Otsuji’s Seasport Divers makes bid to become top dog on the island

One of the fanciest new dive boats in the state is just one addition at Marvin Otsuji’s Seasport Divers, which has locations at Kapa’a and Po’ipu but conducts nearly all of its boating activities out of Kukui’ula Small Boat Harbor.

Recently blessed and dedicated was the 48-foot Anela Kai, which translates from Native Hawaiian into “Sea Angel.”

Owner Otsuji actually took delivery on the $450,000 boat several months ago, after a charter business on Midway went out of business and no longer needed the craft.

The custom Pro 48, originally built in Florida, was re-customized for Hawaiian waters, and for total pampering of scuba, snorkel and whale-watch customers, Otsuji said.

He worked on the Anela Kai for several months, and now the craft has dual hot-water showers, generator, TV and VCR, and washer and dryer that among other things delivers hot towels to customers exiting the ocean.

“It’s pretty bullet proof,” and is likely one of the best-equipped dive boats in the state, putting Seasport in the position to be one of the preeminent, or at least best-equipped, dive shops in the state, he said.

Seasport has two other boats, a 32-foot Radon, and a 30-foot Power Cat, 25 employees, and one-hour photo labs in both the Po’ipu and Kapa’a locations, which also offer apparel, dive and snorkel equipment for sale or rent, Ni’ihau shell jewelry, watches, and other offerings.

When people come into one of the shops, they hardly ever leave empty-handed. “I think that has allowed me to stay in business,” he said of the retail sales.

Ni’ihau trips will begin again in May, and Otsuji is negotiating with various entities to offer summertime snorkel and dive excursions to Tunnels Beach on the North Shore.

The Anela Kai is approved to accommodate up to 42 passengers, and can legally carry up to 30 divers. To keep things comfortable, though, the most they’ve taken out so far is 14 divers.

If inclement weather strikes, 20 people can easily fit into the cabin, he explained.

Recently, Otsuji signed a contract with representatives of Norwegian Cruise Line, to offer snorkel cruises to passengers on the ships that call weekly at Nawiliwili Harbor.

Armed with that new, consistent customer base, Otsuji bought two new vans (on e-bay), hired new employees, and installed generators aboard the boats that allow refilling of air tanks at sea, and other amenities all aimed at customer comfort and convenience, he said.

Business has been steady at both locations, and even as war has begun Otsuji is optimistic that domestic travelers will continue to come to the island.

For more information, please call 742-9303 or 823-9222, or see the Web site, http://www.seasportdivers.com.

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