Join our diving excursion from George Town, Bahamas to the big-animal action and pristine walls and reefs of the Southern Bahamas! We have booked the Explorer Ventures Liveaboard for an all inclusive INCLUDING alcohol and sodas Bahamas Mama...Bahamas Feb 4-11, 2006. Scheduling 5 dives daily, including night dives, the vessel boards in George Town each Saturday and offers 5 ˝ days of diving each week on this top ten rated liveaboards in the world!
Located just east and south of Florida and comprised of more than 700 islands covering 1,000 square miles of ocean, the Bahamas are an enigma - many have visited, but few appreciate their vastness, nor have a clear idea of the topographical variety of dive sites and the wide range of marine life that such a huge area can offer. From blue holes to walls, caves and shipwrecks, from shallow elkhorn coral forests to pelagics both large and small, the Bahamas offer something for everyone, both beginner and experienced diver alike. Great Exuma is a beautiful, untouched Out Island. The tiny capital, George Town, is located next to picturesque Elizabeth Harbour and features many restaurant and bar choices, from French cuisine to local dishes, within walking distance of the dock. The local straw market, where one can view Bahamian women and their traditional straw craftwork, is located just minutes from the dock, as is the “fish fry” where one can sample local cuisine at budget prices. If it is relaxation that one is seeking, this island is well worth staying on for a few days. The beachfront hotels are tranquil and lovely. Nightlife is limited and outside George Town one can find total relaxation.
For $1195* d/o (private sink/vanity but shared showers and heads) or for $1595* d/o (private in suite sink/vanity, shower, head, bath) plus air (see me for bulk rates) you'll have a unique dive vacation unlike any other AND you'll be diving on very pristine sites reachable only by a liveaboard! And if you book and pay in full before Nov 1, 2005 you'll get free Nitrox for the week worth $150 if certified OR if you want to get certified you'll dive it free for the week! (We'll have a reduced rate for the nitrox certification on the trip!) Or if you prefer you can get $25 cash Early Bird Booking as well as your $25 SD.com premier or charter membership rebate!
*$1595 d/o upper berths with in suite private shower, sink/vanity, & toilet. $1195 d/o lower berths with in suite sink/vanity. Use of 2 showers/heads for 5 cabins or 10 people. (There is also another shower on the dive deck.)
(Please see below for full terms and conditions.)
1. Kamala aka Wreck Wench - Dallas, TX (pd-$ lower berth)- Nitrox pd
2. Trace aka TraceMalin - PA (pd - $ lower berth)
3. Craig aka Dive_Buddy - MI (pd - $ lower berth)
4. Casey aka Casematic - Las Vegas, NV (pd $ lower berth) - Nitrox pd
5. Jesse - Las Vegas, NV (pd $ lower berth) - Nitrox pd
6. Kevin aka ScubaDude - Tucson, AZ (pd $1595- upper berth) Nitrox pd
7. Brant aka ScubaBrant - Kirkwood, MO (pd $ lower berth) Nitrox pd
8. Marci aka BabyDuck - Raleigh, NC (pd $ lower) - Nitrox
9. Glen aka Hawkeye1251 - Sequin TX (pd $ lower)
Check's In The Mail:
Instructor: Trace aka TraceMalin
Instruction: Nitrox, Intro to Tech, Night, Advanced Open Water, Deep,
Here is the full information on the trip:
Explorer Ventures Liveaboard Link Click Here
The M/V Caribbean Explorer I completely renovated in 2003, comfortably accommodates 18 passengers in 9 double staterooms, four of which have private bathroom facilities and queen-sized beds. The air-conditioned main salon on the main deck includes dining tables, TV, VCR, CD/DVD, video library, light table and lounge area. A large sundeck with lounge chairs and barbeque is located aft of the upstairs entertainment area, which includes further seating, a bar area, and storage. The dive deck is equipped with a bathroom, individual gear lockers, camera table with low pressure air hose, recharging station, air and nitrox filling stations, tank racks, freshwater shower, and a separate fresh water rinse for both scuba and underwater camera equipment. Below decks are located 5 double cabins with private sink and vanity and two shared bathrooms and showers, as well as the E-6 photo lab. There is a large central stairway accessing the dive platform, where two in-water ladders hang for easy access to and from the water. The Caribbean Explorer I is also equipped with a satellite telephone for outgoing calls worldwide.
