I have dreamed of channeling my inner-mermaid and becoming a scuba diver for most of my life, so when I finally completed my SCUBA certification two years ago I was head over fins excited! I convinced my husband to get certified six months later (to be fair, I think my night dive with the Manta Rays did more to convince him than all the begging and bargaining I did for months) 😉 and after his certification we kicked off our new hobby with a dive trip to Thailand.
Always the planner, I have spent many nights researching top-rated dive destinations around the globe which in turn lead to an extensive (and exotic) list of places we want to dive. However, before we explored a new destination on our List we had plans to visit Hawaii for our annual Christmas trip, and scuba diving at Molokini Crater would be one of the highlights.
My dad and little brother mentioned that they really wanted to snorkel at Molokini Crater while we dove, so we booked a day out on the Pride of Maui since they to take snorkelers and scuba divers on the same boat. They also offer snuba diving for those interested in learning how to breathe underwater; and because my little brother is as much of a fish in the water as myself, we figured that our trip to Maui would be the perfect opportunity to let him experience snuba diving for the first time.
For those that don’t know, SNUBA is a hybrid between snorkeling and scuba diving — snorkelers are equipped with a mask, fins, weights, and the regulator (the device that allows you to breathe underwater), and the regulator is attached to the air tank which floats at the surface throughout the dive. Snuba divers can descend to a maximum depth of 15-feet which keeps the risk of injury low, meaning almost anyone can try Snuba.
As we boarded the Pride of Maui my little brother began asking question after question about snuba. Is it safe? What does it feel like? Does it feel really far down? Is it going to be cold? What do you think we’ll see? He was nervous, which was understandable, and on our hour-long cruise out to the crater I tried to answer all of his questions to help calm his nerves.
The time came for Cody and I to gear up and prepare for our dive and as I plunged into the 72 degree, crystal-clear, ocean below I couldn’t wait to see what we would encounter on this underwater adventure. On my previous dive at Molokini Crater I had a slight claustrophobia-induced panic attack, and I was a little worried that those thoughts and feelings would come flooding back during my dive; yet thankfully, my worries drifted away in the current (my dive buddy proved to be a good distraction). 🙂
During my descent, I looked towards the surface and saw two snuba divers who smiled and waved from their location above. I was delighted to see that my dad and brother had decided to try snuba, and they appeared to be having a great time.
Throughout our 45-minutes under the sea we encountered multiple schools of fish, a spotted boxfish, pairs of bright-yellow butterfly fish, tiny shrimp hidden within the rocks, and we were lucky enough to see two white-tip reef sharks; one of which was hunting on the reef above our heads.
You guys know that I am fascinated with sharks. I have seen sharks while hanging out on the beach. I’ve swam with sharks in the Bahamas. I have even seen sharks while diving, but I have never been in the water as a shark hunted near-by — and it was a surreal experience — mostly because he wasn’t even vaguely interested in us for dinner, or even an appetizer.
After our dive, we met the family back on the boat where my dad and little brother filled us in on the all of the exciting details about their snuba dive — including what they loved and what they found somewhat difficult (which was mainly just getting used to the fact that they could breathe while 15-feet under water).
In my experience there are scuba diving boats and there are snorkeling boats, and typically these types of boats are mutually exclusive. Every once in a while a dive boat will have a spot for a snorkeler, however, their main focus is on the divers. There is one exception to this otherwise divided industry and that is the Pride of Maui; they have plenty of room for snorkelers and also provide a Dive Master for up to seven scuba divers. With three generations of family — including two certified divers, two first-time snuba divers, and one grandpa just along for the ride — they were the perfect option for the entire family to enjoy a day out on the water.
Do you Scuba Dive? Have you tried Snuba Diving?