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Dive Review of Lahaina Divers/AliiKai in

Lahaina Divers/AliiKai: "Hammerhead Dive", Jul, 2017,

by David Steinberg , OR, US ( 2 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9766 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I was on Maui for a dive vacation with a friend and having done the hammerhead dive once, decided to take him hoping for more sightings than the 10 hammerheads from the first two years ago. We signed up via phone with LaHaina Divers and paid by CC, no refunds inside of 48 hours, though the policy included a caveat that if your slot gets filled, you get a refund. We made the shop at the 7am opening to sign the normal paperwork and dropped off our gear, which the crew transports to the boat about 4 blocks away, allowing a nice walk through downtown LaHaina right through the famous banyon tree park.

There was a detailed dive briefing by the captain on boat rules before departure and the 75 minute cruise over to the north east coast off Molokai, part of which is serious open water; I took two Dramamine! During that time the 22 divers were divided in to groups of 5-6, each assigned a divemaster and/or instructor; each had their own dive briefing.

The diving is quite advanced given the remote area, the open sea and the depth, however, getting back on board in 6-8 foot swells was the most difficult part. The dive crew had briefed the procedure well and executed their plan with safety and efficiency, maintaining contact till the diver was safely seated at their station.

There were two dives with lunch during the hour surface interval. Each group descends together lead by the divemaster who trails a DSMB and wears a bright yellow shirt. We followed a sloping wall filled with coral and the usual Hawaiian fish till about 60 feet, then the leader navigates to open sea. When he sights any sharks he signals the group, then the fun begins as the sharks were always 30-50 feet below. Divers can then descend and approach the hammerheads for video/photo, however, all are responsible for their gas usage/nitrogen load as dive two would be shortened or not allowed. Each dive lasted about 50 minutes, me being more conservative at 63 years old. We ascended as a group for a 3 minute safety stop in open water and no reference line, then surfaced as a tight group. The dive leader carries a radio and locator beacon for added safety. The boat picked up each group using a 50 foot tag line with the leader assisting each diver one at a time, taking their fins then ensuring they are secure with deckhand contact before assisting the next diver.

Our group was lead by "Hammerhead" Joe Zajac, the head instructor for LaHaina Divers and creator of this dive, so our group was first in. On dive one we had about two dozen sightings, including a couple of 5-7 in schools with individuals here and there; the sharks were in the 8-12 foot length and all were at or below 100 feet. Fortunately the visibility is nearly unlimited with a 200+ foot bottom easily seen. Many excited divers dropped too quickly and scared the big animals away though. Dive two was a repeat of dive one and I spotted a school of five at about 100 feet. I slowly approached to about 40 feet away when the school was chased off by an aggressive gopro using diver who finned at top speed right at them; we had words about that later. Total sightings for the two dives exceeded 40 hammerheads!

Overall the dives were spectacular though required exceptional dive skills and executing the boat/dive entry/exit procedures. This is why LaHaina Divers does not allow novice divers.

Definitely worth the price of admission!
Websites Lahaina Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Puget Sound, Vancouver Island, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Cozumel, Palau, Turkey, Belize, Hawaii, Florida, Papau New Guinea
Closest Airport Kahului Getting There Hawaiian Air

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 200-0 Ft/ 61-0 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions signal divemaster at 1500 psi, ascend at 500 psi
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Small rinse tank
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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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