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Live Aboard dives


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#1 diveguy101

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 10:40 PM

I have a question. Does anyone here have experience on these live aboard dive trips? I get the scuba magazine every month and see the ads about the dive aboard. I just wanted some feed back. The prices are out of my range right now. I plan on booking a reservation on one in the future. Is the food any good, rooms pleasant, staff nice, is their a safe to store personal belongings? All these questions I have. Do you get to explore islands too. I want to dive in all locations but I also want to explore these islands as well. I love adventure.


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#2 WreckWench

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:40 AM

You will get a LOT of feedback on this question and all liveaboards are similar but also different. SD is a booking agent for EVERY liveaboard so can book your adventure AND SAVE YOU MONEY! That's right we can book your liveaboard for less than retail AND you qualify for our membership rebate if you are a premier member too! kamala

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#3 Xcelratr

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:00 AM

Truk Aggressor in 2000
Palau Peter Hughes boat in 2000
Nekton Pilot in Belize in 2007
Fiji Aggressor III in 2008

All were tremendous experiences. Good, clean, well maintained boats with many comforts. Every boat had excellent captains and friendly, helpful crew. The food was good (although I'm not much of a food critic). The diving was also excellent since the boat can go where ever the conditions are best. It's concierge diving, walk to the back of the boat, suit up, dive, get back aboard, drop gear in station, go take a shower, eat, sleep, then do it all again. It's pretty cool to walk a total of 200 feet in the course of a day and do 5 tanks on 3 different dive sites, lol. Also, the liveaboards tend to be out in the boonies during the week, so the only group on the dive site is usually your boat group. Empty ocean is yay! Buddies are easy to come by if your buddy is taking a nap. You don't have to worry much about money over the course of the week because basically everything's included. You don't have to figure out where to go for meals.

Downsides: Even a high-end boat cabin is still a boat cabin and is much smaller than most hotel rooms. You'd better like the captain/crew/passengers, because you're going to be stuck with them for a week no matter what. With perhaps a few exceptions, the week is VERY dive focused. I've hardly seen anything of any of the above locations. Spent an afternoon/evening ashore in Fiji, did an afternoon ashore in Truk, but hardly saw anything of Belize or Palau. That's easily fixed by adding a few shore days before or after the week on the liveaboard. I think the Galapagos boats have more dry itinerary built into their schedules. If you're subject to seasickness, your first day or two might be miserable and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it.

There's also a debate about safety because the liveaboards can put you farther from emergency resources than you'd be on a day boat that by definition is close to shore and civilization. But by the same token, a liveaboard can be pretty well stocked with first aid and equipment, and can probably take better care of you immediately following a dive than a panga with an outboard.

I've had such great liveaboard experiences that I'll always consider one, especially a Peter Hughes or Aggressor boat. However, there are some destinations that just lend themselves more to shore based diving. The dive-vacation vs vacation-that-involves-diving debate is entirely up to you, your other interests and your time/$ contraints.

Hope this helps. $0.02
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#4 DiverBabs

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 08:25 AM

Welcome to SD Kevin.

The folks here are not only friendly, but a group of avid divers and therefore a wealth of information!

I personally am a big fan of live-a-board diving. I agree with Xcelratr on all points... all good things to consider about liveaboard travel.

Only thing I would add… you asked about the safety of your belongings…. I’ve done quite a few live-a-boards with a variety of different Ops and this has never been an issue. You’ll find on most live-a-boards that you are asked to leave your cabin door unlocked (or most times open) when you are not inside. This lets the crew know that they can freshen the room without disturbing you.

Live-a-board travel lends itself to light packing. You don’t need a ton of clothes as most of your time is spent in bathing suits, shorts/T-shirts. Very casual…. So no need for the Rolex! Leave it at home unless it’s your dive watch. :teeth:

Dive gear, computers, cameras, ipods etc… are all left spread out at charging stations etc. I’ve never been on a boat that had an issue with this.

Again, there is a wealth information to be gathered from SD members. In the future, if you are focusing on a particular live-a-board/location… ask again for folks that may have recently booked that trip. I’m sure you can get some great feedback.

Edited by DiverBabs, 09 January 2010 - 08:27 AM.

