Do I have to be an experienced diver ?
These voyages are not for beginners, you’ll have to be a very experienced diver and must be familiar with cold water diving and dry suit diving (at least 20 dives).
Before departure you will have to show an internationally accepted diving certificate, diver’s log book and insurance policy.
The first dive of the trip will be a ‘check’ dive to try out your gear and weights and for our dive master to see if all individual divers have enough experience to dive in the Antarctic waters.
If our dive master feels that the diver does not meet the necessary experience, he can decide to exclude the diver from the dive program (this decision will be made for your own safety). In this case, Oceanwide Expeditions cannot be held financially) responsible and does not grant any claims. All divers are required to follow the instructions of the dive master and guides at all times. All participants are diving 100 % at their own risk, which is also the case while on land during the excursions.
During the voyages, experienced dry suit divers have the opportunity to explore the wildlife from below the surface. Diving in Antarctica and the Arctic is fascinating indeed. However, the topside is as exciting. During the trip, with the prior approval of your expedition leader, you can choose to participate at any time in our thrilling land excursions and zodiac cruises instead of diving. This combination characterizes the uniqueness of our voyages. It will certainly be the ultimate experience for you !
The dive sites will vary from shallow ice diving, diving along a wall, from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 20 meters / 60 feet. The combination of sunlight and the often-extraordinary formations of ice cause an overwhelming, ever-changing spectre of colours, with a fantastic variety of shades and brilliance. While snorkelling or diving along the ice floes, you will be amazed and never forget these deep blue colours. In the Antarctic and Arctic waters we may observe typical marine life such as sea squirts, squat lobsters, many species of starfish, spider crabs, soft corals, anemones, peacock worms, and dogfish.
Diving in Antarctica does not only offer ice, but also an interesting marine life, such as kelp walls, sea-snails, crabs, sea butterflies, various Antarctic fish, shrubby horse-tails, jelly-fishes, sea-hedgehogs, starfishes, krill and giant isopods. You may have the possibility to snorkel or dive with Fur Seals, Leopard Seals and penguins.
We plan at least one to two dives per day (except for days at sea), but an exact number of dives cannot be given. It all depends on ice and weather conditions.
Our dive masters are highly experienced polar dive masters and instructors, being assisted by one or two dive guides. The main language of the dive operation will be in English.
Diving in these remote Polar areas is no more dangerous than normal scuba diving as long as one important rule is adhered to: Safety First ! All divers looking for dangerous stunts or want to make deep dives are kindly asked to stay at home!
There is no decompression chamber in Antarctica. Medical care in these polar regions is almost non-existent and there is hardly any infrastructure. Although we have a doctor on board the vessel for first aid assistance, we cannot accept risky ventures from any of our divers.
The voyage will start with a check-dive so all divers can get used to the cold water and try out their equipment and the number of weights they need. Before each dive, there will be a briefing about the location of the site, the weather and ice conditions and the procedure of the dive.
You don’t need to store your dive gear in your cabin. Upon arrival our dive staff will show you where you can leave your dive equipment. Only take your regulator with you in your cabin. Every diver is expected to prepare his own equipment well in advance prior to each dive. Bring your own spare parts for your regulators and dry suit in case of leakage or damage.
The divers are expected to set up and carry their own equipment in and out of the zodiac and sometimes up and down the gangway.
The dives will be done on a 'buddy system' basis. The dive guide will not be in the water to accompany and lead the divers. The guides will stay on the surface for the divers’ safety. The divers are expected to be experienced enough to read their compass, depth gauges and look after each other in order to have a safe dive.