If you don’t know what LiveAboard is, you’re not alone. I had no idea what it was until my scuba instructor for my open water certification told us about it. LiveAboard is where you live aboard (duh) a vessel that takes you around to numerous scuba diving sites in your location of choice, excursions usually lasting about a week with about three dives a day.
I booked my trip not really knowing what to expect, but here are a few bits that would have made my trip a bit easier:
Although some vessels have quite a minimal dive requirement (for example, mine didn’t require any logged dives, but others my require up to 30), you might miss out on a lot of good dives if you’re not at least an advanced open water diver, which allows you to go up to 22 meters under, dive wrecks and participate in night dives.
But fret not, a lot of boats have a range of courses on your trip at little time cost to your vacation time.
I would also recommend being an enriched air diver. Apparently, it makes you less tired and you’re going to need all the energy you can get.
It is a busy time, so don’t expect to get a lot of reading or relaxing done. Scuba diving is an extreme sport and your body knows it. Here’s what a typical day looks like:
6:00: Wake-up call
6:30: Briefing and early morning dive
8:15: Breakfast and free time
10:30: Briefing and morning dive
12:30: Lunch and free time
14:30: Briefing and afternoon dive
18:00: Briefing and night dive
19:30: Dinner and free time until you decide to go to bed
I packed a bunch of cute outfits thinking of all the amazing Facebook-profile-picture-worthy snaps I was going to take on the tip. Boy, was I wrong. You’re going to want to be in cozy clothes when you’re not diving. I lived in my sweatshirt, jumper and cozy socks.
Bring your own mask, snorkel, wetsuit, dive log book, dive computer and torch. You will be doing several dives a day and although rental wetsuits are usually accommodating, you want to be as comfortable as possible. I also can’t recommend enough buying your own dive computer, even if you don’t think you’ll use it terribly often. Renting one of the week ran me £80 and a decent dive computer is only double that. A good price if you’re going to be diving even once more.
You will also want to bring several swimsuits. Three was about right for me, but four would have been especially comfortable. I like changing out of my swimsuit and into dry clothes between dives.
Although the company my advertise it, don’t expect to always have WiFi. You’re in the middle of the ocean, for Pete’s sake!
You are expected to tip both the dive guides and the crew about £50 each at the end of the trip.
This might be included in booking information, but if not, make sure any dietary restrictions are known. Although they were quite accommodating to my vegetarian diet, other specialty diets such as veganism may not be as well known.
Make sure you give yourself at least 18 hours between your last dive and your return flight. You can ask your tour company what time of the day the last dive will be and book accordingly.
There will be one or two fellow passengers that you’ll just fucking hate…
… but there will also be a few people that you’ll really connect with, and that makes sharing the experience worth it! Connect digitally with these people afterwards (e-mail, Facebook, etc.) to share pictures and memories!
Lastly, you’ll want to do it again as soon as possible once you get a taste for it. It’s an unforgettable experience!