I live in Hilo and have dove with Bill many times. As others have said, he loves diving and it shows. He also loves underwater Hilo and knows more about it than anyone else alive. In fact, he has personally tended some of the underwater features (such as his coral garden) for many years. It is indeed a "mom and pop" business, but it *is* a business after all and must be run as such. Bill and Masako will accommodate many things, but they do need to make money. It's not a high-volume shop with all sorts of frills and young, tanned, chatty divemasters eager to sell equipment and tours, but rather a place to go for expert knowledge of gear, technique, and the dive sites. Bill is a patient master instructor, but he is more interested in making sure his students learn thoroughly than in just making them happy and certifying them when they aren't ready. I've been diving for many years but on every dive he points out some way I can improve and his advice has always proven sound. As for being ten minutes late for something (which they have never been with me, by the way), this is Hilo and not New York City or Zurich. Relax. Get used to island time, brah. Soon enough you'll go back home where your gastroenterologist will be right on time prescribing ulcer medication and your therapist will end the session after precisely 50 minutes. Better still, come back and dive with Nautilus and just enjoy the wonderland we have off of our lava rocks. Our honu will welcome you.
I live in East Hawaii, and recently decided to brush up on my diving skills after getting certified many years ago. Bill at Nautilus was very positive from the beginning. He looked at my old gear, and instead of putting it down and steering me towards his brand new product, he found a few nice things to say about it, and I hired him to check it all out. I participated in the annual Earthday cleanup dive at Coconut Island, where I met a lot of great local divers who use and appreciate Nautilus asthe needed resource it is.
Every time I go in, I am greeted warmly by Bill or his wife Masako. Bill loves diving and it shows. This is a "mom and pop" dive shop, not the Mall of America. Please don't count out Hilo as a spectacular dive destination, you may be pleasantly suprised. and don't believe a few sour comments from hurried tourists afraid of a few raindrops.
I'm a 55 year old first time diver and recently finished my PADI Open Water Diver training with Bill at Nautilus Dive Center. I completed the E-learning online coursework before I arrived in Hilo. I was the last in my family to learn to dive and I was hoping for a great learning experience with someone not just going through the motions or rushing me through.
My wife checked out the shop before I arrived and she thought I would be pleased. She was absolutely correct. Bill was a marvelous instructor and inspired confidence in his students. He took extra time with those who needed it and was never pushy. He wants his students to learn, understand and enjoy diving now and for years to come. He loves what he does and it shows. I couldn't be happier with my experience with everyone at the dive shop.
Warning! Don't go to Nautillus Dive Center in Hilo if you can avoid it. They are rude, unhelpful and unpleasant.
First, since they don't open early, we had to rent the evening before. The lady was useless for dive info and only cared about her money. My husband innocently asked if the tanks were ready for him to start loading and she freaked because she hadn't run my card yet.
The next morning we aborted our dive because it had been raining after a dry spell and we didn't want to go in with the airport and road oil and grime. This time the same lady was there and a guy. He was such a jerk. They opened 10 min late and greeted us with an attitude of "what do you want". He mocked me (not in a lighthearted way) that we didn't go diving in the rain because "you are going to get wet anyway". He just humphred at my explanation of not wanting urban run off like we were stupid.
I knew they didn't have refunds, but i thought I'd at least try. I kindly asked If they'd give some refund since we were returning full tanks unused (had they opened early enough we wouldn't have had to come the day before!) His response was not empathic or apologetic that we just lost out and didn't get to use the equipment. He was cold and unfriendly. "Thats the policy, once you walk out the door, no refund." Then the shrewd lady started freaking out about her money again... my husband had to make multiple trips to bring in all four tanks and all the weights. She jumped all over me that all the weights weren't returned. I looked at her puzzled and explained that he was making multiple trips put to the car to bring everything in (as if that wasn't plainly obvious).
I can't even begin to list all the other small unpleasant incidents. There was never any friendly chit chat, no talk of diving, no helpful tips, all just give me your money and get out of here. We will NEVER give them our business again and will spread the warning to our diving friends.
I wish that I read the reviews of this place in advance as I see now that many others experienced the same. They'll probably lose their business because they don't know what customer service is. Hopefully Hilo will have dive shop owners to be proud of. I can't wait to get back to Kona.
My review would have been the same had we gotten some refund or not. Every moment of both visits to the shop was very unpleasant.
They might be sour because of a lack of business but they actually have a lack of business because they are sour.
Hey, there are other places to rent snorkel gear from in Hilo. I do not know if they are any better but it is worth a chance. Nautilus is unfriendly and limited hours. I wanted to rent for long day trip on Saturday. So went to Nautilus as they closed Friday nite at 5pm. Could not make it back by 5pm Saturday when they close. They are not open on Sunday. I was there at opening 9am Monday and he said it had to be 2 day rental. I guess technically that is right but it did not need to be. I am a local and he did not care a bit. If you only need stuff for local use and a couple hours it may work for you but otherwise, try a different place in Hilo. I am going to Walmart to buy some gear.
The guy was rude and rushes through all the info so fast I feel like I learned nothing and I would be very unprepared to enter the water. If you are looking for a cheap place to get certified fast this is the place to go but if you actually want to be a good diver and learn everything right and be comfortable in the water when you are certified then pay that little extra and learn the right way. The class was always getting interrupted by phone calls a people coming in that he needed to help so we sat there most of the time twiddling our thumps waiting for our instructor to return finish the lesson. He either needs to find someone to help him in the shop while he is teaching a class or have the class after the shop is closed or on days that it is not open. As far a dive or snorkel equipment goes he has ok stuff but not the best. I bought a snorkel from him one that he suggested and it is horrible I cant get water out of it no mater how hard I blow to try to get the water out. I am constantly coming to the surface and taking the snorkel out of my mouth to get the water out.
We had a blast in Hilo thanks to the Nautilus Dive Center!!!
This is the place for good clean fun at a very reasonable price with a family environment, or as the say on the island, "Ohana!"
We learned a lot about SCUBA and felt very comfortable with our instructor Bill who had over 30 years experience! He showed us things in the ocean that we never knew existed...I had no idea how big Sea turtles are!!!
We are headed back to Hawaii soon, and the Nautilus Dive Center in Hilo will most certainly be on our itenerary!!!
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