Flower Gardens 2023 Trips

Flower Gardens 2023

 

New for 2023!  Bookings made Simple!

Please use the QR Code to book and pay for the Flower Gardens Trips.

Weekend Flower Garden Tour

7 dives
This is our most popular tour of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
We depart Freeport in the evening and motor out to the West Bank, famous for sighting manta rays, so divers must remember to LOOK UP!
After lunch we stop off at an oil platform. Be prepared to be impressed. Divers often go on this dive with modest expectations,
but the deep-water oil platforms change a lot of minds. And many divers tell us the rig dive is the best we offer.
The evening is spent at the East Bank where divers will usually find turtles that hang out and aren’t shy about getting their photo
taken.
Overnight we motor to Stetson Bank for two more dives before heading back to port for a Sunday evening arrival around 5-6PM.

Departs Friday evening at 7PM
Saturday Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 1&2 at the West Bank, famous for cruising Manta Rays
Lunch, then Oil Platform Dive
Dives 4&5 at the East Bank, visit with the turtles, Dive 5 is a night dive
Sunday Wake-up at 6AM
Dives 6&7 at Stetson Bank, nowhere for the critters to hide
Return to Freeport at about 5:30-6PM

Price: $794 

Dates:

February 17, 2023

February 24, 2023

March 31, 2023

April 28, 2023

May 5, 2023

May 19, 2023

June 2, 2023

June 16, 2023

June 30, 2023

July 14, 2023

July 28, 2023

August 4, 2023

August 11, 2023

August 27, 2023

September 22, 2023

September 29, 2023

October 13, 2023

October 27, 2023

November 3, 2023

November 10, 2023

3-Day Extended Flower Garden Tour
(long-weekends, holiday weekends, weekday excursions)
11 dives
Day 1 Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 1&2 at the West Bank, famous for cruising Manta Rays
Lunch, then Oil Platform Dive
Dives 4&5 at the East Bank, visit with the turtles, Dive 5 is a night dive
Day 2 Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 6&7 at the East Bank, “the wall” with the sun coming up bathing it in light
Lunch, transit to Stetson Bank
Dives 8&9 at Stetson Bank, including the famous night dive at Stetson!
Day 3 Wake-up at 6AM
Dives 10&11, Stetson Bank
Return to Freeport at about 5:30-6PM

Dates:

April 13, 2023 – $945

March 16, 2023 – $1035

May 11, 2023 – $945

May 26, 2023 – $1035

June 8, 2023 – $945

June 18, 2023 – $885

June 22, 2023 – $945

June 25, 2023 – $885

July 6, 2023 – $945

July 16, 2023 – $885

July 20, 2023 – $945

August 13, 2023 – $885

August 17, 2023 – $945

August 20, 2023 – $885

September 1, 2023 – $1035

September 10, 2023 – $885

September 14, 2023 – $945

September 24, 2023 – $885

October 5, 2023 – $945

October 19, 2023 – $945

November 17, 2023 – $1035

November 23, 2023 – $1035

Stetson-Kraken Day Trip
(30 hours)
4 dives
New for 2023, we’re going for a quick trip! As usual, you’ll SLEEP on the way out and wake up to world-class diving.
This trip features two dives at Stetson Bank and two at the Kraken artificial reef. These four dives are designed to get you out to
world-class, blue-water diving in a shorter weather window.
Stetson Bank is a salt dome that has pushed up from deep water. It’s known for the much larger and more visible variety of
animals, including big sharks!
The Kraken is a 371-ft long cargo ship that was deliberately sunk near Stetson Bank. Like most artificial reefs, it’s known for its
sport fish congregations. The ship was sunk in 2017 and has since grown all manner of marine animals and creatures.