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#5 uwphotoer

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 09:00 AM

I can't say much more than what's been said..... do you want to dive a lot, and usually in locations that don't get many visitors.... or do you want to be on land...... sorta the way I see it.
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#6 georoc01

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 09:34 AM

I did a liveaboard over in Australia a couple of years ago with SingleDivers and it was a great experience. For places like the Great Barrier Reef or Galapagos, its the only way to go. You are just too far from shore to really be able to do it on a land based trip.

I agree with all of the feedback above. You are on a boat with no escape. These aren't cruise ships, but working boats built around maximizing your dive time.

Some people prefer a dive vacation, others a vacation with some diving. If its the former, a liveaboard is a great way to go, if its the latter, not as much. The other downside is that it can be more expensive overall, but on a per dive basis can look much better.

#7 WreckWench

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 09:46 AM

Most people LOVE liveaboards...as said above....its EAT, SLEEP and DIVE and REPEAT!!! :birthday:

As a result SD offers on average 3-4 liveaboards a year. This year we are offering Mayaguana in April, Turks & Caicos in Sept and and probably something in the winter. We just did Galapagos last Oct and Mona Island in Dec and we are doing Truk in early 2011.

The primary downside is NOT doing land things and missing the culture. Or just getting out to see 'the town'. If the latter is you, then you won't like being captive on a boat. If you are prone to sea sickness or claustrophobic you will not like a liveaboard.

I hope this helps...kamala

p.s. a trip of any kind but especially one of Single Divers is always more fun! Consider joining us if you decide to do one! I know Babs has, Georoc01 and uwphotoer have all been on SD liveaboard trips and had a blast! :teeth:

Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
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#8 Capn Jack

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 09:57 AM

I have a question. Does anyone here have experience on these live aboard dive trips? I get the scuba magazine every month and see the ads about the dive aboard. I just wanted some feed back. The prices are out of my range right now. I plan on booking a reservation on one in the future. Is the food any good, rooms pleasant, staff nice, is their a safe to store personal belongings? All these questions I have. Do you get to explore islands too. I want to dive in all locations but I also want to explore these islands as well. I love adventure.


Take care.

Others have summarized pretty well - bottom line for me is they are great experiences to places that are inaccessible otherwise. They are dedicated dive trips with most of your sight-seeing being under the surface. When I took the SD trip to Australia, we spent an additional 3 weeks roaming around Oz before the trip - which I only wish had been more. There were liveaboards doing the Palau sites as well, but I really enjoyed the shore time there, even though it's not a real tourist hot spot, it's nice to stretch your legs in the evening and pick the food from a menu.

One big plus of going with SD on one of these is you have some friends already built-in when you show up, and a trip leader that will help you pair up with a better buddy than you might discover on your own in a boat full of total strangers. We also usually have our own instructor or at least a couple of DMs that greatly add to your comfort level if you're a new diver.

Enjoy - it's all good.
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#9 weescot

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:50 PM

I am a relative newcomer to liveaboards - did my fist one 16 months ago. I have since done another 4 - so pretty much the same as the others - they are great if all you want to is dive dive dive. I have tried an independent budget operator (no hot water and shared my bunk with ants), mid price (Red Sea and Oz) and high end (Peter Huges x2). I prefer the high end to be honest (no surprises there!)- if you are going to spend the bucks, you may as well do it properly. My buddy and I were miserable on the budget option - never again, although the diving was awesome (Lembeh Straights)

Space will always be at a premium, but you learn to pack accordingly, and you are given somewhere to store bags etc. Food is usually plentiful (only exception was the Ocean Dancer). You should also get Nitrox certified - all liveaboards offer Niotox (except again, the Ocean Dancer - their Nitrox compressor was broken!!!!). Other advantages of liveaboards is they have much better access to more remote dive sites so you generally avoid dive sites more frequeted by day boats - at least at times the day boats are not there. My best ever night dive was on the Thistlegorm - me, my buddy and our guide :birthday:

The only potential downside of liveaboards is if you are travelling independently, with or without a buddy, you may get stuck with a group that may stick together and not be that sociable with the others onboard. but in general, everyone gets on and it really is the only way to dive - if that is all you want to do :teeth:
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#10 diveguy101

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:03 PM

OK. You all got me sold I'm going. Time to start saving. I'm taking my diving certification next month. I just returned from Orlando Florida. I need to recuperate financially. One question. I read in the scuba mags not to do multiple dives in a day. I know that these live aboard dives offer up to 5 dives a day. It's due to the Nitrogen in the body. Is this true? Second. How do I get in touch with a Colorado group leader to book one or just a dive? Thanks everyone for the information. I appreciate it. Your all so great. :teeth:



