Does the price of the voyage
No. Odyssey Expeditions students come from 50 states and many foreign countries, and it is therefore not possible to include airfare in the prices of our programs.
Who makes my travel Arrangements?
Do I need a passport?
We suggest the TUI Moorings Travel Service
(from North America) but you are not required to use them.
Our direct air agent is Soun Saysonvang
may be reached at 866.649.2003
M-F EST, or email
. Leave her a message if she is unavailable, and she will return your call. The TUI Moorings Travel service works exclusively with charter boat guests and they are happy to give you a quote and can help arrange for students to travel together.
Do I need a visa to travel abroad with Odyssey Expeditions?
Valid passports are required now to any travel outside the US, a birth certificate will not suffice! If you want to get a passport, applications are available at the post office. US citizens can find downloadable passport applications and other helpful information on the State Department website
. It normally takes six weeks to process a passport application.
What if I have never traveled alone before?
No visas are required for US or Canadian citizens participating in the British Virgin Islands and Windward Islands. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, please refer to VISA
for the British Virgin Islands requirements and or VisaHQ
or contact our office for more information. Passports are required for all voyages.
For many Odyssey shipmates, this is the first time they have taken flights without friends or family. Airlines can arrange for students to be met in the connecting city and to be escorted to their connecting flight. Fees vary for this service, but generally the airlines charge around $100 each way for "Unescorted Minor". As well, it is possible that there will be another Odyssey Expeditions shipmate on your flight, especially if you are coming from a major city. If you would like to co-ordinate travel plans with another Odyssey Expeditions shipmate, please call our office and we can let you know if there are other students coming from your area on travel day.
What is a "Travel Day"?
Your travel days are the first and last days of your program. You should arrive on the first day of your program and you will depart on the last day. For example, if your trip dates are June 18 to July 08, you will fly to program on June 18th and home July 8th.
What time I should I arrive?
You can arrive from early in the morning until late at night. We recommend that you book the earliest flights available to ensure that any flight delays allow for rebooking on later flights that day. On your return home you should also depart early to avoid overnight delays.
Can I use frequent-flier
Yes, you can make travel arrangements using your frequent-flier miles.
Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) are young travellers, defined by the airline as being too young to travel without direct supervision. The airlines designed these programs to help
provide additional security to your student while they travel. If your participant is originating from points outside of the US, this may not apply.
Airliness have various rules and policies and they can vary widely. Even within the United States, fees range around $100 each way, some airlines don't accept unaccompanied minors at
all, some require the service until a child reaches 15 years old, while others will not offer it at all once a child reaches 12 years old. Some airlines let you connect on
international itineraries to other airlines and some only permit nonstop domestic flights. The rules and fees for unaccompanied minors are truly all over the place.
The following is a general overview of (UM) requiremets:
- Your child must take (UM) status if they are defined as such. It is mandatory based on age unless the student is flying with a family member who is older than the designated (UM) age, or a non-family member over the age of 18.
- You must pay for (UM) status for BOTH the outbound and return flights while checking in for the outbound leg. If your student becomes “of age” during the program then this will not apply for the return leg.
- You will need to provide the name and contact details of Odyssey's Representative in the arrival airport during the check-in process. We will post this to you a few days prior to the program start date.
- You must ensure that the entire trip uses a single airline carrier on both the outbound and the return itineraries.
- You must confirm with the airlines that your student is not flying on the last flight of the day. Airlines will not take responsibility for an Unaccompanied Minor overnight.
- If joining a BVI program, understand we can only accept (UM)s flying to St. Thomas because we will not have a staff representative in the San Juan airport.
- (UM)s flying from St. Thomas must have flights that depart no later than 3:30pm.
Links to specific airline policies:
If you have any questions regarding UM status, please feel free to give our office a call at+1.727.619.6246.
Flight Arrangements General
We suggest the TUI Moorings Travel Service (from North America) but you are not required to use them.
Click Here to see detailed Flight information in our For Parents section
They may be reached at 800.535.7289, or Soun Saysonvang, our Tui Air Agent, direct number
The TUI Moorings Travel service works exclusively with charter boat guests and they are happy to give you a quote and can help arrange for students to travel together.