Friday, Arrive at 7PM, Board at 7:30 and depart soon after
Saturday Wake-up at 6AM
Dives 1&2, Stetson Bank
Lunch
Dives 3&4, Kraken Reef
Arrive in port at midnight, disembark at 7AM Sunday

Price: $485

Dates:

March 3, 2023

March 24, 2023

April 7, 2023

April 21, 2023

Stetson-Kraken 2-Day
(Thursday-Friday)
7 dives
One of the highest rated dives in our inventory is the very special Night Dive at Stetson Bank. Stetson bank is most notable for
it’s LACK of coral reef cover, resulting in many of the same animals but with nowhere to hide from snooping divers. The
wildlife at Stetson is a real treat, but at night, an entirely new set of creepy animals comes out from hiding. And prowling out in
the deep water, beyond the drop-off of the bank, big sharks (a resident Sandbar for example) and other visitors are common.
The Kraken is a 371-ft long cargo ship that was deliberately sunk near Stetson Bank. Like most artificial reefs, it’s known for its
sport fish congregations. The ship was sunk in 2017 and has since grown all manner of marine animals and creatures.

Wednesday, Arrive at 7PM, Board at 7:30 and depart soon after
Thursday, Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 1&2 at Stetson #1
Lunch
Dives 3-5 at Stetson #3 (including the famous night dive!)
Friday, Wake-up and 6AM
Dives 6&7 at the Kraken reef
Arrive at the dock about 5:30PM

Price: $735

Dates:

June 28, 2023

Oil Platform Adventure 2-Day
(Thursday-Friday)
6-7 dives
Most of our excursions focus on “natural” reefs that have formed and built up over thousands of years, but the Gulf also holds
some special, man-made, “vertical reefs.” Since the 1950-1960s, oil companies have installed structures in the Gulf to facilitate
the extraction of fossil fuels from the depths. Some of these platforms are within sight of land (boring), but our Oil Platform
Adventure brings you far afield, where water depths reach 900+ ft.
The special feature on the adventure is the Cerveza Platform. Built in 1983, it has stood in 935 ft of water for decades, as a
result, one of the things divers won’t see is the platform itself. There’s too much growing on it! Mollusks and crabs and worms
and all manner of creatures, some hiding in their shells and others hiding behind the others. There’s plenty to see. And don’t
forget the big game fish.
Oil platforms “retire” when their production runs out, and some of them will be “reefed” in deep water. Some are simply cut-off
in place, but others are cut off at the mud-line and moved elsewhere. These “toppled rigs” provide an entirely different dive
experience, and these are the rigs we’ll dive on Friday before returning to port.

Wednesday, Arrive at 7PM, Board at 7:30 and depart soon after
Thursday, Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 1&2 at Cerveza Platform
Lunch
Dives 3-4 at the “Intersection Rigs” (near Stetson Bank) – Are you up for a night dive on an oil platform?
(Night Dive if conditions allow)
Friday, Wake-up and 6AM
Dives 5&6 at the Matagorda toppled rigs
Arrive at the dock about 5:30PM

Price: $735

Dates:

July 26, 2023

October 25, 2023

Gulf of Mexico Tour 4-Day
17 dives
New for 2023
For divers who want to get away for a longer trip, we’re offering a tour of all the features described on other trips. Designed to
capture the divers who will travel from further in order to see all the Gulf has to offer, this trip has it all:
o The Flower Garden Banks
o Oil Platforms (variety, including Cerveza)
o Deep-water (6000+ ft), Black Water Drift Dives
o Toppled rigs
o Stetson Bank
o The Kraken Reef

Sunday, Arrive at 7PM, board at 7:30, depart shortly after
Monday Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 1&2 at West Flower Garden Bank
Lunch
Dive 3 at Oil Platform HI376-A (or other nearby)
Dives 4&5 at East Flower Garden Bank
Tuesday Wake-up at 7AM
Dives 6&7 at Cerveza Platform
Lunch
Dives 8-10 Stetson Bank
Wednesday
Dives 11&12 at Stetson Bank
Lunch
Dive 14&15 at Oil Platform (intersection rigs)
Thursday
Dives 16&17 Matagorda toppled rigs
Return to port at about 5:30PM

