This message contains questions for experienced Hawaii divers.
I am a new (and very enthusiastic!) diver, certified approx 1.25 yrs ago, having done ~20 dives in Cozumel. I am open to adventure and very comfortable in the water. I loved the 3 night dives I did in Cozumel. I wouldn't mind seeing shark species other than the docile nurse sharks one sees in Cozumel; however, I am not seeking dangerous/risky dives. I fully admit that at this stage of experience, I'd want to avoid encounters with sharks or other creatures that have an aggressive/unpredictable/dangerous reputation overall. Also, I am comfortable with 80 ft dives, and wouldn’t mind going a bit deeper to see something worthwhile; however, but I am not looking for extreme dives solely for the sake of pushing limits. My primary interest is in seeing a wide variety of beautiful marine life up close.
A dear friend recently bought a home in Maui and has invited me to stay at her home.
I can afford to take off 2 weeks from work (maybe a little more). I could stay all or part of that time with my friend. I intend stay at least a week with my friend, but beyond that I could stay with her or visit other locations.
If you are an experienced Hawaii traveler I would like your opinion on what you would do if you were in my situation, given my interests and level of diving experience. Is there enough variety in underwater marvels (adventurous but not too dangerous) in Maui to keep a scuba newbie occupied for 2 weeks, or might it be good to try other nearby locations (and if so which ones)?
If you advise locations other than Maui, please suggest hotel accommodations and any other relevant particulars (e.g., dive shops, restaurants, other attractions besides scuba). I am very interested in ecology and geology, so would enjoy visiting volcano sites, rainforests, beautiful nature sanctuaries, etc... (during surface intervals, of course ;-). I have zero interest in shopping, though, so would prefer to avoid tourist areas that cater to shopping crowds.
Thanks in advance,