Do I need any specialinoculations for trips abroad?
It is not necessity to obtain any special inoculations or vaccinations.
How can I be reached en route?
The Caribbean islands of the Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada have opened to travelers of all COVID-19 vaccination statuses.
Our yachts are equipped with cellular phones as well as radio communication equipment. Parents can call Odyssey Expeditions office throughout the summer to relay any
emergency information. Shore visits at selected points allow participants to call home.
What should I bring?
Can I bring a cell
All non-personal necessary equipment is provided, including scuba gear, safety
supplies, and sporting equipment, science equipment and other items required for program
activities. Only a wet-suit, dive booties and diving manuals need to be purchased. Upon
signing up, you will receive a list for packing your Sea
. You probably already have most of the personal equipment needed,
such as clothing, a rain jacket, hiking shoes... If you have your own SCUBA equipment you
are welcome to bring it.
The voyage experience is 'unplugged' and as such, cell phones, tablets, etc., and
personal electronic usage is not part of the program. Breaking free from the clutches of
technology overuse isn’t just a nice idea; it’s something that is achievable. Humans have
always escaped to nature as an antidote to a hectic life. No constant screen time & endless
scrolling, Tic-Tok, Instagram, email, Facebook, IM, Spotify…
Can I bring my
When shipmates meet their
Odyssey staff at the start of programs, they are to call home and let their families know
that they have arrived safely. ALL CELL PHONES are collected, even if the phone doubles as a
shipmate's alarm clock, camera, music player, address list, gaming system, etc. Please step
back a few years in the expectation of frequency for communications; think once every few
days, not a text every few hours. If you do not hear from your loved one, do not worry. IF
ANY PROBLEM ARISES, WE WILL CONTACT YOU.
We have times scheduled for phone calls home
throughout the program (typically about every 3-5 days). Every voyage itinerary is
different, and schedules and locations may affect access to phones and internet.
Put it on a thumbdrive and the stereo can play it. No earphones are allowed.
Can I do
Yes, the preferred method is to hand wash your dirty clothes in a soapy bucket
before we come into port, then rinse them with fresh water at the port and hang them out to
dry. There are some locations with laundry machines, but do you really want to watch a
laundry machine while in port?
How much spending
money should I bring?
We suggest approximately $100 per week for personal items, smoothies, postcards,
Do I need to bring any
money other than spending money?
Participants are required to bring $200 (cash) that will be deposited with the
yacht's captain to be used in the unlikely event of an emergency. The money is returned on
the last day of the voyage. There is also a departure tax at the airport of $20
What is a "Travel
Your travel days are the first and last days of your voyage. You should arrive on
the first day of your voyage and you will depart on the last day. For example, if your
voyage dates are June 23 to July 13, you will fly to program on June 23rd and home on July
Will someone be at the
airport to meet me on the first day of the trip?
Absolutely! When you sign up for a voyage, you will be sent information which
outlines when we would like you to arrive and depart. Once your family has made your travel
plans, we ask you to send all of your flight information back to our office. This
information is then given to your Odyssey Expeditions leaders who will be sure to meet you
at the airport when you arrive.
How will my parents know
that I have arrived safely and met my group on travel day?
When you get off the plane at your final destination and have claimed your luggage,
you will be met by one of your Odyssey Expeditions leaders. you will call your parents to
let them know that you arrived safely and met your Odyssey Expeditors group.
What about Immigration and
If you are traveling from the United States you will go through immigration when
you arrive at your destination. Then you will claim your bags and go through customs. The
governments of the BVIs, St. Lucia and Grenada welcomes your visit to their islands and this
is just a minor informality. On the way home you will go through immigration and customs at
your first US airport most likely in St. Thomas, Puerto Rico or Miami.
What if I have a problem
on travel day?
The Odyssey Expeditions office will assist you and keep your parents informed. You
will have a printed travel information card with our number that you should carry with you
during the travel day.