Price: $1326

Dates:

July 9, 2023

August 27, 2023

September 17, 2023

Coral Spawn Experience 4-Day
(2023 is a “split spawn” year, featuring 2 coral spawn events)
16 dives
Each year, a few days after the full moon in August (and sometimes again in September) corals the world over release their gametes into the ocean currents. These magical moments happen just after dark at the Flower Garden Banks reefs, and we designed this trip to put you into the mix with all that spawning.
There’s more! All that spawn in the water attracts other bigger animals too, especially the sharks and filter feeders like Mantas.
This trip is four days and five nights of diving and is designed to place you in the action for as many corals as possible. During the day, you’ll enjoy all the reef has to offer, plus an oil platform or two.
(No itinerary. Specific dive sites determined by expected spawn locations and times.)

Price: $1326

Non-Dive Excursions
In 2023, the Fling will offer wildlife and educational excursions. We’ll offer two birding itineraries from Freeport, one east to the Louisiana border and the other south to Rockport. These trips, while not immune from the weather, are inshore and less dependent on good weather offshore.

Eastern Wildlife Adventure
Texas is blessed with some of the best birding grounds in the country. High Island is a prominence located to the north and east of Bolivar and is a world-famous birding feature. Our eastern wildlife excursion will start on Saturday morning at Texas Point, the southeastern corner of the state and the mouth of the Sabine River. We’ll travel up the river to the intracoastal waterway and turn back toward High Island, approaching through a puzzle of wildlife preserves:
o Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
o Candy Cain Abshier Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
o Big Hill Bayou WMA
o McFadden NWR
o Anahuac NWR (High Island area)
o Goat Island and “back lakes”
o Brazoria NWR
The Fling is well-suited to wildlife viewing. Our spacious upper deck offers clear, 360 degrees of viewing. Passengers are encouraged to bring their favorite folding chair.

Southern Wildlife Adventure
Our other wildlife excursion races down the coast to Rockport, TX where the famous Whooping Cranes nest each season, then wanders the way back inshore through healthy and productive wetlands. These birds are making a precarious come-back from the brink of extinction, and the nesting grounds in the Aransas NWR have been a critical habitat for their recovery. To make this trip even better, there’s plenty of other productive wetland habitat the entire route home, passing through several preserves.
o Aransas NWR
o Matagorda Bay
o Mad Island WMA
o Big Boggy NWR
o San Bernard NWR and Cedar Lakes (accessible only by water)
o Justin Hurst WMA and Jones Creek

Field Trip Afloat
This year, the Fling is offering a unique chance for students (and teachers too) to spend a weekend afloat, at sea and in the estuary, learning about the coastal habitats, ocean sciences, nautical science, and other lessons you won’t find anywhere else.
From the time you come aboard, we’ll start our study of safety of life at sea with a case study. That will be followed by a demonstration of an important principle, light pollution, and we’ll demonstrate it by escaping from the lights that obscure the night sky! Spend the night at anchor and wake up Saturday to begin looking closely at marine and ocean science topics. We’ll pull a bottom trawl and go through the catch to ID the fish we catch. A plankton seine will give students a chance to work with the microscope.
In the afternoon and evening, we’ll examine nautical science, and the students will have a chance to drive the Fling in and around the harbor entrance (with close supervision from the Captain, of course). This lesson will demonstrate line-of-position navigation, bridge-to-bridge communications, passing arrangements, and more.
We’re not posting a specific itinerary because these trips will vary based on weather (which we will study) and conditions. We’ll adapt to what we find in the field, but spend two full days learning about the world around us.
Each minor student must be accompanied by an adult. We recommend booking a top / bottom bunk for a parent – child pair, or a whole cabin for a parent (or two) and two or three kiddos.

