SNUBA ON MAUI – When You Want To Go Beyond Snorkeling

We organized our family trip to Maui, happening upon some amazing fares when Southwest opened up service from California. We knew our daughters were well-versed in snorkeling, but they weren’t yet ready to undertake all the time and commitment to become Scuba certified.

I connected with Brian Heustis, President of Shoreline Snuba, and he is clearly the ideal choice. All his Snuba dives are private, so the attention you get is 100%.

He knew where we were staying, and so in the days leading up to our dive he scoped out the best spot. We had an 8.30am dive, which provided more assurance of a smooth surface for our entry. As Brian pointed out, however, the fish have no idea if it is rough surf or raining, so clear water is the main criterion for a great Snuba dive.

Brian’s truck with Snuba gear, ready to go.

Rafts hold the Snuba tanks above water.

Brian used his infectious humor to put us at ease, and he was serious about the preparation. Snuba is more like snorkeling in terms of interfacing with equipment. Unlike Scuba, the Snuba tank floats on the surface rather than on your back. The breathing is essentially the same, for both Snuba and Scuba you want to breathe gently and comfortably. Unlike snorkeling, however, you can’t pop your head out of the water. With Snuba, you can roam from the surface to a depth of about 20 feet.

Brian was one of the first on Maui to offer Snuba lessons, and his expertise is obvious.

After Brian explained all the Snuba factors, he led us to the beach where he had the two Snuba rafts ready to go. He climbed into his Scuba equipment, and we waded into the water after he hooked us into our Snuba tubes.

Once we submerged in a few feet of water and we exchanged the universal “OK” hand signal, we began cruising around.

The sense of weightlessness and the ability to move in three directions (rather than the two directions to which we are generally accustomed on land) was delightful.

Brian had chosen our site well; there was much to see underwater. The reef was teeming with fish. More than once I lost track of being underwater, it was a pleasant sensation when the logical part of my brain kicked back into gear and reminded me where I was.

All four of us apparently were trained well by Brian in the benefits of breathing easily; our tanks lasted more than 20 minutes.

Brian had told us we were welcome to bring our own underwater cameras, but because he would be shooting he suggested we let him handle that so that we wouldn’t be caught up in photography. That turned out to be perfect advice, one that we should abide on land.

The smiles of my daughters underwater and the glee we exchanged not he beach confirmed we had chosen well.

High fives and fist bumps all around made for a happy Daddy.

More info here.



Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.