#11 Victoria

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:25 PM

OK. You all got me sold I'm going. Time to start saving. I'm taking my diving certification next month. I just returned from Orlando Florida. I need to recuperate financially. One question. I read in the scuba mags not to do multiple dives in a day. I know that these live aboard dives offer up to 5 dives a day. It's due to the Nitrogen in the body. Is this true? Second. How do I get in touch with a Colorado group leader to book one or just a dive? Thanks everyone for the information. I appreciate it. Your all so great. :teeth:


I'm thinking that you may have misread something, for multiple dives in a day are perfectly safe and normal when proper procedures are followed. As I am a recreational diver, and not a professional, I'll leave it to one of our dive pros here on the boards to give you the specifics in a follow-up post. What they tell you here will dovetail with the instruction you'll receive next month when you go through your Open Water certification class.

As for booking on an SD trip, you don't need to get in touch with anyone in Colorado. WreckWench (aka Kamala) is your go-to person, but she does all of the trip info and booking within this website. It's truly one-stop-shopping. Take a look here, to see what trips are scheduled this year, and you'll find all of the info you need in the individual trip threads.

:birthday:
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#12 georoc01

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 04:19 PM

OK. You all got me sold I'm going. Time to start saving. I'm taking my diving certification next month. I just returned from Orlando Florida. I need to recuperate financially. One question. I read in the scuba mags not to do multiple dives in a day. I know that these live aboard dives offer up to 5 dives a day. It's due to the Nitrogen in the body. Is this true? Second. How do I get in touch with a Colorado group leader to book one or just a dive? Thanks everyone for the information. I appreciate it. Your all so great. :teeth:


First of all, its rare to do just a single dive in a day. By the time you travel somewhere, spend all time hauling and traveling with gear, to go under water for just a single tank a day is rare. Maybe in form of a check out dive or if short on time might be the only case.

When you do your OW cert, you will learn all about the effects of nitrogen on the body, and how to manage it.

The only real leader this site has is Wreck Wench. We do have an angel in Colorado in uwfan. If you want any Colorado info you can contact me as well. I've helped set up a few happy hours and we are probably due for another one soon. Maybe we will even hear from our own scuba cowboy aka Pup aka Neptuner on this board.

#13 diveguy101

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 05:02 PM

OK. You all got me sold I'm going. Time to start saving. I'm taking my diving certification next month. I just returned from Orlando Florida. I need to recuperate financially. One question. I read in the scuba mags not to do multiple dives in a day. I know that these live aboard dives offer up to 5 dives a day. It's due to the Nitrogen in the body. Is this true? Second. How do I get in touch with a Colorado group leader to book one or just a dive? Thanks everyone for the information. I appreciate it. Your all so great. :teeth:


First of all, its rare to do just a single dive in a day. By the time you travel somewhere, spend all time hauling and traveling with gear, to go under water for just a single tank a day is rare. Maybe in form of a check out dive or if short on time might be the only case.

When you do your OW cert, you will learn all about the effects of nitrogen on the body, and how to manage it.

The only real leader this site has is Wreck Wench. We do have an angel in Colorado in uwfan. If you want any Colorado info you can contact me as well. I've helped set up a few happy hours and we are probably due for another one soon. Maybe we will even hear from our own scuba cowboy aka Pup aka Neptuner on this board.



Thanks. I will will be happy to meet with the group here. Does everyone meet in Denver? I live in Parker Colorado.

#14 diveguy101

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 05:04 PM

I can't say much more than what's been said..... do you want to dive a lot, and usually in locations that don't get many visitors.... or do you want to be on land...... sorta the way I see it.



I have to ask. How did you get that hoarse on the bottom? Your having too much fun lol. Thanks for the comment.

#15 uwphotoer

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 07:19 PM

I can't say much more than what's been said..... do you want to dive a lot, and usually in locations that don't get many visitors.... or do you want to be on land...... sorta the way I see it.



I have to ask. How did you get that hoarse on the bottom? Your having too much fun lol. Thanks for the comment.


That's actually there in the ocean under about 25' of water in Cane Bay St Croix USVI, and I always have fun when I'm diving.
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