Not Certified Yet? Here’s How to Get Your Scuba On in Maui

Coming to Maui and not yet scuba certified?  Maybe you have  been on an introductory dive on another vacation?  Maybe  you are not quite ready to get certified but still want to look at things underwater and stay down for long enough to enjoy the critters???  Here is Shad’s list of things to do while you are on Maui for a week and can enjoy a diverse bit of Scuba diving with a safe and fun instructor here at Maui Dreams. (This itinerary sort of assumes that you’re staying in South Maui).

Day 1: Welcome to Maui! One of the first things you’ll see is Costco, and this is often the first stop for new arrivals.  After you get all stocked up, find your condo/resort, get settled in and then find a spot to snorkel around and watch the sunset. Take a nice, long exale and slow down to island time.

Day 2: This is probably the best day to visit the Crater. Get up early while your body is still on mainland time and go to the top of Haleakala for sunrise.  Consider booking a bike tour down the volcano if you are the adventurous type (try Cruiser Phil’s) or drive yourself if you are slower-paced. 

If you don’t book a bike tour, consider going over to Ulupalakua Ranch, stopping in at one of the Botanical Gardens, the Lavender Farm and breakfast donuts-on-a-stick at Komoda’s bakery in Makawao. 

Come back through the little hippie  town of Paia and do some shopping.  Eat at Paia Fish Co for fish and chips or Flatbread Pizza for organic veggies on your pizza and a craft beer.  Go to Monkeypod for happy hour 3-5:30 for great drinks like the Mai Tai with Lilikoi foam or an iced tea.  If you are there on Monday or Tuesday, you may be treated to the sounds of the guitar coming from Tom Conway.  

Next, head to Ulua Beach an hour before sunset and go for a walk along the boardwalk path heading south during sunset.  It’s a gorgeous walk at any time of day and you’ll get to check out lots of resorts along the way. (be sure to be out of the parking lot by 8pm to avoid getting the gate locked on you!).

Day 3: Come to Maui Dreams at 7am to do a 2 tank Introductory Dive and  meet the crew (some still sleepy and some bubbly and wide awake).  You’ll follow your instructor down to Ulua Beach, do a short class on the lawn and then you are in the water making bubbles and watching goatfish and green sea turtles swim by.  Back on shore, your instructor will change tanks for you while you drink some Hawaiian juice and eat a granola bar to power back up for the second dive. 

Back in the water for your second dive, this time you’ll notice even more. Keep an eye out for the color changing Hawaiian day octopus and white mouth moray eels.  We’ll finish up around noon, so it’s a good day to spend the rest of the day lounging at your pool.  Drive down to Kamaole Beach II and watch the sunset then walk across the street and eat dinner out at Fred’s Mexican Restaurant.  Pay special attention to the fish, shrimp or buffalo chicken tacos, the yummy chips and salsa and a Grande Margarita (salt and rocks of course).

Day 4: Go meet Crazy Captain Don, Ben and Willllllllllllllllson at 6:15am for another great dive experience aboard the Maui Diamond II.  They will take you out to world class Molokini, known for its fantastic visibility in the water for a snorkel trip while the certified divers do a dive.  They will gather everyone back on the boat and drive over towards the shoreline where you will do your introductory dive looking for a glimpse of a frogfish and hopefully a spotted eagle ray will fly by!  Depending on the season, you can watch for humpback whales, spinner or bottlenose dolphins, and flying fish during the boat ride.  You will be done diving and back to the dock around 1pm.  They’ll feed you on the boat, but diving makes you hungry, so if you need a snack, head over to Ma’alaea General Store (this is in the same area, so you can leave your car and just walk over).  While you are at the harbor, you should go into the Maui Ocean Center and learn all kinds of strange facts about the ocean life here in Maui.  This’ll help you enjoy your next dive even more.  For dinner, head to Coconut’s for some messy fish tacos and make sure to grab a fork!  My second favorite there is the fish sandwich with the fish blackened.

Day 5: Breakfast today is at Kihei Caffé.  You’ll find a lively crowd there bright and early and they only take cash, so make sure you bring that with you too. Consider the banana macadamia nut French Toast, the HUGE breakfast burrito or make your own omelet (I like to put Portuguese Sausage, mushrooms, jalapenos, spinach and swiss cheese on mine).  Roll yourself out of Kihei Caffé and hit the road towards Lahaina.  Make sure to take in the scenic overlook, shopping in downtown Lahaina on Front Street, lunch at Lahaina Pizza Co for a chopped Italian salad and pizza, desert at Ululani’s shave ice (Haleakala flavor with ice cream in the bottom and sweet cream on top).  Go up to Honolua Bay for some snorkeling or watching the surfers and continue along the north shore for as long as you dare.  Stop in at Black Rock for more snorkeling and sunset.  Watch as the local Hawaiian guy lights the torches out at black rock and finishes with a swan dive into the sea.

After sunset head to Maui Brewing for dinner and craft brewed beer.  Assign a designated driver early on! Make sure to try a sample flight of the Bikini Blonde (light beer), the Coconut Porter (dark beer) and pick out two from their list that changes all the time.  Then order a pint or two of your favorite!!  For dinner I enjoy the cheeseburger or the adult mac and cheese.  The nacho appetizer will feed two people a whole meal!

Day 6: Come into the shop again at 7am for another dive experience at a different spot this time.  Let your instructor know where you went last time and try for another location like Makena Landing, White Rock or Olowalu.  Experience another place, different animals and get more comfortable with all your equipment.  At Makena intro diversLanding, watch for my old friend “Split Jaw” the whitemouth moray with his lower jaw ripped in two.  Also, be on the lookout for a flying gurnard and even a chance to see a VERY rare Hawaiian monk seal that sometimes hangs out in this area.  Rest up after your dives and take in a Luau at the Old Lahaina Luau for Mai Tais, poi (Yuuuuucky purple goo, but you have to say you tried it!) and pig fresh out of the ground.

Day 7: Has it been a week already?  Time flies, so get in some relaxing by the pool, shopping for last minute gifts (make sure you pick up a Maui Dreams t-shirt, hat and one of our “Got Air?” stickers) and of course planning your next trip to Maui!!! You will also want to go back to Ululani’s…go ahead you only live once and that stuff is GOOOOOD!  On your way out of town, go ahead and drop your Costco leftovers off here at the dive shop; everyone does it!

Oh, one more thing.  You’re a diver already!  Next time, no more intro dives; it’s time to get certified!  There are a few ways to get this done. Of course, you can take the entire course at home and show up already certified and ready to explore some new sites next time.  You could also complete the academics and pool sessions at a dive shop near you and then finish your certification with us in only two mornings when you get here (this is called a Referral Course).  Or, what the heck, you could sign up to take the entire Open Water certification class with us next time you’re here!

Hey Certified Divers!  If you live here or have been to Maui before, feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section!

Aloha, Shad