Complete topic list
o Astronomy – star ID, light pollution, time zones
o Marine Science – Fish ID, Classifications, ecosystems, estuary habitat, plankton ecology
o Ocean Science – Salinity, turbidity, haloclines thermoclines, and other segmentation, currents
o Nautical Science – Basic Navigation, true motion vs relative motion, bridge operations
o Fire science – Fire prevention, Extinguisher operation, Evacuation planning and execution
o Weather – Cloud classification, convective systems, frontal zones, soundings
o Critical Reading – “Sea Stories” and other literature

This list includes more topics than we’ll have time for on our trip, because some may not be available. For example, star identification is not possible on cloud-covered weekends. Our specific itinerary for these trips will be determined by the weather conditions for each trip, but we’ll squeeze in as many activities as we’re able.
As always, passengers on these trips will enjoy all the benefits of our full galley and cozy bunk rooms.

 

Cozumel, Mexico – October 26-November 2, 2023

October 26-November 2, 2023 – SCUBA TRIP!

Fiesta Americana All-Inclusive Resort

The BEST diving in the WORLD! Join us!

Trip Leaders: Tonya & Bill Merritt

Dive the beautiful Caribbean water with your current dive buddies or make new ones! This trip is suited for all diving levels and non-divers too. We can complete Open Water check out dives, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course and many specialties including Deep Diver, Drift Diver, Boat Diver, Surface Marker Buoy Diver to name a few! Let us know what you are interested in!

This package includes hotel accommodations of 8 days/7 nights at Fiesta Americana Hotel, 6 days of 2 tank boat dives, Nitrox & 1 night boat dive, meal plan (7 restaurants, dessert & ice cream bar, room service), alcohol and other drinks, airport transfers, and a cocktail social at Villa Gigglin’ Marlin Del Mar located in Costa Del Sol in Cozumel.

DELUXE ROOM

Diver – $1883 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

Diver – $2492 pp based on Single occupancy – Deluxe Room

Non Diver – $968 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

MASTER SUITE ROOM

Diver – $2191 pp based on Double occupancy – Master Suite Room

Non Diver – $1269 pp based on Double Occupancy – Master Suite Room

Other Options: Cenote Diving, Cavern Course, Whale Shark Snorkel, Dolphin Encounter, Fishing Charter, Spearfishing Charter, and Mopeds around the islands!

Not included: airfare, tips, hotel eco-tax (can’t prepay, approximately $10-13 USD, paid at check in), optional Covid Insurance paid directly to the hotel and any extra excursion you choose.

Shorter Dates are available and can be quoted accordingly.

Flight Suggestions:  United or Southwest are great options out of Houston, but American is good out of Dallas. For your transfers, send your airfare to:  barbie@gigglinmarlin.com 

You can fly into CUN – Cancun Airport – but it is not recommended unless there is not a flight option for that day into Cozumel (CZM).

Click here to reserve your spot with a $500 Deposit!

Please write the room type and single/double/triple occupancy on the Trip Notes Tab on the Reservation Form.

Cozumel, Mexico – June 10-17, 2023

June 10-17, 2023 – SCUBA TRIP!

Fiesta Americana All-Inclusive Resort

The BEST diving in the WORLD! Join us!

Trip Leaders: Tonya & Bill Merritt

Dive the beautiful Caribbean water with your current dive buddies or make new ones! This trip is suited for all diving levels and non-divers too. We can complete Open Water check out dives, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course and many specialties including Deep Diver, Drift Diver, Boat Diver, Surface Marker Buoy Diver to name a few! Let us know what you are interested in!

This package includes hotel accommodations of 8 days/7 nights at Fiesta Americana Hotel, 6 days of 2 tank boat dives, Nitrox & 1 night boat dive, meal plan (7 restaurants, dessert & ice cream bar, room service), alcohol and other drinks, airport transfers, complimentary Covid testing at the hotel and a cocktail social at Villa Gigglin’ Marlin Del Mar located in Costa Del Sol in Cozumel.

