wouldnt have a face-to-face meeting with a humpback calf
and big mama.

E-mail me specific questions.

Hyatt Regency.  Stayed there five times.  Top level at Hyatt, so get
Platinum treatment.  Good Kaanapali location, five min drive to Lahaina.
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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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