Maui Activities: Parasailing, SNUBA Diving, Jet Skiing, Atlantis Submarine, & Hana

During my trip to Maui, I was working every day until 3 PM, so the majority of my activities consisted of lounging by the pool, beach, or the lanai, with laptop at hand, eating Ahi Poke Nachos and sliders. I still found time to participate in a few activities. Some of them were fun, while others made me miss lounging by the pool, laptop at hand, eating Ahi Poke Nachos and sliders…

Parasailing in Maui

The two companies operating out of Kaanapali beach, UFO and West Maui Parasailing, have recently merged, so competition is nonexistent now. At the time, we booked with West Maui and it was an underwhelming experience. They put you on a boat with half a dozen other people, sail around for a good 15 minutes, give you instructions in the way only a snarky tool wearing reflective sunglasses can, assure you that if you fall into the water they’ll get to you before “the guys in the grey suits show up,” and then you get to parasail for 10 minutes tops with up to two people until the next group gets a turn. Then you get to watch other people have fun for the next hour.

If you didn’t catch the subtle dig, the two guys on the boat were douchebags if I’ve ever encountered any. On top of some serious attitude, they had the nerve to stop the boat after everyone had their 15 seconds in the sky and try to sell us souvenir West Maui t-shirts and hats. No thanks.

West Maui Parasailing Kaanapali Beach
Waiting for our boat to take us parasailing

SNUBA Diving in Maui

When I mention to people that I went Snuba diving, they often think I’m mispronouncing “scuba.” Snuba is sort of like scuba diving without the oxygen tank. After a quick safety briefing, you put on a wetsuit, head out 100 feet from the shore with a raft containing an air supply, then you dive with a regulator that is attached to the raft. The Snuba guide will attach a weight belt around your waist that is equal to 10% of your body weight. This is done to help you sink – so lie about your weight if you’re out of shape like I was/am.

My sister and I shared a raft and she was definitely not pulling her share of the weight. By the time we swam to the designated spot, I was out of breath. At one point my sister apologized for kicking my leg. She didn’t kick my leg. Her eyes got wide as she kicked again, then realized it was a rock and not “one of the guys in the grey suits.” This might sound super paranoid, but just four months earlier there was a shark attack on this very beach, just 100 feet from the shore.

It took me a while to catch my breath enough so I could breathe normally into the regulator. Add to this the pressure of the weight belt, and it became quite a task. That is probably the only semi-difficult thing about this activity – figuring out how to breathe normally into the regulator.

There wasn’t much happening 100 feet from the shore, but it was very peaceful. When I began diving deeper, my ears rang and I was forced to swim back to the surface. I was told to pop my ears every two feet to avoid this, but it kept happening, so I had to avoid diving too close to the bottom.

Our guide, Mike, was really great about making sure everyone was ok. He let us explore on our own, but would occasionally wave us over and point things out to us. Ever so often he’d signal to us to make sure we were all doing ok. Overall, this was a fun activity, though next time I’d go with the off-boat version. They take you to prime diving spots so you get to see more sea life.

At the end of the dive when I came out of the water, I felt battered and beaten. Walking, talking, breathing, laughing – everything hurt. The next morning I could barely get out of bed, I was in so much pain. I’m convinced that if I went SNUBA diving for a week straight, I’d have rock hard abs. Diving with a 10 lb weight around my waist was quite a workout, though a lot more fun than time spent at the gym.

At the end of the excursion, we were given a DVD with photos from the dive, taken by our guide. When I popped the DVD into my laptop at home, I noticed the photos were from a different dive. The Shoreline Snuba customer service rep claimed the photos were simply dated wrong, but none of the people in those photos were on our dive. It became clear the rep wasn’t going to be helpful in this task, so I gave up. The photos you see here are not from our dive, but they give you an idea of what Snuba diving looks like.

SNUBA Diving Shoreline SNUBA
SNUBA diving near Kaanapali Beach

Jet skiing in Maui

Jet skiing costs about $90 for an hour rental. You can share the jet ski with another person to offset the cost. There is a company operating right outside of the Hyatt Regency Maui. There isn’t much to say here. You’re on the water riding a motorized vehicle. Be safe and wear your lifejacket. In the next post, I’ll cover a few different ways you can save up to half off jet ski rentals and other activities.

Atlantis Submarine in Maui

I didn’t go on this excursion, but my sister and parents did. They take you out on a boat, then onto the submarine, where you get to explore shipwrecks and all that goes on in the ocean. I expected a much more enthusiastic response from my sister (or maybe I didn’t), but she was sort of indifferent about the whole experience. Apparently, it wasn’t anything to write home about.

Atlantis Submarine Tour Maui
Atlantis Submarine
Atlantis Submarine Tour Shipwreck
Shipwreck on the Atlantis Submarine Tour

Road trip to Hana

The highlight of Maui was definitely the road to Hana. After a while, it felt like I was hopping from one activity to another, getting a soul-less tourist experience. A road trip to Hana and then a drive through unpaved, open roads back to Kaanapali were the highlights of this trip. This was a great way to see something real, to drive through the (almost) untouched roads, come across beautiful beaches without hordes of tourists, and see actual locals live. A highly recommend the experience.

Road to Hana Maui
Road to Hana, Maui

There are endless activities to partake in. You can go snorkeling, which is free if you bring your own gear. Each hotel has an activity booth where you can rent equipment or sign up for activities. Stay tuned for the next post, in which I’ll cover ways to save up to 50% on these and other activities.

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