DELUXE ROOM

Diver – $1883 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

Diver – $2492 pp based on Single occupancy – Deluxe Room

Non-Diver – $968 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

MASTER SUITE ROOM

Diver – $2191 pp based on Double occupancy – Master Suite Room

Non-Diver – $1269 pp based on Double Occupancy – Master Suite Room

Other Options: Cenote Diving, Cavern Course, Whale Shark Snorkel, Dolphin Encounter, Fishing Charter, Spearfishing Charter, and Mopeds around the islands!

Not included: airfare, tips, hotel eco-tax (can’t prepay, approximately $10-13 USD, paid at check in), optional Covid Insurance paid directly to the hotel and any extra excursion you choose.

Flight Suggestions:  United or Southwest are great options out of Houston, but American is good out of Dallas. For your transfers, send your airfare to:  barbie@gigglinmarlin.com 

Shorter Trips are available and can be quoted accordingly.

You can fly into CUN – Cancun Airport – but it is not recommended unless there is not a flight option for that day into Cozumel (CZM).

Click here to reserve your spot with a $500 Deposit!

Please write the room type and single/double/triple occupancy on the Trip Notes Tab on the Reservation Form.

Cozumel, Mexico – February 15-22, 2023

Feb 15-22, 2023 – SCUBA TRIP!

Fiesta Americana All-Inclusive Resort

The BEST diving in the WORLD! Join us!

Trip Leaders: Tonya & Bill Merritt

Dive the beautiful Caribbean water with your current dive buddies or make new ones! This trip is suited for all diving levels and non-divers too. We can complete Open Water check out dives, the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course and many specialties including Deep Diver, Drift Diver, Boat Diver, Surface Marker Buoy Diver to name a few! Let us know what you are interested in!

This package includes hotel accommodations of 8 days/7 nights at Fiesta Americana Hotel, 6 days of 2 tank boat dives, Nitrox & 1 night boat dive, meal plan (7 restaurants, dessert & ice cream bar, room service), alcohol and other drinks, airport transfers and a cocktail social at Villa Gigglin’ Marlin Del Mar located in Costa Del Sol in Cozumel.

DELUXE ROOM

Diver – $1883 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

Diver – $2492 pp based on Single occupancy – Deluxe Room

Non Diver – $968 pp based on Double occupancy – Deluxe Room

MASTER SUITE ROOM

Diver – $2191 pp based on Double occupancy – Master Suite Room

Non Diver – $1269 pp based on Double Occupancy – Master Suite Room

Other Options may include: Cenote Diving, Cavern Course, Whale Shark Snorkel, Dolphin Encounter, Fishing Charter, Spearfishing Charter, and Mopeds around the islands!

Not included: airfare, tips, hotel eco-tax (can’t prepay, approximately $10-13 USD, paid at check in), optional Covid Insurance paid directly to the hotel and any extra excursion you choose.

Shorter Dates are available and can be quoted accordingly.

Flight Suggestions:  United or Southwest are great options out of Houston, but American is good out of Dallas. For your transfers, send your airfare to:  barbie@gigglinmarlin.com 

You can fly into CUN – Cancun Airport – but it is not recommended unless there is not a flight option for that day into Cozumel (CZM).

Click here to reserve your spot with a $500 Deposit!

Please write the room type and single/double/triple occupancy on the Trip Notes Tab on the Reservation Form.

Egypt – Liveaboard – 2024

Egypt – Liveaboard

2024

$500.00 to reserve your spot!

Fly to Hurghada Egypt from US (Travelers arrange their own flights)

PRICING FOR TRIP INCLUDES

March 6 stay at the Continental Hurghada Hotel.  Room includes  breakfast and transfer from the airport to hotel.

Blue Horizon – Simply the Best Itinerary.

