Five Quick Tips for Maui Dive Travel

Living on Maui and working in the tourism industry gives us unique insights into some of the issues that can cause hiccups in your diving experience here. Here are five quick tips to help our fellow divers make their dive trips to Maui even better!

1. Ship your gear over for service BEFORE your trip.  If you’re going to the trouble of packing and bringing your gear with you, you’re going to want to actually use it, right?  And, if you don’t get to use your equipment frequently throughout the year, chances are good that it will need a tune-up, if not a complete overhaul by the time you get to Maui.  Once you’ve inked your travel dates, just give us a call to make sure we’ve got parts for your brand of equipment.  Our tech will ask you a few questions and take it from there. 

But what about getting your gear serviced at your local shop before your trip?  That’s a good idea too, but an even better idea if you’ll have time to dive it before your trip. Our repair tech often hears the words, “but I just had it serviced before we left for Maui” when divers bring in gear that needs some tweaking.  As good as a tech is, gear can sometimes perform differently underwater than it does at the repair bench.  When you ship your gear in for service ahead of time, we’ll have it ready for you when you arrive, and if it needs another “tweak” after that, we’ll be able to handle it for you immediately.

Customers frequently ask us to service their gear at the end of a trip and then ship it back to them.  If your gear is going diving with you in the near future, then this is fine.  If, however, it’s going to go directly to your closet for the next several months, you are better off waiting until just before your next trip to have it serviced.

2. Don’t bring good stuff to the beach.  We believe that Maui is a pretty trouble-free place to visit, but why take any chances?  Think about it.  Dive sites are often a little off the beaten path.  Us divers are going to disappear, out of sight and out of ear shot for about an hour.  Once a potential bad guy sees us descend, they may feel they have plenty of time to check out our cars, gear bags, etc. 

When I go to the dive site, I bring my driver’s license and a few bucks “just in case”.  My car key doesn’t have any electronics on it, so I can actually take it diving.  If you have valuables that you want to keep dry and keep with you, consider a small dry pouch of some sort that you can tuck into your wetsuit or BCD pocket.  At the very least, hide things well and do it before you get to your destination

3. Make reservations early.  We cannot stress this one enough.  Time and again, we get phone calls from people who want to book a referral course for when they get to Maui…THIS weekend!  Most of the time, we are already booked and have to turn them away.

Solo travelers have better luck than most at getting last minute spaces on dive boats, luaus, and zip line tours, but all of these activities have limited spaces each day.  If there is an activity on Maui that you really want to do, make your reservations well in advance, anywhere from two weeks to two months ahead of time. This is  especially important if you are visiting Maui during one of our peak seasons like Thanksgiving week, Christmas and New Year’s and Spring Break.  On Maui, Spring Break runs from March through about a week after Easter each year. 

Finally, even if you are not coming during a peak season, it is still best to make your reservations early.  Local businesses use the slower times of year to send their staff members on vacation, so availability during those periods may be a little less than usual. Our least favorite thing is to disappoint somone, but it happens for us and for for all the other activity businesses when we have to turn away last-minute customers.

4. If you have unusual needs, plan for those before your trip too. 
What am I talking about here?  Guys with size 14 feet, someone who needs a cummerbund extender, a prescription mask,  has a difficult-to-fit face, needs ankle weights, needs a medical clearance to dive, and the list goes on.  If any of these apply to you (or you’ve got another one I haven’t mentioned), you should really purchase and bring these specialized items with you.  At the very least, you should inquire about their availability at the time of booking your dive.  Even if you don’t own a full set of gear, owning specialty items that you know you will need will give you peace of mind when traveling and make your dive experience a comfortable one.   Though dive shops may have some of these items handy, they also seem to be the first things to disappear or to be needed by more than one diver.  Don’t let Murphy get you; come prepared. 

And back to the mask thing:  if you have a heck of a time finding a mask to fit you, once you find that perfect mask, buy two! Murphy’s law dictates that the moment you purchase this mask that took you forever to find, it will be discontinued, so don’t let Murphy get you!

5. If you are taking a dive class, schedule it for the first part of your trip.  Same thing for any special dives you really reeeeeaaaaaly want to do. This way, if Mother Nature throws some weather at us, we’ll have a better chance of rescheduling and accomplishing what you want!

Did I mention making reservations early?  If you are coming to Maui this holiday season, it’s time to think about your itinerary and get those important bookings made!  The time period between December 20 – January 4 is already booking up big time, so get it done! 

Have you got another tip you’d like to share?  We want to hear it; please post it to the comments section of this blog. 

Aloha, Rachel