KIHEI, Maui -- All it took was one short morning lesson on the basics of scuba gear and I was ready to dive into the ocean for the first time. My diving instructor had covered everything: the buoyancy control vest, scuba tank, regulator, pressure gauge, weight belt, mask, snorkel, fins and wet suit. And what better place to begin my Shaka Divers' Introductory Scuba Dive Adventure than in Maui?
With the breathing regulator in my mouth, I pressed the deflator button on my buoyancy control vest and down I went. The incredible sea life that I had experienced on many prior snorkeling outings in Hawaii now came into uninterrupted view: brilliant colored fish and coral; green sea turtles, a slowly recovering endangered species not commonly found in many places; large and small eels regularly popping out their heads and snapping open their snouts.
The instructor, Captain Doug Corbin of Shaka Divers in Kihei, knew what to look for and quickly pointed things out to me and two returning divers visiting from New York. We played with a small octopus. We spotted a camouflage frogfish.
The small group environment made for a relaxing experience.
"I try to emphasize fun and adventure, in a no-rush dive environment," Corbin, better known as "Shaka Doug," explained. "I get people who come back every year or two."
Personalized service is what Shaka Divers is all about. Shaka Doug operates his business out of his Shaka Divers Scuba Bus, in which he transports equipment to his clients when he hooks up with them at designated beach locations.
Corbin knows the best spots along the beautiful south coast of Maui for both amazing shore dives and snorkel trips. He knows what beginners need to become confident and safely enjoy the underwater world.
Whether your clients are looking for advanced scuba diving instruction or basic snorkeling techniques, it is always best to recommend a professional. How do you clear a snorkel? What is the proper fit for fins and mask? How do you dive under the surface? What should you watch for or stay away from? Where should you go? All these are invaluable lessons to be gained from a local expert.
"If you spend a little time first to learn to use the mask and fins, then you can go out and have fun," Shaka Doug remarked.
Shaka Divers' Introductory Scuba Dive Adventure --referred to as the "1-2-34-Dive! Program", costs $79 per person. The minimum age is 10. The four-hour course includes scuba gear, lesson and a 20- to 40-footdeep coral reef beach dive.
The three-hour Shaka Snorkel Safari outing costs $25 per person and covers snorkeling gear, snorkeling skills and an opportunity to see "the good stuff," Corbin stated.
Both courses are available daily at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Travel agents receive a 20 percent commission.
Certified divers and graduates of the introductory course can dive for $49. A complete PADI scuba certification course is available for $350. Adventure courses include torpedo scooter usage for scuba or snorkeling as well as night dives.
While boat tours are popular for visitors to Maui, Shaka Divers' guided shore dives can reach most of the same dive spots, cost significantly less and allow for a later start time than many of the boat trips.
The guided tours are great for families. "It is a bonding experience," Corbin noted. He also offers a honeymooners' special.
Be prepared to see many surprising sights. On my second dive of the day, we approached the mouth of a cave with a five-foot reef shark sleeping inside. Though it was startling, our diving expert told us it was harmless.
Perhaps, but that's not what I'll be telling my friends!
Shaka Divers Captain Doug Corbin www.shakadivers.corn 808-250-1234 captdoug@shaka divers.com
Source Citation:Aronson, Karla. "In deep with Shaka Divers: this Maui diving school will open a whole new world to clients." TravelAge West 39.23 (Nov 8, 2004): 56(2). InfoTrac Small Business eCollection. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 27 Sept. 2009
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