Why Choose the British
The Windward Islands Archepelago features the best of two worlds. The sailing is beyond
comparison, with constant trade winds to make for exciting sailing, along with calm,
protected waters to make for smooth sailing. The underwater world is rich and spectacular,
with five large shipwrecks, and many pristine and colorful reefs, walls, sea mounts, and
grottoes teeming with life. The islands themselves have beautiful rain forests, tall
mountain peaks, and rich cultural history.
Why small groups?
At Odyssey Expeditions, we purposely keep our group size limited to approximately
12 people. Unlike other programs which travel in much larger groups, Odyssey Expeditions
feels such groups detract from the individual student's experience. As a result, an Odyssey
Expeditions participant, and their own goals, issues and concerns are not lost in the
shuffle of a mass of bodies and boats.
What are full
Our group size also allows us to be flexible
with our time. Odyssey Expeditions groups are not locked into a rigid, minute-by-minute
timetable for the duration of the adventure. Although Odyssey Expeditions trips follow a
planned itinerary, the group size allows us enough flexibility to explore a new dive site,
spend extra time playing on the beach or take that much appreciated ice cream break.
Odyssey Expeditions voyages are designed with the philosophy of bringing together
motivated adults who are eager to share their areas of expertise with students who are ready
to join in on every aspect of a voyage. Staff are always available for instruction and to
ensure safety, but this is not a pleasure cruise or a summer camp. Participants work
together as a team in the operation of the vessel, with a daily rotation of positions
ranging from skipper of the day, navigator, sail trimmer, chef, divemaster, historian,
scientist, to dishwasher. The teamwork required to operate the vessel greatly expands your
areas of exposure, allowing you to gain insight into how things work, learn new skills,
build leadership abilities, and forge lasting friendships.
Will the other
participants be my age?
Odyssey Expeditions strongly believes in placing students of comparable age
together on a trip. We will not group 13 year-olds with 18 year-olds simply to fill out a
program. We spend a great deal of time balancing trips by age, grade and maturity to ensure
that the mix is appropriate.
Do I need any
No prior sailing or marine science experience is necessary for any of the voyages.
For the Discovery Voyages, no prior diving experience is necessary. For our Advanced
Adventure Voyages, shipmates must be Open Water certified by any national certifying agency
in order to participate. For shipmates who are unable to complete their open water
certification prior to participating in an Adventure Voyage Voyage, the final open water
check-out certification dives may be completed upon arrival by bringing a referral letter
from your PADI instructor stating that classroom and pool sessions have been completed. Most
shipmates have never sailed a large yacht or participated in marine research, all we ask is
that you come with an open mind, ready to try new things and have fun.
What type of equipment do
We use high quality Sherwood Equipment for our dive training programs. In addition,
we have a full supply of safety equipment, compressors, a well-equipped science research
lab, and fun accessories including SUPs and water-ski boat for tubing and boarding.
Where do we sleep?
There are four cabins on the yachts, but sleeping outside under the twinkling stars
is the preferred location. Each yacht has waterproof hammocks that we string in the rigging
and the front trampoline is very comfortable and cool. You will generally use the cabins for
storage of your personal belongings.
Do I need to worry about
The yachts we sail are very stable with twin hulls that provide a very smooth ride.
The BVI's are known as a sailors paradise because of the smooth seas in the Sir Francis
Drake Channel. The Windward islands will have few open water passages, it is fun and the
yachts handle it very well. are they At night we anchor in protected bays. In the event that
you are prone to sea sickness, you still shouldn't have any problems as our First Aid kits
have appropriate medication. After a few days aboard you will get your "sea legs" and have
no problems what so ever.
Are the voyages
Yes. Safety is at our forefront. Activities are carefully planned and
professionally overseen. Having three staff and no more than twelve shipmates to a vessel
aids in supervision and leads to a safe, flexible, and fun voyage.
