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 Post subject: Adventures in Live-aboard Diving
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:45 pm
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Location: somewhere beyond the sea
Imagine four or five dives a day, every day, for a week, every site different and most of them remote and pristine. See the cheerful crew fill your tanks, hoist your BC and practically carry you into and out of the water. Savor hot showers, hot towels, hot cookies and hot toddies or a cool rum punch, then an ample dinner, a glass of wine, maybe even a mint on the pillow.

Ah, the live-aboard experience. For one week you live like a millionaire aboard a custom dive yacht. Your world narrows to the company of 19 fellow adventurers. For seven blissful days, life is reduced to the essentials--dive, eat, sleep, in that order of importance. Your daily routine: snack, dive, breakfast, dive, snack, dive, lunch, dive, snack, dive, dinner (optional night dive in some cases).

There's simply no way to get as much incredible and varied diving packed into one week, and when you figure it might take two weeks at a land-based resort to absorb as much first-class nitrogen, it's no wonder that so many experienced divers we surveyed said, "Give me the choice and I'll go live-aboard every time. It's the way scuba--make that life--was meant to be." Here are dos and don'ts that will help your cruise go even more swimmingly.

Do: Pack light.

Don't: Pack a wardrobe worthy of Anna Nicole Smith.

If, in addition to your dive gear, you're packing more than one carry-on bag and a medium-sized piece of soft luggage, go back and repack with this rule in mind: half the clothes. Still too large? Go back and follow the rule again. If you're packing for the Captain's Banquet, the First Night Ball and Monte Carlo Night, forget it. Informality rules on the live-aboard--think swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts.

To save additional luggage space, wear a sweater, one pair of shoes, one pair of long pants and one light jacket to the boat. With the room you save, pack these essentials:
More exposure protection than you think you need. (The more you dive, the colder you get.)

Take an extra layer, a hood or beanie.

A save-a-dive kit.

Surface signaling devices (sausage, horn, whistle, mirror, etc.)

A spare mask.

Adequate memory card and batteries for cameras, dive lights, Game Boy, etc.

Sunscreen.

Pack critical and essential items like mask, regulator, dive computer and exposure suit in a carry-on. If the airline misdirects your luggage, the boat can't wait a day for your stuff to arrive.

Finally, use soft luggage. Even the largest boat cabins are a lot smaller than Motel 8 rooms, and there's no cargo space for hard suitcases. Soft luggage is a lot easier to stuff into a corner.

Whatever you do, don't sweat a less-than-ideal cabin or cabin mate. You really only sleep there. Most of the time you're diving, eating, preparing to dive, eating again or talking about diving.

Do: Make special menu requests in advance.

Don't: Let a soda preference ruin your vacation.

Most divers describe live-aboard food and drink as ample, tasty and sometimes even elegant, but not "designs on plates" as one diver calls haute cuisine. Expect meat and potatoes, chicken and rice and veggies and salad, often served family or buffet style. There's no menu to order from, no room service, and few chances to make substitutions.

The best option if you can't live without some taste treat: Bring it with you. Actually, most live-aboard divers find those refined tastes and familiar brands don't seem so important after a day or so of amazing dives.

Do: Prep your gear.

Don't: Rely on the boat's gear locker to fix problems.

There are no dive shops at sea and most boats have limited repair and rental capacity. Have your gear serviced and prepped, then test it before you pack. Replace the battery in your dive computer. Inspect straps, buckles, etc. Also pack backup O-rings, spare parts and batteries for critical gear.

Do: Be nice to the crew.

Don't: Think you're a king, just because they treat you like one.

Many divers are surprised at how hard live-aboard crews work under difficult conditions, yet are so cheerful about it.

Most crew members pull double and triple duty--your divemaster may take a turn serving dinner, entertaining guests or helping man the boat, so cut the crew some slack if things aren't always perfect.

On the other hand, crew members do sometimes screw up. If there's a genuine problem, inform the captain. He wants to know sooner rather than later. Then be patient. Remember, some other passenger may be demanding attention at the same time.

Do: Arrive early for dive briefings and meals.

Don't: Hold up the schedule.

If everybody is going to get in all five dives, plus eat all the meals and snacks promised, there's going to have to be a schedule and everybody is going to have to stick to it--especially true when you're diving in groups from tenders.

This is particularly important when boarding the tender. Don't leave your fellow divers stewing in their wetsuits under the tropical sun while you get your act together. If your tender is late to dive, you and your fellow divers will be late to the showers, late to the lunch line ...

Being late has costs besides cold shoulders. You may miss dives, skimp on your surface interval and make mistakes because you're rushing to catch up.

Do: Tip generously.

Don't: Stiff the crew.

