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Dive Review of Bubbles Below, in
Hawaii/Kauai

Bubbles Below,, Oct, 2012,

by Mark A. Magers, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 6751.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving GBR, Dominica, Cozumel, Hawaii, Cayman, Turks, BVI, USVI, Cabo Pulmo, Saba, La Paz, Bonaire, Curacao, Cuba
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 500 psi or 1 hour dive time
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments no table or rinse tank in this boat for cameras (I am not a photographer)

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

Accommodations N/A Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Had not been diving off Kauai in over a decade. The variety of fish was good, and we saw some cool things I don't see every dive, like a frogfish, a purple leaf scorpion fish, a good-sized octopus, 5 different kinds of eels.

The good - the divemaster and captain were knowledgeable and good, and were keen for us to enjoy the dives. The aforementioned cool fish, and the divemaster's ability to spot them was very good (the frogfish was almost invisible, in a bunch of cup coral, on the underside of an arch).

The less-than-satisfied part - we signed up for the 3-tank "adventure" dive, billed on the website as a "when you've seen Sheraton Caverns enough..." alternative (their words, not mine). Yet dive #2 was...Sheraton Caverns. All dives were up and down the Poipu side of the island, between Port Allen (where boat leaves from) to Poipu, in spite of amazingly calm weather after several days of near-record wind and surf on the usually calm Poipu side (the surfers said the First Break off Poipu was as good as they had ever seen it). Dive day was calm, water clear, currents minimal. It did not feel like an adventure at all. The back side of Klein Curacao in an inflatable boat, that is an adventure.

The boat was small, and kind of dirty, though the engine (where they heated the pizza for lunch) was spotless, and I would prefer that to the other way around. Apparently someone had stolen some equipment off the boat recently, so I think it was not as well equipped as it usually is?

The cost for 2 of us for 3 dives each, with Nitrox on 2 (not sure why we did not get nitrox on the first dive), was $500. That is a ton of money for what we got.

So net - service and attitude was very good, some of the fish we saw were very cool, boat was so so, and the value and adventure was not there for us. Next time will just wait until we can get to Niihau and Lehua. Did that in 1999 and it was awesome.

This was not a liveaboard though the website form will not let me change that.

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Subscriber's Comments

By Robert Halem in CA, US at Nov 03, 2012 01:04 EST  
I have done the three tank adventure dive when the weather permitted access to the Napili coast. That was one of the best dives I have ever done. One thing about Bubbles Below, they are VERY conservative about the weather. I can understand why they would stay on the leeward side of the island if there was any question. I have had them cancel dives the night before based on the forecast and then have perfect calm weather in the morning.
By Jill Rain in WA, US at Nov 04, 2012 11:00 EST  
I did a 3 tank dive with them to Nihau island an hour's bumpy drive sw of Kauai, which is also weather dependent. It was a fantastic set of dives, and the staff is very competent. Marginal getting there, with the swells, but really good diving once there. Sorry the weather was bad for you. Too bad you weren't able to cancel once you knew you couldn't go.
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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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