What if there is a
The weather in the Caribbean is usually very beautiful in the summer. We keep in
close contact with our home base and have several days warning of severe weather coming our
way. In the event of a tropical storm we return to the base and take the necessary
precautions. Under no circumstances would we attempt to weather out inclement conditions at
Who gets to sail the
You do! Our sailing masters teach you hands on all you need to know. You will be
part of the "Crew in Training" sharing the responsibilities of running the vessel. A daily
rotation of positions include skipper, navigator, sail trimmer and boson. When you are
skipper, you have the helm.
What if I already know
how to sail?
Our sailing masters are always ready to teach the more advanced aspects of
navigation, sail trim and marlin spikemanship. Not to mention that you will be aboard a
beautiful yacht sailing among some of the most pristine waters.
How long do we sail each
Sailing is our means of transport and we will sail between two to four hours a
day, with lots of diving, science activities, and water sports to round out the schedule. We
do not sail at night and are always within sight of land, but the winds are great and the
sailing exciting. The protected waters and sailing along the leward side windward islands
minimizes the risk of developing sea-sickness.
Why do you use
catamarans instead of monohulls?
Catamarans provide several advantages over monohulls. The major advantage is
space. Odyssey Expeditions voyages are conducted aboard the award-winning Moorings 4500
Leopard catamarans. These elegantly designed and precision built vessels incorporate safety
features, large deck space (for storage of water sport toys), a roomy cockpit, light and
ergonomic galley, and an enormous transom (for easy entry and exit from the water while
wearing scuba gear). They also are also easier to sail and because they have two hulls they
provide a smoother ride.
What is the food
The food is awesome, by far the best of any of the summer programs- as testimonial
by those who have worked or participated in the others. The students are the chefs, and we
provide high quality fresh ingredients and simple to follow recipes. Servings are plentiful
and fruits are always available. Bon appetit.
Do you accommodate
It depends on what 'special' means. Our meals always include the four basic food
groups. If you are a vegetarian, we respect your beliefs and will do our best to prepare any
meat dishes separate from the veggies. Please tell us in advance of your special needs to
insure that we can accommodate them.
Are there any additional
Do I need to purchase
Yes. Tuition is inclusive and covers program activities and equipment needs.
The fun is included, but personal spending money, taxi transfers, PADI training manuals, suggested gratuity and airfare are not part of the tuition and
are not included. Equipmentwise, Only a wet-suit, dive booties, and diving manuals need to be purchased.
Participants also must carry diving medical insurance such as covered by Student
, Divers Alert Network (DAN) or Dive Assure. See our Insurance page here: Student Deluxe
. Trip Insurance is highly
Do we ever get to go on
Yes. Your voyage includes various scuba diving certifications, and PADI (the
Professional Association of Diving Instructors) requires that you own various instructional
materials to not only use during the program, but also that you keep for future review. Your
voyage choice determined which materials will be required. We will purchase these materials
on your behalf and ship them to the islands so that they are on board the vessel in
anticipation of your arrival.
See our Scuba Diving Manuals page here: SCUBA Manuals
What good are your 'sea legs' if you don't try them back on terra firma. There are
so many cool little islands and beaches that we are surrounded by that of course we have to
explore them. Then there is the Baths, with their humongous granite boulders to climb around
and jump off of into the turquoise pools. In the Windward Islands we also climb ancient
volcanos and climb trees to get delicious mangos. We also return to civilization every few
days to restock our fresh water and acquire fresh meats and vegetables.
Do we go ashore at
Not every night, but there are many places that we do. We will get 'Irie' with the
reggae tunes, have a beach campfire at Sandy Spit and visit the famous cafes to eat dessert.
What kind of educational
emphasis is there?
On all our voyages, basic marine science and ecology, SCUBA certification and sail
training skills are taught. We provide a wide range of resources, including a knowledgeable
and enthusiastic staff, a complete nature library on each yacht, stops at sites of
historical, educational, or cultural significance. In short, the educational opportunities
are limitless for the individual who wishes to take advantage of them, and most students
Can I earn academic
Yes. The dive training courses provide transfer credit
transcripts for up to five semester hours in physical education, with a transcript coming
from the American Council on Education. Most colleges accept these credits directly for
transfer without having to pay for additional credit registration.
Will I like it?