TEMPS & CONDITIONS:
The weather in the southern Bahamas is remarkably consistent year-round. The temperatures range from the 70’s (F) or higher in the winter months to the low 90’s during the summer, with nearly constant sea breezes. Water temperatures range from a low of about 72 degrees F in winter to a high of about 82 degrees F in summer. There is normally little appreciable current at the sites we visit, and visibility is generally between 75 and 150 feet. Most divers are comfortable with a 3 mm wetsuit in summer and a 5 mm wetsuit with hooded vest in fall, winter and spring..
Daily direct flights to George Town in the Bahamas are available through Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Charlotte with American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and U.S. Airways. Flights on BahamasAir, Continental and Delta are also available from Miami. In addition, charter flights to Nassau are available from Canada with connecting service with Bahamasair to Georgetown.
Passports are recommended for all arriving foreign nationals, though North American visitors may enter with an original copy of their birth certificate and photo identification. A valid return or onward airline ticket is also required. As of Jan. 1, 2006, a passport will be required of all arriving visitors.
Meeting the Caribbean Explorer I in George Town is simple. Though transfers are not included in the package, you may be met at the airport by a local driver; if due to arrival logistics you are not, just catch a cab for the short ride to the Exuma Services Marina in George Town, where the vessel will be located. The fare is $25 per person, plus a small additional charge for anything over 2 bags per person. If you experience travel difficulties and are delayed, please contact the vessel directly and notify them. (This number will be available shortly.)
The Caribbean Explorer I arrives in port midday Friday, depending on the tides. Passengers spend Friday night and have Saturday breakfast on board; there will be sufficient time to catch a flight out at any time on Saturday. If you have a flight on Saturday afternoon, you are welcome to leave your luggage on board the vessel until time to go to the airport. There is a departure tax, payable in cash, of US$15 upon leaving.
Days aboard Caribbean Explorer I generally involve breakfast from 7 am to 8 am (cold breakfasts are available for late risers), followed by two morning dives, lunch at 12:30 pm, two afternoon dives, dinner at 6:30 pm, and a night dive. Island shore excursions will be arranged when possible for those interested.
Please note also that this itinerary is an example only, and will change depending on weather and logistics at the Captain’s discretion. In particular, it is not always possible to reach San Salvador in certain weather conditions.
1500 Guests board the Caribbean Explorer I at the Exuma Services Marina, George Town
1830 Dinner (snacks or dinner available for those arriving on later flights)
2000 Captain’s Briefing, documents, etc.
2100 Shore leave or simply relax aboard.
Sunday: George Town to Long Island
0500 Depart George Town for 2 ˝ hour transit to Long Island; breakfast on arrival.
0900 Begin diving schedule; 4 dives, possibly 5 depending on tide conditions and logistics.
Monday: Long Island to Conception
0600 Depart Long Island early morning for 1 ˝ hour transit to Conception Island; breakfast on arrival.
0830 Begin diving schedule; 5 dives
Tuesday: Conception to San Salvador
0400 Depart early morning for 3 ˝ hour transit to San Salvador; breakfast on arrival. 5 dives offered.
Wednesday: San Salvador
5 dives offered. Optional 2-hour island tour.
Thursday: San Salvador to Conception Island to Long Island
2 dives at San Salvador, followed by transit at lunchtime to Conception Island. 3 dives offered at Conception. Evening crossing to Long Island after dinner and night dive.
Dawn dive and morning dive, with departure for the trip back to George Town scheduled for lunchtime. Afternoon at leisure; dinner ashore, with night spent aboard vessel at dock.
0700/0830 Continental breakfast
0900 Depart the Caribbean Explorer I. Should you be leaving on an afternoon flight, feel free to leave your luggage on the dock alongside the vessel until you depart; we will watch over it. Due to the necessity of readying the vessel for our next cruise, we must strictly enforce the 9 am departure.
WHAT YOU'LL SEE:
More than 5% of the world's coral is found in the Bahamas; much of the water in the islands is less than 20 feet deep, allowing huge expanses of intricate reef systems. Walls abound, as well; many of the tops begin from 50 to 100 feet below the surface, and plunge to many thousands of feet. The huge area covered ensures that nearly everything found in the southern Atlantic finds its way to the Bahamas - sharks of all kinds, humpback whales, several species of dolphins, whale sharks and eagle rays and arrays of smaller creatures too numerous to list. This area offering a huge selection and variety of diving experiences, matched with an exploratory journey through an island nation spanning more than 1,000 square miles of some of the clearest ocean in the world.
The Southern Bahamas in particular offer the opportunity for a liveaboard dive vessel to visit remote and rarely-visited sites. The wall diving here is spectacular, with beginning depths ranging from 50 to 100 feet, with a few shallower reefs. Large pelagics such as hammerhead sharks will charm the thrill-seekers; large coral and sponge formations and the dramatic walls offer something for critter divers and both wide-angle and macro photographers.