The price of a live-aboard cruise includes your diving, food and lodging. However, it usually doesn't cover tips for the hard-working, multitasking crew that spends the week catering to your every whim 24/7. Tips are always an important part of the crew's income and they will earn every penny of it.

Bring cash--a typical amount is 10 to 15 percent of the package price--to tip the crew with at the end of the week. Budget for the tip money and set it aside before the cruise starts.

Want something special, like a personal dive guide all week? Ask for it and tip big, in advance.

Do: Be flexible about dive sites.

Don't: Throw a fit if you don't get your way.

The fact that the group of divers on a live-aboard is smaller than at most land-based resorts cuts two ways. Good news: The captain will select dive sites to suit the interests and abilities of the majority of the group. Bad news: You might be in the minority.

Before you book your trip, ask about the make-up of the rest of the group. A large number of novices may dictate easy dives. A dive club may leave you feeling isolated. (Or you may join them and make a dozen new friends.) In any event, a skillful captain will give the minority at least some of what it wants, so speak up early.

Political unrest, major weather or the wide-ranging "acts of God" could prevent a trip. If the boat can't sail, the live-aboard company will probably offer a refund or put you on another cruise, but you might be out airfare and other expenses.

If the boat sails and you're not on it, however, don't count on getting a refund. Most live-aboard companies have restrictive cancellation policies, because each slot represents such a large percentage of the week's revenue. Some will refund part or all of your fare if they are able to fill your room from a waiting list. Ask about the policy before you book.

Most live-aboards visit remote locations and provide the freedom to dive as aggressively as you dare. Should you come up bent, you'll need air evacuation to the nearest recompression chamber. The bill for the chopper ride alone will dwarf the tab for the cruise--many times over. Dive insurance is cheap. For annual premiums ranging from $45 to $99, you can get ample coverage for dive accidents and emergency evacuation costs. Sure, DCS is rare, but it can happen to any diver.

Do: Mind your gear station.

Don't: Jump someone else's.

Even a spacious dive deck can get crowded with 20 divers and a handful of crew milling about before the dive. You'll be assigned a station to store gear and suit up. Keeping your station orderly and organized will go a long way to smooth operation.

When you surface from a dive, don't be tempted to drop your empty tank off in the first spot near the dive deck. Clear the platform and walk your tank back to your station so the crew can swap or refill everyone's tanks in time for the next dive.

If you can, choose a dive station at the end of a row. You'll get more elbowroom on one side. Avoid the dive stations near the entry or exit point, as other divers will be constantly squeezing past.

Do: Take a specialty course.

Don't: Miss the opportunity to improve your skills.

"A good use of a live-aboard is to take a specialty course. Everything is right there, so you'll get through it quickly". Added bonus: You'll have the chance to practice your new skills on five dives a day.

Do: Take motion sickness medication, just in case.

Don't: Think it can't happen to you.

A lot of day-boat divers can boast that they "never get seasick," but a live-aboard provides a whole different motion environment. You'll be at sea for a week and even the biggest, most stable boats will experience some motion. Motion sickness meds are a good precaution until you're sure you've got your "sea legs." Start taking Dramamine (or whatever) the night before the boat departs. You'll sleep better and get a head start against any seasickness.

Do: Heed the warnings on the marine head.

Don't: Flush anything you haven't digested first.

Marine toilets clog easily. Don't try to flush tampons or great wads of toilet paper. Enough said.

Do: Laundry in the sink.

Don't: Expect laundry service on board.

A travel-size bottle of Woolite or other cold-water detergent allows you to wash swimsuits in the sink. Ask the crew where you can hang your stuff to dry.

Do: Ask about ship-to-shorecommunications in advance.

Don't: Assume your cell phone will work.

Some might ask if you really need to check e-mail in the middle of an away-from-it-all vacation, but emergencies do arise. Some boats are better equipped than others, but that e-mail or phone call might cost you a lot. Don't count on cell phones to work far out to sea.

Do: Be candid about your diving skills.

Don't: Believe your buddy's boasting about how rugged the diving is.

Some live-aboards do visit remote and challenging dive sites, but almost all trips are designed for average divers. If you're concerned about sites being more than you can handle, ask before you book or seek appropriate training before the cruise.

Do: Your scuba homework.

Don't: Ignore the briefing.

Research the area before you go, and not only the diving conditions but also the endemic marine life. Make a list of fish and coral you want to see and challenge yourself to find it. If you're in a hunt for rarities, follow the advice of the dive guides about where to go on a particular site.

Do: Make the most of your vacation.

Don't: Feel pressured to make every dive if you don't want to.

Don't feel obligated to make every dive, just because you paid for it. You paid for a vacation, so read that novel instead if you feel like it. Listen to what your body wants to do.