Can you leave home, friends, relationship, car, job and family? YES! Everything at
home will be there when you return. Compare any 3 weeks of your life to the 3 weeks spent on
Odyssey Expeditions and you will know that joining Odyssey Expeditions was the sweetest
decision of your life. Talk to the people who have done Odyssey Expeditions, ask them if it
was worth the risk. You can only soar when you try to fly.
Where can I find out
You can check out the rest of the website, call us at 727.619.6246, and/or e-mail
us at [email protected]
How do I know which Voyage
is best for me?
Odyssey Expeditions offers several different types of voyages to fit your
individual skill level. Our Discover Adventure Voyages are for students who have no previous
scuba diving experience. The Advanced Adventure Voyages are for students who already have
their Open Water certifications. The Divemaster challenge is for those students who are
looking to join the leaders of the pack. The PADI Divemaster program is your first step
leadership level in the PADI professional system of diver education. Our staff would be
happy to discuss which trip is right for you. Call us and we would be pleased to answer your
questions and guide you to the appropriate Odyssey Expeditions Voyage.
How soon do trips
Enrollment is limited on all Odyssey Expeditions voyages. Many families make summer
plans early in the winter, and some trips fill by the middle of January! We encourage you to
call our office when you have decided on a trip and dates. We can notify you of trip
availability and save your spot.
What if my first choice
adventure is not available?
Since many trips fill by mid-January, there is a chance that your first choice will
already be full. We have a wait list for all trips, dates, and age groups. Many students
sign up for their second choice trip and put their name on a wait list for their first
choice trip. The trip deposit and balance are transferable between trips. There is a
surprising amount of movement among students throughout the spring, and it is not uncommon
for participant to enroll in a trip in January, only to learn in April that they need to
attend summer school, or that the dates of the adventure conflict with a family vacation. If
you are on a wait list, we will notify you as soon as a spot on a voyage opens. It is often
difficult to predict if and when a spot will become available, so you'll have to be patient!
I've picked a voyage. How
do I enroll?
Once you've picked an voyage, it's a good idea to call our office and double-check
that there is availability. Fill out the enrollment form on our website and pay the $1000
deposit. Upon receipt of your application and deposit, you will be sent an enrollment
package, containing more detailed information about your specific adventure, everything is
Do you have any family
Yes we do. If two or more family members attend during the summer a 5% discount
will to the second shipmate. Discounts are not cumulative, only the largest will apply.
Can I do more than one
voyage in a summer?
Yes! Almost all of our trips have several start dates, making it easy to
accommodate students who would like to take more than one trip. You can combine a Discovery
Voyage with an Adventure Voyage for a six-week odyssey that would allow a person with no
scuba experience to earn their Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, and six specialty
certifications. A certified diver can combine an Advanced Adventure Voyage with our
Divemaster Challenge and earn their Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster and eight specialty
certifications. There will be some overlap in activities, but you would be welcome to share
your new expertise as your second voyage unfolds. The North and South Advanced Adventure
Voyages can be combined so that you can experience all that the Windward Islands have to
offer. If you would like to discuss possible double-trip combinations, please call our
office and we'd be happy to assist you. We offer a 5% discount on the second program tuition
for double enrollment.
When is the balance of the
What is your cancellation
A $1000 deposit should accompany your application. The balance of your tuition is
due April 1st. Applications are accepted after April 1st where space is available and
remainder of the tuition is due three weeks from deposit. Berth deposits may be paid by
check, Mastercard or Visa. Published tuition prices reflect a 4% cash discount. Final
Tuition is payable by check, wire transfer, or money order; if paid by credit card, the cash
discount is not applicable. Payment Plans
available to spread the cost over the year.
Can I come with a
The deposit is refundable until February 1st in the year of your voyage minus
banking fees; after that date the deposit and all subsequent tuition payments are
non-refundable so we strongly suggest participants select the trip cancellation insurance
coverage. Voyages are transferable to another eligible participant. Once enrolled, any
request to switch programs in the same summer will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It
should be understood that it is not our policy to allow program switches within 30 days of
the program start date. See our Insurance page here: Student Deluxe
. Trip Insurance is highly recommended.