Please keep in mind that the areas which we visit each week can be highly dependent on weather. Though our itinerary in the Southern Bahamas is still being fine-tuned, and will incorporate Cat Island and Rum Cay on an occasional basis as well, highlights of the trip can include the following:
Conception Island - Located 15 miles northeast of Long Island, Conception is an uninhabited reef-rimmed speck on the map. This Land and Sea Park has an area of only 6 square miles, and is a nesting site for endangered green turtles and seabirds - particularly the boobies, which give their name to Booby Cay just to the east.
Underwater, Conception offers drop dead gorgeous walls with a profusion of marine life and plentiful wide-angle opportunities. High profile coral heads are interspersed with sand chutes spilling over the wall; expect to see elephant ear and barrel sponges, schooling horseeye jacks, snappers and groupers - and keep an eye out for both turtles and plentiful sharks, including hammerheads.
Dives available along the Conception wall include The Creek, Chutes and Ladders, Grouper Ledge, Missing Link, Tunnel of Love, and West Bay. Due to the sloping sandy ledge, most of the wall dives at Conception start between 60 – 70 feet but all have spectacular swim-throughs and topography. Only West bay is a shallow dive site which is in 40 ft of water.
San Salvador - Though more commonly known as the place where Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World, San Salvador is unusual in that it is an exposed peak of a sub-sea mountain. There are only 5 islands in the Bahamas with this distinction, and as a result of this, the island is entirely surrounded by walls. The western shore is a massive submerged cliff that hugs the shoreline, begins at 40-50 feet and drops off quickly to thousands of feet. The enormous depth ensures a wealth of marine life, from tiny critters to the hammerhead sharks which are spotted regularly.
Though there are between 15 -20 moored dive sites that we can choose from depending on weather and currents, some of our favorites include:
Great Cut – A truly amazing dive with a very unusual formation - a cataclysmic event caused a 200 ft long section of the wall to split from the main wall, creating a double drop off. Passing the ridge at 40 feet leads you to a chasm which drops to 150 ft. Cross this gap to reach the second section of the wall at 80 feet, which then drops vertically into the deep.
Double Caves – A spur and groove formation reef on the southern part of San Salvador. The top of the reef is at 45 feet, and at least 4 caves or tunnels appear. You can either swim up or down the tunnels, as they are like slides starting at 45 -50 feet and exiting at 85 – 115 feet
Vicky's Reef - a 40 -50 foot reef and wall dive. The wall has a underhang drop down to 110 feet; expect to see huge elephant ear sponges and wire coral. Here you can spot the rare whip coral shrimp, only normally found in Indo-Pacific waters. This is also a great spot for turtles and reef sharks.
Devils Grotto – Starting as shallow as 25 feet with 3 drop offs to a max depth off 120 feet. There are enough swim-throughs to explore this dive site several times over and never do the same profile.
Hole in the Wall – rolling mounds of coral beginning at 45 ft, dropping off at a severe angle with 2 cuts in the wall forming a Y shape at 90 feet. South of the ridge there is a wide cut starting at 50 feet, home to a 7 foot high pillar coral. Look out for eagle rays and occasionally manta rays.
La Crevasse – Very similar to Double Caves but multiplied several times over, huge crevasses over 50 ft deep. The outside wall has a near vertical face with undercuts and an abundance of sponges.
Sandy Cliff – here a spur and grove formation leads to the edge of the wall. An outstanding coral ridge at 30 -40 feet defines the dropoff to a second ledge and cave at 130 feet.
7 nights/8 days aboard vessel
3 meals daily, plus between-dive snacks
SD Famous 'Meet & Greet Get To Know Everyone' Parties
5 dives daily
Use of tanks, weights and belts
All alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
Port and Immigration Fees
SD T-Shirt commemorating the trip!
PACKAGES DO NOT INCLUDE:
• Airport transfers
• Friday evening dinner
• Rental, instruction and retail charges
• Crew gratuities
• Trip Cancellation Insurance
• Departure taxes (approximately US$15)
• Bahamas Port Fee (US$75) – payable on board
• Temporary Fuel Surcharge, if applicable – payable on board
The Single Room Rate is $650 more. (This is being confirmed.)
Ř $25 Mail In Rebate for SD premier or charter membership (Click here for the form & details!
Ř $150 Nitrox credit for Early Bird Booking or $25 discount for early booking and payment in full before Nov.1 2005 OR equivilent off the price of Nitrox instruction while on the trip!
