We Are Dive Maui
and we love the ocean
The Dive Maui Philosophy
Our philosophy is simple: we believe people protect what they love. We love the ocean. It is our honor and pleasure to share the underwater world so that you may come to love it too.
At Dive Maui we consider ourselves to be ambassadors for the oceans and the natural world.
Our dive trips are designed to give you the best possible encounters and interactions with nature. Through these experiences we believe individuals learn to appreciate, love, care, cherish, nourish, and most importantly, conserve the world’s environment and ecology.
Dive shop with focus on quality and individual experiences
When you dive with us you can expect exceptional service. We are a small, family owned dive shop and we emphasize quality over quantity. Our boats and groups are small making your dive trip safe and fun.
Our courses and discovery dives are taught on an individualized basis by passionate instructors who live for sharing the beauty of the natural world and want you to succeed.
Meet The Team
Jeff Thomas – Instructor
Jeff was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduation, Jeff moved to Arizona and pursued his dream of becoming a fireman. He was hired by the Fire Department in 1995 and currently holds the rank of Captain/Paramedic. In addition to being a fireman, Jeff is a PADI Instructor. Jeff’s true passion is living on Maui where he loves to dive, certify divers, and see the joy in people’s faces as they experience the underwater world.
When not teaching, guiding dives, or personally exploring the ocean floor, you will most likely find Jeff on the beach in his hometown of Lahaina enjoying the sunset with his beautiful wife, Jen, and their dog, Cooper.
Chantal Straus – Instructor
Chantal is originally from Virginia Beach, VA, however she spent time in New Mexico and Georgia where she went to University and got her MBA in International Business. After grad school, she travelled SE Asia for a year where she did her Dive Master in Thailand. She did her Instructor in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef where she worked on a live aboard. She also worked in South Australia with the great whites and Western Australia with the Whale Sharks. Chantal is a Sea Shepherd Volunteer veteran having served on 2 different campaigns in the Bahamas and the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.
When she in not underwater or advocating for ocean protection she enjoys finding new vegan recipes to try, working in her garden or surfing.
CJ Kessler – General Manager
CJ learned to dive at Dive Maui as a kid and worked at the shop during summer breaks at school. CJ is a devoted yogi and in 2016 yoga took her to Thailand where she also went diving and fell in love allover again. She believes diving and yoga are forms of active meditation that open the mind and contribute to a collective consciousness with nature conservation at the heart.
CJ moved from Thailand to Indonesia and enrolled in PADI Divemaster and PADI Instructor courses. Here she met her husband, Nichlas, who is a dive instructor as well. In August of 2018 CJ and Nichlas returned to Maui. When she’s not diving or on the mat CJ enjoys exploring and adventuring around the island with Nichlas and their dog, Zeppelin.
Nichlas Holm – General Manager
This handsome Viking is Nichlas Holm. Nichlas (there’s no “o”) hails from Denmark but has lived all over the world on different tropical islands for the last few years. He loves the Maui life above and below the water. His favorite marine animals are rays and sharks. If you stop by the shop chances are you’ll dive with Nichlas or see him using his handy engineering degree to fix anything and everything that needs fixing.
Ask him about anything to do with the water, or football (the European kind) his favorite team is Manchester United.
Chelsea Barker – Dive Instructor
Chelsea grew up in Niles, Michigan as a freshwater mermaid. She was obsessed with Disney’s The Little Mermaid but wondered why Ariel did not want to be a mermaid because she was completely fascinated with the idea. She is very passionate about preserving the natural world. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Grand Valley State University. Her time in college took her to South Africa twice, where she got certified as a safari guide. During those travels is when she took part in a Discover Scuba Dive in Mozambique, which was a life changing experience for her! One year later she took a trip to the island of Utila just to get her open water certification but left as a dive master and shortly after that began working a dive master in Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Now she is an instructor and loving this life on Maui! When on land, she loves cooking amazing vegan food, doing yoga and exploring the beautiful island we appreciate to call home!
Scott Scharmer – Dive Instructor
Scott grew up in Virginia where he spent most of his life. He always liked the water but never new how to become a scuba diver until he went to college and took his open water class. Eventually Scott decided to become a scuba instructor and moved to Maui where he completed his divemaster and scuba instructor course. If reincarnation is real he would like to come back as a shark.
Conservation & Sustainability
Dive Maui strives to ensure that our business and diving practices are environmentally sustainable to safeguard the ocean for generations to come.
Each member of our team is committed to environmental stewardship because we appreciate how privileged we are to call Hawaii our home.
We are dedicated to following standards and protocols to dive sustainably.
Environmental practices at Dive Maui
We guarantee the following environmental practices at Dive Maui:
- Our facilities and boats are 100% free of single use plastic water bottles. We use refillable jugs for water and juice and gift each diver with a reusable souvenir water bottle made from recycled material.
- Our staff maintains the best environmental practices above and below the water. Our dive briefings provide guests with information on how to minimize our impact on the site. In addition, our staff practice diving protocols that help guests and students improve their techniques in the water, enabling you to get the most out of every dive while cultivating a respect for the marine environment.
- The heart of our business is sustainable tourism. We welcome any questions and discussion about our standards because we know that only through collaborative effort can we effectively protect the ocean for those who come after us.
The Dive Maui team has partnered with the Malama Kai Foundation to install moorings on Lanai so we, and other dive operators, can dive without dropping anchors that destroy reefs.
Our team has taken a leadership role in the mooring line project. We are proud to have installed the last 15 moorings on Lanai that are permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Dive Maui Awards
- Scuba Diving Magazine 2018 Readers Choice Award.
- Cathedrals on Lanai, one of our signature sites was one of the Top 100 Gold Sites according to Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2018 Readers Choice Awards.
- Sport Diver featured dive shop.
- Scuba Diving Magazine rated Dive Maui one of the world’s best dive operators in 2017.
Dive in comfort and style on our pride, Hoku
Our boat is a US Coast Guard Certified 37 foot inflatable boat with an aluminum hull customized for Dive Maui and built with a diver’s needs in mind.
Hoku provides a shaded, dry, stable, and comfortable ride for our guests. Tank storage is configured down the centerline of the boat to minimize rolling while underway and maximize stability when on a mooring.
Custom aluminum boarding ladders and stern doors allow easy access for divers on and off the boat. Hoku is powered by twin ultra-low emission 300HP Mercury Verado Outboards and is capable of reaching 35 knots, making her the fastest dive boat that services Maui and Lanai.