You may come on an Odyssey Expeditions voyage with a friend, although we strongly
encourage students to come alone. A major component of Odyssey Expeditions voyages is the
group experience. If you do decide to attend with a friend, the leaders will encourage you
both to interact more with the entire group than with each other.
Does Odyssey Expeditions
offer financial aid?
I have misplaced the
PADI release forms. Can I get more?
Our past participants are our best testimony to a quality program, and we
encourage you to call them. Please contact Odyssey Expeditions at any time for references.
To protect each family's privacy, we do not publish their names openly, but are available here
. with a password upon request.
Yes, contact our office and we will gladly resend our enrollment packet.
the male/female ratio?
We have 4 cabins for shipmates, 2 for one gender and two for another, so the final
ratio is about 50% one gender.
Will the other
participants be my age?
Students range in age from 13-20 and we strive to have a tight age range. We have
multiple vessels on each voyage and will group students such that they are on a vessel with
students near their own age by a couple years.
Will I be able to contact
other participants in my group before the summer?
You will receive a roster of shipmates on your voyage a few weeks before departure.
At that point, you will be able to call, write, e-mail, and possibly meet other shipmates
before the voyage begins!
Who will be my
Participants arrive from near and far, mostly the USA, but also from many other
points of the globe. Your shipmates will be a co-ed group. While most arrive alone, enduring
friendships are built upon mutual experiences and cultural appreciation.
What if something happens
and I need to contact my child?
Our yachts are equipped with cellular phones as well as radio communication
equipment. Our trip leaders are in contact with the office regularly. Parents should call
the Odyssey Expeditions office to relay any emergency information. Shore visits at selected
points allow participants to call home.
When did this all
Program founder Jason Buchheim's intense interest in marine life led him to earn
his scuba instructor rating at the early age of 18 and to study marine biology at Oregon
State University. Addicted to the excitement of marine ecology research and intimately
familiar with the dive industry, Jason combined his avocations in 1993 to share his passions
with others. This season will begin Odyssey Expeditions 89th voyage.
Who are the trip leaders
on the yachts?
Every yacht has to three staff members. On each there is a US Coast Guard licensed
captain, a PADI scuba instructor and a biologist. At least one of the staff members is a
certified Wilderness First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician. Staff are selected
personally by us for their ability to prevent and solve problems in the field, their
capacity to relate to and enjoy our travelers, and their knowledge and love of the places we
visit. They take care of every detail, but more importantly, they take good care of you.
Best of all, they're the kind of people with whom you'd like to spend your summer.
How old are the program
Our leaders are intelligent, well-educated, genuine and mature adults ranging in
age from 21-35. They are spirited, friendly, athletic, and well-traveled experts in
wilderness adventure. Our leaders are professionals.
What is the trip
Odyssey Expeditions has a leader-to-student ratio of 1 to 4. This ratio means that
our trip leaders have more personal involvement in your activities. This lets you learn at
your own pace. Whether it is learning how to free dive, identification of wildlife, or
water-skiing, our leaders are there to make sure that the voyage beats all your
What is PADI?
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world?s largest
recreational diving membership organization. The membership includes dive businesses, resort
facilities, academic institutions, instructor trainers, dive educators, divers, snorkelers
and other water sports enthusiasts. Professional PADI Members teach the vast majority of the
world?s recreational divers, issuing nearly 946,000 certifications each year. PADI
Professionals make underwater exploration and adventure accessible to the public while
maintaining the highest industry standards for dive training, safety and customer service.
How are behavioral and
disciplinary problems handled?
Odyssey Expedition's leaders offer positive reinforcement, assertive role-modeling
and a sense of fair play. Rules are necessary in any organization and our disciplines are
reasonable and well communicated at the start of the voyage. If penalties are involved for
violations, they are applied quickly, fairly, calmly, and without undue criticism to
students. Participants are expected to maintain an atmosphere of respect and consideration.
