The BYU-Hawaii Dive Club gives students the opportunity to earn their PADI Open Water Dive certification and do some dives throughout each semester. “Diving is a life support system. You have to learn your limitations underwater and how deep you can go,” said Curt Christiansen, the club’s adult advisor.
Christiansen, who works as a construction project manager at Facilities Management, started diving when he lived in Idaho. While attending BYUH, he served as president of the Dive Club for two years, and has since been the advisor for 13 years.
One dive is conducted a month, Christiansen said, in addition to other activities like service projects. Dives include deep dives, night dives, and off-shore dives. He mentioned the dives all depend on which part of the island has the best weather.
According to Christiansen, the fee to become a certified diver is $350. “These are good rates given to us by the instructor because we are a club. The fee pays for the manual and the materials, as well as a dive log book, which can be used to keep track of your dives and the things you have seen.”
The certification course takes three weeks to complete. Christiansen relayed, “Once you have read the manual, you need to attend DVD classes to go over what you read and the academic classes led by an instructor.”
Erica Greer, a junior and current president of the Dive Club, said, “I joined the club because my dad had been certified for over 20 years and I wanted to dive with him.”
Greer, an exercise science and special education double major from Washington D.C., explained, “The presidency gets together and plans dives and service projects. Banzai Divers is the company that works with the school. We work with them to find dates to schedule certification and free dives.” She also mentioned that Sharks Cove and Waikiki boat harbor are usually the main places the club does its dives at.
Each dive is guided by a certified dive instructor, stated Christiansen. “The instructor is completely trained as a safeguard to be able to respond to emergencies. Much like a lifeguard, they are there to prevent any accidents and keep you safe.”
Amanda Quent, a senior from Utah majoring in biology, decided to check out the club because “when you go to school in Hawaii, you want to experience everything you can on the island that you wouldn’t normally be able to.
“The club allows students to have the chance to become certified. It’s such a good deal and a good opportunity. We want to show students that there is so much to be taken advantage of by being a part of the club that not everyone gets to experience.”
Club members choose which dives they would like to participate in. Shore dives are $50, and boat dives are $85, which includes the seat on the boat, said Christiansen. “These are only a fraction of regular dive prices. The best part is that all the gear is provided, so you don’t even have to pay to rent each time.”
Diving in Hawaii
As reported by Christiansen, “You can look around and see everything under water, but to look up and see the ceiling of air gives you an entirely different perspective. You can go to the same dive spot dozens of times, and you see new things each time.”
In line with Christiansen’s statement, Quent explained, “Its really cool to flip onto your back, look up to the surface and see fishes swim above you. It’s a view you can’t get anywhere else.”
The peaceful quiet feeling is Greer’s favorite. She continued, “You are weightless and you can see everything around you without having to be at the bottom or floating on top.”
Christiansen admitted that one of his favorite dives is The Corsair plane wreck. According to atlasobscura.com, "The Corsair airplane wreck of Oahu is located approximately 3 miles out from the Hawaii Kai marina.” This plane crashed in World War II and has since become home to many sea creatures down below.
Christiansen said, “You can sit in the cockpit of the plane, and its really awesome.”
Greer and Quent each said they enjoyed diving at Shark’s Cove the most. Greer stated, "At night time, you can see completely new fishes and wildlife that you don’t normally see during the day. The lights you use at night make it all look so pretty when you shine them through the caves.”
Talking about the caves, Quent said, “Just to the left of Shark’s Cove is an area called Cathedrals. If you go at the right time, there are caverns with the sunlight shining through, making it appear as a light through windows of a cathedral.”
When asked about the wildlife seen during a dive, Greer explained it depends on where you are diving. She mentioned seeing sharks, huge turtles, octopi, and lots of fish.
Christiansen stated, “One of the coolest things I have seen was a 12-foot manta ray. I could see into its mouth, it would have probably swallowed me whole.”
For new members or interested students, Greer advised they take advantage of the opportunity while living in Hawaii. She said, “You can use it anywhere for the rest of your life, so it will never be a waste. It’s an entirely different world underwater. When you’re scuba diving, you get to expand your view and look at all God’s creations.”
In reference to the discounted rates offered to the club, Quent said, “It’s a once in a lifetime chance. You’ll regret if you don’t. … After [diving] one time, it becomes natural like riding a bike.”