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Dive Review of Bubbles Below, in
Hawaii/Kauai

Bubbles Below,: "Bubbles Below, not worth it", Oct, 2016,

by Joe Hamernick, MN, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9415.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments The last time I dived on Kauai was about 26 years ago. The thing I remembered most about that trip was the way they treated all divers like newbies. Fast forward; I've been diving for close to 30 years and have hundreds of dives under my belt from all over the world. When we checked in at the dive shop the staff was wonderful. They answered all our questions and got us set up for a week of diving. The four of us showed them our dive cards and told them about our experience levels. I asked if the dive masters would do the same when we got to the boat the next day. They said they would. When we got to the boat we were quite shocked to see the very old boat that would take us diving. The captain said it's an old boat but we like her. There were 10 of us on the boat along with two dive masters and the captain. Before we got on the boat we tried to talk to the dive masters about our experience but they didn't want to talk about that. Instead, they made us all do a VERY thorough equipment check. I have never checked things that closely since my first dive class. There's nothing wrong with equipment checks but the way it was done was that we were all idiots and had never seen a scuba tank before.
We were loaded on the boat. There's was no room for equipment storage so we put all our stuff on the oversized engine cover. After a quick briefing about the boat we headed out. There is very little space under cover for the divers so half of the people had to sit on the engine cover. No big deal except the seas were choppy and you got soaked from the waves breaking over the side.
We got to our first dive site and were broken up into two groups. Our friends are pretty new divers so we elected to do less advanced dives. The group was myself, my wife, and our two friends. I again tried to explain to our divemaster that I am an active divemaster myself, but again he didn't want to hear it. He started giving orders about how to enter the water, how to descend and to make sure we stayed in a tight group. I played along until it came time to descend. He wanted us to go hand over hand down the line and when I let go and started down without assistance you could tell he was mad at me. We did our dive in a tight group and came up the line. I figured he would understand our skill level when my wife and I did our safety stop motionless without holding the line and we came back on board with about 1500 psi in our tanks. After everyone was on board we motored to our next site. We were given cookies and water. On the next site we were treated the same way, like we had never been in the water before. When I tried to go off to see something I was chased down and brought back to the group.
The diving was mediocre at best. One of the things I like about diving in Hawaii is the wonderful sea life you will only see in Hawaii. The water conditions weren't the best on this trip but I was extremely disappointed in the fish life. There were no big schools of fish like I had seen in Hawaii in the past. There was very little coral which was expected but there was less than I thought.
When we got back to the pier we took our equipment off the boat and it was given a very quick rinse with a hose.
We were supposed to dive four days with this operation. However, the diving was just OK, the conditions were not the best, the sea life was lacking, it wasn't the cheapest diving, and most importantly we weren't going to put up with the dive masters again. I totally understand divemasters feeling people out, but you can tell in about two minutes whether somebody knows what they're doing or not. I was extremely disappointed that the dive masters didn't want anything to do with hearing what experience we had and after seeing us dive give us a little freedom. We ended up only diving one day with them.
When I think of all the places around the world we have been lucky enough to dive at, Kauai is the only place (both times) where I have been treated like I've never been in the water before. I realize a lot of people don't go to Hawaii for a dedicated dive trip, but we do. I'm sure there's a lot of new divers or resort course people but there is also a group of highly qualified divers that shouldn't be handled like this. I haven't seen this problem on the other Hawaiian islands.
Websites Bubbles Below,   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Palau, Truk, Australia, all the main Hawaiian islands, all three Cayman islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Bonaire, Roatan, Florida Keys.....
Closest Airport Lihue Getting There Non-stop from multiple US mainland cities.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 78-°F / 26-°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Very strict on bottom time and staying VERY close to the dive master.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was nothing in place for underwater photographers. When I asked about a rinse bucket on the boat the answer was "a what?". They obviously didn't care about UWP's. I didn't bring my camera rig on our first day and I'm glad I didn't. There was nothing in place for big camera setups or even small camera's. The best they could do for you is hose off your camera when you got back to the dock. Photography is not on their radar.
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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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