Action or attitudes detrimental to group cohesion and spirit or to the healthy and pleasant
environment aboard will not be tolerated. Students must follow PADI Safe Diving Standards
and the safety rules created by Odyssey Expeditions and its directors.
What is our Zero Tolerance
The yachts are 'Dry' and 'Zero Tolerance' is strictly enforced. No alcohol, illegal
drugs, smoking or inappropriate sexual behavior is allowed aboard. The Program Director
reserves the right to dismiss anyone who in his judgment is detrimental to the program.
What is your safety
Safety of our participants is the PRIMARY concern of our leaders. As a result, we
have an outstanding safety record. We believe this is a result of the level of training, the
experience and the maturity of our staff and their constant supervision during a trip. We
are extremely proud of this safety record.
Although Odyssey Expeditions takes the
necessary steps to provide a safe outdoor experience, anyone participating in an Odyssey
Expeditions adventure must understand that there are risks associated with the activities of
our programs. While on the sea, almost any activity is potentially dangerous, whether it is
cooking dinner for the group or simply taking a day hike. The unpredictability of life at at
sea is something our groups contend with each day of the trip.
How much diving will I
On our Discover Adventure voyages you will do around 15 open water dives plus five
confined water dives for certification. On the Advanced Adventure voyages you will do around
30 dives. The number of dives that you do will vary as some of them are optional and if your
group is pumped for diving you can do even more.
Is it hard to learn how to
No, in fact, it's probably easier than you imagine -- especially if you're already
comfortable in the water. Odyssey Expeditions teaches PADI's entry-level diver course. The
course is split into knowledge development, confined water (pool) skill training and four
scuba training dives. The course is "performance based," which means that you progress as
you learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill. Our small group size allows for more personal
instruction and less time waiting for others.
What is PADI?
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world's largest
recreational diving membership organization. Professional PADI Members teach the vast
majority of the world?s recreational divers, issuing nearly 946,000 certifications each
year. PADI Professionals make underwater exploration and adventure accessible to the public
while maintaining the highest industry standards for dive training, safety and customer
Do I have to meet any
special qualifications or considerations before I can participate in a scuba class?
No. Generally speaking, anyone in good average health can participate. As a
precaution, you'll be asked to complete a routine medical questionnaire. If anything on the
questionnaire indicates something to be cautious about, you'll check with your physician to
make sure it's acceptable to dive.
Do I have to be a great
swimmer to learn to scuba dive?
No. All you need to be is a reasonably proficient swimmer who is comfortable and
relaxed in the water. The swimming requirement for certification is an easy 200 yard/meter
nonstop swim (with no time or specific stroke requirement) or a 300 yard/meter snorkel with
mask, fins and snorkel followed by a 10 minute tread/float.
My ears hurt when I dive
to the bottom of a pool. Won't they hurt when I scuba dive?
Your ears hurt because water pressure pushes in on your ear drum. In your scuba
course, you'll learn a simple technique to equalize your ears to the surrounding pressure,
much like you do when you land in an airplane, and they won't hurt at all.
Is scuba diving
Not really. Statistics show that recreational scuba diving is about as safe as
swimming or bowling. Certainly there are potential hazards -- which is why you need training
and certification -- but like driving a car, as long as you follow the rules and use common
sense, it's pretty safe.
I'm a certified through
another training organization. Can I still attend?
Yes, Odyssey Expeditions recognizes certifications of other training organizations.
Generally speaking, to enroll in a PADI Advanced Open Water or most PADI Specialty courses,
one must have; an entry level scuba certification and documentation of at least four open
water scuba training dives as part of the certification course completed. To enroll in a
PADI Divemaster course, one must provide; a certification specific to scuba rescue and a CPR
certification and a first aid certification from a recognized organization.
What is a
The PADI SCUBA certification course has three main sections: academic, pool
training and open water certification dives. If you complete the academic and pool training
at your PADI dive store and are unable to complete the open water certification dives, then
that store can issue you a "referral" form for the completion of the open water
dives with another PADI store or instructor. Odyssey Expeditions is able to complete your
"referral" certification during the initial part of your Advanced Adventure voyage.
