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Dive Review of AAA Diving/Hilton Hawaiian Village in

AAA Diving/Hilton Hawaiian Village, Mar, 2006,

by Steve Iwanowicz, WA, USA . Report 2401.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 I’d 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, doesn’t like cattle boats (see his web site), and tailors the day’s 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 day’s 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 ain’t glorious, but it’ll 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 it’s 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 wouldn’t run into problems.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Sardinia, Italy
Florida Keys
NC Coast
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 72-74°F / 22-23°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-70 Ft/ 18-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions General guidelines for return pressures and times were presented - nothing very restrictive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments No camera tank or other provisions on board the dive boat.
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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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