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My wife and I will be landing on Maui on Dec. 24th, and will be in Hawaii until the afternoon of Jan. 1st. We are both relatively new divers, with Caribbean experience only. We want to dive a couple days during this vacation, and would appreciate any suggestions about a good dive operation that would cater to less experienced divers, WHERE to dive, what conditions to expect that time of year, etc. Oh, and places to stay, other things to do, etc.
Where you stay in Maui makes a big difference. If you are staying in West Maui (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kahana, etc.), I recommend a trip to Lanai with Extended Horizons. They go out from the Mala ramp in Lahaina. They are good for both experienced and novice divers.
If you are staying in South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena, etc.), then there are several good operators, such as Ed Robinson and B&B scuba. They launch at the Kihei boat ramp and usually go to Molokini for the 1st dive.
The largest, but not the best, operators on the island are Lahaina Divers and Maui Dive Shop.
I use B&B Scuba for almost all my scuba activities. I am an instructor and I have sent them many of my newly certified students with great results and feedback. Just be honest about your experience level and they'll take care of you.
The first 10 days of December --Thanksgiving crowd has gone home, early Christmas rush hasn't arrived.
last 2 or 3 weeks in January -- after the Christmas/New Years rush is over, but before the Feb school break crowd.
early May -- Easter and Spring school breaks are over, people aren't going to Hawaii to get away from snow, and summer vacation hasn't yet started.
Late September--early November -- school vacations are over, but it hasn't been cold enough that people are fleeing the mainland looking for warmth. The week either side of Thanksgiving is very busy, though.
Things never really get too dead in Maui, since the hotels work hard to get corporate events booked into the slow weeks.
September and October are my favorite months on Maui.
The ocean temp is still around 80 and the air temp close to 90 and no crowds.
The rest of the year is good too, but I guess I am spoiled living here as a retiree.
Try shore diving with Maui Dreams in Kihei. My experience with them - nice people, knowledgable DMs, small groups, great shore diving sites. You can go on some nice mellow dives without getting too deep and see alot of great stuff.