Do I need to buy dive
gear to participate?
Odyssey Expeditions provides quality Sherwood SCUBA equipment. The only necessary
gear not supplied are dive booties (neoprene type shoes), a dive watch ($25) and
manuals($150). We recommend that you also have a thin wet suit or shorty (less than $100) to
keep you warm while you're gliding over the reef.
If I have my own gear,
should I bring it?
It is your choice. Odyssey Expeditions provides quality Sherwood SCUBA equipment.
If you are more comfortable using your own equipment, then definitely bring it.
Do you have dive
Yes. All of our dive gear includes the most up-to the minute technology and the
most user-friendly dive computers available today. In our Discovery voyages we begin by
learning dive theory and the use of dive tables, but as you progress in your diving, the
other safety features of computer use becomes apparent. A computer's ascent rate monitor
helps you perform controlled, slow ascents and safety stops, which help prevent a number of
diving maladies, not just DCS. Other programs will make excuses for not providing this
safety feature, but we at Odyssey Expeditions will spare no expense with providing the
safest equipment available.
Do I need an expensive
No, there are very affordable watches available starting at about $25. You will
want a watch that is water-resistant to 100 meters.
I need vision
correction. Is that a problem?
Not at all. If you wear soft contact lenses, you shouldn't have problems wearing
them when you dive. If you wear hard lenses, you'll want the gas permeable type for diving.
See your eye doctor about these if you don't have them now. Another option is to have
prescription lenses put into your mask. Contact your local dive store for more information.
I have asthma, can I
Can I get College Credit
The Topic of asthma and diving has long been a controversial subject in the
recreational diving community. Traditionally, divers with asthma have been excluded from
diving, although those with certain kinds of mild asthma can dive with a doctors approval.
There are several good articles on this subject at the Divers Alert Network
web site and Sport Diver
The American Council of Education (ACE) recommends college credit for many of the
PADI scuba courses that Odyssey Expeditions teaches. ACE represents all colleges and
universities before the U.S. federal government and as such is the unified voice of higher
education. The ACE credit recommendations for PADI courses may help you in receiving college
credit at an American university or college - even if the courses aren't conducted on a
university or college campus. The institution may apply the credit to your major replacing a
required course. They may also use the credit as a general elective to possibly waive a
Will we see sharks
during the voyage? Are they dangerous?
Chances are YES we will see sharks in more than one place. The majority are Nurse
Sharks and Reef Sharks and these sharks are quite docile.
Will we see any turtles
during our trip?
We see turtles quite frequently during our dives and sailing. The turtles come
closer to shore during the summer for nesting. Many of the shallow bays where we anchor have
turtle grass beds.
Is there any dangerous
marine life we should be aware of?
No. If you refrain from touching, feeding or chasing marine life, use good
buoyancy control and respect the environment you are in, then there is nothing to be afraid
What kind of visibility
can we expect?
Visibility is generally between 60 to 100 feet. The visibility varies around the
Islands and we have found that the northern islands have lower visibility due to sea snow.
But this is not something to fret about. The snow is rich in nutrients and the coral
formations in these areas are extraordinary.
Do I need diving
Do I also need travel
YES, in the event of a diving accident, medical expenses can be very expensive.
Not carrying an insurance program means that you will be at the mercy of the local medical
system and your credit card and bank. Medical treatment in some destinations and
specifically diving related medical treatment can be very expensive. You may be required to
pay out of pocket, sometimes upfront, and that could be a problem. Additionally, carrying a
specific diving accident policy will allow you to have the expertise and experience needed
to handle such a case, which a non-diving policy simply can't offer. Please See our page on
Insurance here: Student Deluxe
. Trip Insurance is
While your diving accident policy will pay the diving related medical costs such
as hyperbaric chamber treatments, you may incur many other expenses or lose some or all of
your trip investment through scenarios such as: non-diving medical situations, cancellation
and interruption due to many reasons like inclement weather, personal or family issues,
airlines delay and many other reasons. Student
. It also offers a Cancel for Any Reason option.