Taking a Dive Vacation with Non Diving Companions
Taking a dive vacation or learning to dive while on vacation is something most divers or soon to be divers strive for. However, if you are going with a non-diving spouse, family or companions, things might not go as smooth as you planned. A little bit of prior planning can help smooth out the rough spots, so that everyone gets a scuba diving vacation to enjoy.
While you might want to spend every hour or every day diving, your fellow travellers might not appreciate that. Consider why are you traveling together? If it is to spend time together, then diving all the time will not work. Is the destination only good for diving? If so, you might want to consider different travel companions, or delaying the trip to another time. That might sound harsh, but in some destinations it might be the only solution.
Here are some things to consider and ways to balance out your vacation, so that non-divers will be happy to join your next dive vacation.
Choose a Balanced Location
Do not start your search for a vacation destination relying on dive websites alone. Have those traveling with you suggest some possible locations in order of preference, after reminding them you want to go scuba diving. While they are doing that, you make a list of where you want to go. Does any destination show on both list? Are you lucky and have more than one? If their top destinations are not on your list, research them. Are they worthy locations for your diving plans?
Do not rule out cruises. Many of the cruise lines offer scuba dives as a shore excursion, in fact some even have their own dive staff. On a week long cruise, a cruise ship will normally stop at three or four ports. Many have their own private islands, where you can do shore dives. Consider arriving at the embarkation city a day early and get in a couple of dives. Check in times for cruise ships generally start at 1PM, and you have to be onboard by 4PM. If you look at Fort Lauderdale or Miami as sample embarkation points, you will find that most dive operators in those cities depart at 8:30am for a 2 tank dive in the morning and depart at 1Pm for afternoon dives. So there would be no problem of doing a morning dive, clean your gear and meet back at the hotel in time to go to check in for the cruise.
Leave the First Day ‘Dive Free’
Unless you are taking the cruise option, when you get to your resort leave your first day free from diving. You might want to check in with the dive center, but spend this time with your family or friends and share the wonders of the new destination and make plans for when you will be doing things together. Should you dive every morning and spend the afternoons together? Or alternate days of diving. Remember if you’re flying, then your last 24 hours should be dive free.
Adapt your Dive Classes
If you are planning to do your open water training, then the time might be a little tight. However, you could do your theory portion by e-learning before your vacation which will free up a full day. Doing a referral program will save even more of your vacation time. You can do the theory and pool work before departing for your vacation and just do a short quiz and the four open water dies when you are on vacation.
But I want a Liveaboard..
The Liveaboard diving vacation is the ultimate dive vacation. Four or five dives a day, great food, always a great group of divers (well almost) and dives that can not be done from shore. However, many of these liveaboards are not a great option for a non-diver. There are some that are suited for non-divers. In Cairns for example there are a number of liveaboards that have a good percentage of non-divers. Instead of the week long trips, they offer shorter ones. A two night cruise in a luxury yacht complete with sun deck, gourmet meals and a hot tub might not be difficult to convince your non-diving friends to join.
Oh, yeah, did I mention the snorkeling? Snorkeling is available for those not diving, and many of them also offer a free discover scuba diving dive. So maybe next trip they will be diving with you.
Whether with dive buddies or a non-diver, careful planning that includes time together make a great vacation possible!
Charles W. Davis, AKA, the Scuba Diving Nomad, has been diving for over 18 years and is a freelance writer and business consultant that specializes in Scuba diving and travel industries.
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