YOU’RE READY FOR YOUR FIRST SCUBA LIVEABOARD, HERE’S WHERE TO START.
*Originally posted on Explorer Ventures Liveaboard Fleet.
Your friends have just returned from a sensational liveaboard trip in the Turks & Caicos Islands. They’re bragging about their warm tropical days diving-diving-diving and are babbling on about the 5-star dining. You’ve had enough, it’s your turn for a liveaboard adventure! But, you’ve never been on a liveaboard vacation before… Where to begin?
1. START SOMEWHERE EASY.
Maximize your time under the surface, and limit flight time by heading to the Caribbean for your first liveaboard. We recommend the Caribbean Explorer II. For first-timers, this itinerary is exceptional as it offers a rare blend of diving on two popular Caribbean islands, with excursions ‘off-the-yacht’ exploring the local islands on three optional tours. The Caribbean Explorer II is also easily accessible from anywhere in North America, with direct flights to St. Kitts and St. Maarten, its two main ports. Beginner divers will log plenty of bottom-time with up to 27 dives during the week (including night dives), and courses are offered onboard for those who would like to advance their skills.
2. NO DIVE BUDDY? NO WORRIES.
Whether you are traveling solo or have a non-diving partner, you will always have a dive buddy on a liveaboard. One of the main benefits of this type of holiday is meeting other single travelers and new friends. Another reason I recommend Caribbean Explorer II is its excellent policy on single travelers. If you’re willing to share a cabin with another single (whether or not they find you a roommate), you pay the regular price with no single supplement required.
3. HOW TO BOOK.
As a first-time liveaboard traveler, this task may seem daunting. The booking process comes down to two options, 1) self-book, or 2) call a reservations agent or your local dive shop to make the process as smooth as possible (we highly recommend picking up the phone for your first trip). To self-book, select your preferred vacation time frame and match it against Explorer Venture’s online availability here. Determine what weeks are available on Caribbean Explorer II and compare with flights to choose the right week for your trip. If you are flexible on dates, look for promotions that they often have, with pricing starting as low as $1795 USD per person. Make sure to notify your reservation agent of your dietary needs or special requirements at the time of booking.
4. PURCHASE TRIP AND DIVE INSURANCE.
Comprehensive trip and dive insurance policies are your best pieces of equipment. Shop around and compare, be sure to find a policy that has generous benefits for unexpected trip cancellation, medical transportation, and hyperbaric chamber treatments. Some plans include traveling with family, lost or damaged equipment, and specific depth limits, some do not. Find the plan that is right for you. Explorer Ventures provides a helpful guide to navigate options.
5. BRING THE RIGHT GEAR.
Akin to most liveaboards, Caribbean Explorer II provides tanks, weights, and weight belts for your use. If you prefer to rent the rest of your equipment while onboard, they have all of the equipment that you will need. Otherwise, it is the diver’s responsibility to bring their entire dive kit. See a complete item list here.
Pack your most important items (I.e. regulator and dive computer) in your carry on with a swimsuit. This way if your baggage is lost, you won’t miss a dive. Don’t forget to bring your signed waivers, certification cards, logbook, underwater camera or GoPro, and your wetsuit. Most divers are comfortable with a 3mm wetsuit in summer, and up to a 5 mm wetsuit in winter. In addition, if you are Nitrox certified, bring this card along! Due to the high number of dives per day, most liveaboard guests elect to dive Nitrox.
6. PACKING IS KEY.
A week onboard Caribbean Explorer II means up to 5 dives every day and little else but sunbathing and sleeping. Pack light on clothing, you really only need 2-3 changes of clothing throughout your trip. Bring a couple swimsuits, and don’t forget to throw in a sweater (you can thank us later!). You can also leave the towel and those extra shoes behind. One pair of sandals and some runners for your land tour will be sufficient.
Once you’ve arrived onboard, the beauty of liveaboard diving is you only need to unpack your gear once! Be sure to fully setup and test it on deck before the first dive. Sometimes airlines can be rough on baggage and you don’t want to make a splash then find out something was damaged. Once unpacked, free up cabin floor space by asking the crew to store your dive and clothing bags until the end of your trip. You won’t need them.
7. DON’T FORGET MEDICATION FOR SEA SICKNESS.
Don’t let potential seasickness discourage you from your first liveaboard adventure. Even the most seasoned sailors can be susceptible. It’s far more common than you think. Caribbean Explorer II is much larger than the day boat’s you’ve been on, and at 115ft, a good size for a first trip. Many guests find that they get used to the ocean motion after a few hours. Most night moorings are in calm, protected areas to allow for a good night’s rest. Liveaboards typically have a small stock of medication onboard, but they may not have your preferred brand. Pack your desired remedy just in case and be sure to take some before you get onboard if you suspect you may become ill. Don’t be embarrassed if you do get sick, it has happened to all of us at some point.
8. RELAX AND BE BLISSED OUT.
Bring a book. Let work and loved ones know you’ll be unavailable while you’re ‘at sea’. Turn off your cell phone and put your computer away (most likely, you won’t have an internet connection anyhow). Plan in advance to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the sea. Diving holidays on Caribbean Explorer II are meant to be blissful and uncomplicated. Dive, relax, dine, sleep, repeat… the charm of liveaboard diving.
Are you ready to take the leap to liveaboard life? Learn more about Caribbean Explorer II here.
Booking with Explorer Ventures Fleet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking Telephone: 1-307-235-0683