Ř Chance to win FREE Nitrox for the week ($150) for every $500 deposit rec'd by Nov.1, 2005
Ř Price includes cash discount. Please add 3% if paying via paypal or credit card.
Please add 3% if paying via paypal or credit card.
If paying via paypal go to www.PayPal.com and send payment to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to include your address, contact number and screen name in the details section.
If paying via check or money order, please send payment to:
3957 Gaspar Ste#200
Dallas, TX 75220
If paying via credit card (Visa, MC, Diners) download the SD Credit Card Authorization Form, complete and fax to 214-350-2558. Click here for the form.
PAYMENT TERMS & SCHEDULE:
If not taking advantage of our 'Early Bird' Full booking and payment specials then payments are due as follows:
ASAP: $500 deposit required to reserve a spot on the trip. (If received by Nov 1. you'll qualify for the chance to win FREE $150 nitrox for the week.)
Dec 1, 2005: $500
Jan 1, 2005: $195 or $595 (if taking the upper private bath berths)
Note: Trip must be paid in full 60 days prior to departure. (I have gotten a special waiver to stretch it out to 30 days!)
90 or more days before departure 15%
89 to 60 days before departure 25%
59 to 30 days before departure 35% of package
29 days or less before departure Non-refundable
PLEASE obtain trip insurance...it is VERY inexpensive and will protect your investment. You can purchase it right online as well as check quotes etc. It is very economical and averages about $77 for this trip.
Click here for a free quote or to purchase online!
Example quote for me:
Your custom quote is: $76.48
Your custom quote with Supplier and Pre-Existing coverage is: $120.87
(includes Supplier default insurances so you are covered if your airline carrier goes broke or the ship sinks, or goes broke etc. AS WELL as a pre-existing medical clause. This adds Supplier Default coverage and a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver , for an additional $44.39).
Review Your Coverages Insurance Coverage Maximum Limit Per Person: Maximum Limit Per Policy
Trip Cancellation $1,695.00 (I did not include airfare...I will when I do it for real!)
Trip Interruption $2,542.50
Travel Delay $1,000.00
Baggage Delay $200.00
Baggage and Personal Effects $1,000.00
Air Flight Accident $100,000.00
Damage to Your Rental Car
(Call for availability) N/A $25,000.00
Medical or Dental Expense $50,000.00
(Emergency Medical Transportation) $250,000.00
This plan also includes:
Emergency Assistance Services
CSA's comprehensive Emergency Assistance Services are included with each policy. The services include pre-travel advice, medical and legal referral, emergency cash transfer, lost ticket and passport assistance, and emergency prescription refill assistance.
HOW TO BE REACHED ON THE BOAT WHILE TRAVELING:
You can be reached aboard the Caribbean Explorer I from North America via satellite phone at +(TBA). Outgoing calls may also be made. Please be aware that a charge is assessed for both incoming and outgoing calls. (Not sure what the charge is.)
Aboard the Caribbean Explorer I, evening meals usually consist of lots of fresh vegetables, rice, pasta, chicken, beef, turkey, pork, and fish. Breakfast is the usual fare of eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, muffins, danish and fresh fruits. Lunches vary from soup and sandwiches, burgers, pasta, assorted salads, and quiche. Homemade baked breads, cookies and brownies are offered between dives. If you have any dietary restrictions or requests, please indicate so on your application form. Please note that specific brands of drinks, dressings and foods are often unavailable in the islands, and that it can be very difficult for us to find low-fat or soy products, fresh fruit, fish, and other items common elsewhere. While we will do our best to accommodate your requests, please be realistic and consider bringing some of your own foods if the lack thereof may constitute a health risk.
The Bahamian Dollar (equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar) is the official currency; change is often given in US Dollars if requested, and both currencies are used interchangeably. Travelers’ checks and most major credit cards are accepted widely throughout the island.
WHAT TO BRING
Packing for a liveaboard trip is much easier than packing for a land-based vacation. The climate doesn’t require much more than shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits (you may consider slacks, dress shorts or sundresses for dinner ashore). In the winter months, a sweater, long pants and windbreaker for the evenings can be a good idea. Soft luggage is recommended as it takes up very little space when empty. Sun screens, sunglasses, a visor or hat is recommended. In case of rough weather or if you have a tendency towards seasickness, come prepared with motion sickness medications or Transderm patches from your doctor. If you have favorite CD’s or DVD’s, feel free to bring them.
All linens (including sheets, comforters, bath towels, hand towels, dive towels, and wash cloths) are provided on board.
If possible, pack your regulator, dive computer, mask, a swimsuit, change of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Having these few items with you will make an unexpected luggage delay far more bearable.