It doesn't hurt to take a day off from diving, or at least an afternoon, at mid-week. You've been absorbing a lot of nitrogen and losing body heat and energy. A break will improve your enjoyment of the rest of the week.
Blue Blood or Blue Collar?

Q: What's the difference between the high-end (read: more expensive) live-aboards and the budget cruises?

A: Typically, the high-end live-aboards are larger boats with double cabins compared to the multiple berths on smaller, budget-oriented vessels. "The big tradeoff is privacy," says Beth Olveira, a booking agent with the company that owns Blackbeard's Cruises (small boats) and the Aquacat (a large one).

On larger boats, bathrooms are typically en suite. There will be closets and drawers, but small ones. All cabins will have reading lights, most will have air conditioning and some will have individual TVs and VCRs.

"Blue collar" is one diver's term for the smaller, less luxurious live-aboards. The number of dives and the quality of food is not radically different from the high-end boats, but sleeping accommodations are usually bunkhouse style. Sometimes a couple dozen bunks--uppers and lowers--are arranged along a passageway. Sometimes they are grouped in three or four cabins. You sleep on one side of your bunk, next to your bags, and have a shelf or net for small stuff, and maybe a reading light. A curtain gives a hint of privacy. If you've seen Pullman sleepers in an old movie, you've got the picture. A few of these bunks may be smaller than others and odd-shaped--more reason to reserve ahead.

Do:

Research departure taxes, park fees, etc. before you go, so you're not surprised.

Learn something about the local culture.

Bring enough batteries. They may be available on-board, but they will be expensive.

Bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper. Some machinery noise is inevitable and your cabin mate might snore.

Bring your snorkel. Keep it on hand for those once-in-a-lifetime encounters with whale sharks and mantas. Bubble noise will scare them off.

Bring anything you might need from a pharmacy. There's no drugstore at sea.

_________________
'What's important in life
is not how many breaths we get to take
but those moments that take our breath away.'


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in Live-aboard Diving
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:38 pm
Posts: 60
Location: Princess Mountain-Bogor
Sundul dulu ah.... Topik jadoel yg bagus buat newbie

Mungkin bisa di share pengalaman aktual dari temen2 forsel yang udah pernah ikut LOB ini
Kira2 minimum item/requirement yang kudu di persiapkan apa saja?
Apakah kudu punya dive gear sendiri?
Apakah kudu mengantongi AOWD sertificate dulu?
Item apa saja yang perlu kita konfirmasikan ke penyelenggara LOB?

Mohon pencerahannya, maaf apabila yg ditanyakan sudah pernah dibahas di topik yg lain
Thx in advance

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in Live-aboard Diving
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:42 am
Posts: 969
Location: Bintaro sektor 9
kalo gw sih yg paling kudu, bawa gear sendiri, beserta back up kalo perlu. drpd manyun ga bisa turun gara2 ga punya gear.
misalnya utk nite dive, ga bisa turun gara2 ga ada senter

most important sih menikmati tripnya, kenalan dgn orang2, belajar bareng :)

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in Live-aboard Diving
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:58 pm
Posts: 1052
gembelito wrote:
Sundul dulu ah.... Topik jadoel yg bagus buat newbie

Mungkin bisa di share pengalaman aktual dari temen2 forsel yang udah pernah ikut LOB ini
Kira2 minimum item/requirement yang kudu di persiapkan apa saja?
Apakah kudu punya dive gear sendiri?
Apakah kudu mengantongi AOWD sertificate dulu?
Item apa saja yang perlu kita konfirmasikan ke penyelenggara LOB?

Mohon pencerahannya, maaf apabila yg ditanyakan sudah pernah dibahas di topik yg lain
Thx in advance


saya jawab singkat dulu ya:

1. biasanya LOB tidak menyediakan dive gear. peserta lebih baik bawa gear komplit sendiri (termasuk safety equipment & senter + spare)
2. pastikan semua alat dalam kondisi baik & berfungsi. cek ulang & servis semua alat kalo perlu. karena kalo ada masalah di alat pribadi, dijamin bakal manyun di kapal.
3. bagi yang punya personal preference gear - misalnya: prescription mask, harap bawa spare sendiri.
4. sebaiknya untuk ikut LOB level minimal adalah AOW dengan dive log setidaknya diatas 50 dive & buoyancy yang BAGUS.
5. punya dive insurance atau DAN member. beberapa LOB mewajibkan diver untuk punya.
6. bawa spare pernak-pernik untuk gear pribadi. misalnya: fins strap, mask strap, iket rambut, celana renang dll. ini hal yang paling sering bikin masalah.
7. bawa obat-obat pribadi bagi yang punya penyakit spesifik. pernah kejadian trip nyaris batal gara2 ada yg kumat penyakitnya & ndak bawa obat.

sementara gitu. nanti ditambah

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