Includes:

7 nights – 6 Days of diving with up to 4 dives per day

Transfers between Hurghada (Egypt) airport and live aboard on days of embarkation and disembarkation

Food/Water/coffee/tea/soft drinks

12 Litre cylinder with air fills

Weights

Obligatory surcharges

Entry Visa

Government Reef Tax – 80.00 per person

Premium Cabin Situated on the mid deck, these king suites offer accommodation for two people in a large and comfortable bed as well as plenty of storage space.

Classic Cabin on the Lower Deck 1 twin and 1 double bed OR 2 twin beds

Extra costs

Cabin upgrades and sole occupancy

Rental equipment

Nitrox

Private dive guide

Alcohol

Tonic & soda water

On board merchandise

Crew & dive guide gratuities

 

March 14 – A 3.5 hour private bus ride from Hurghada to Luxor where we will embark on the Nile Cruise and tour.

Land itinerary – 

Day 1: Luxor Nile Cruise

Transfer to embark Nile Cruise before lunch.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner.

Visits: Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple.

Day 2: Luxor Nile Cruise – West bank

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Visits: Valley of the Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon.

Day 3: Edfu and Kom Ombo Temples

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Visits: Horus Temple, Kom Ombo Temple.

Day 4: Aswan Nile Cruise Tours / Disembarkation

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Visits: High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple.

– We will disembark from the Nile Cruise at Aswan and transfer to the Aswan airport.  At the Aswan airport we will catch a mid-afternoon flight to Cairo.

Fly to US from Egypt –  (Travelers arrange their own flights.) *Please see flight information for Heidi and Doug below.

If you have a strong desire to see the sites of Northern Egypt (Memphis, Alexandria, Giza) please let us know.  Heidi and Doug will not be touring northern Egypt but the same people who have arranged the rest of this experience for us can and will be happy to add on a couple days in Cairo for people who want to see the Pyramids and the other sites around the area.  Pricing will be dependent upon days and sites seen in Cairo.

Pricing for this trip is:

Double Occupancy Classic Cabin – $ per person

Double Occupancy Premium Cabin –  per person

Single Occupancy Classic Cabin – $– We will make every effort to find you a roommate if you are traveling solo.  However, if a roommate cannot be found you will be billed at the single occupancy rate.

Not included:

Airfare from the US to Hurghada

Airfare from Cairo to the US

Any nights in Cairo

Any tours in Cairo

Rental equipment

Nitrox

Private dive guide

Alcohol

Tonic & soda water

On board merchandise / Souvenirs.

Crew & dive guide gratuities

Entry Visa

Government Reef Tax – 80.00 per person

 

 

*Flight suggestions for this trip:

 

There are many different options for getting to and from this trip:

Turkish Airlines

United Airlines

Swiss Airlines

Air France

KLM

British Air

 

For Economy flights as of  Turkish Airlines was the least expensive option.  On the same day, Business Class options were the least expensive on United and Swiss.  On that same day we found appreciable savings could be had by arriving a day early.  However there will be an extra hotel room charge if you elect to arrive in Hurghada before March 6.  The flight option Doug and Heidi chose is:

 

Pyramid Add on: 

 

 

Cozumel, Mexico with Lifewaters – August 12-19, 2023

Cozumel, Mexico

August 12-19, 2023 (Sat-Sat)

Gigglin’ Marlin Dive & Swim, Lifewaters and SDI Scubility Buddies are all partnering up for an Amazing Week of Diving!!  Meet up with old friends, meet new dive buddies and experience the ease of adaptable diving with the pros!  Cozumel is the best diving spot in the world! We had an incredible time last year and we want you to join us this year!

Hotel Cozumel

$1270 pp Diver in Standard Room – Double Occupancy – Non-Diver Rate: $660 pp
$1538 pp Diver in Standard Room – Single Occupancy – Non-Diver Rate: $928 pp
$1243 pp Diver in Standard Room – Triple Occupancy – Non-Diver Rate: $633 pp
$1596 pp Diver in Junior Suite – Double Occupancy – Non-Diver Rate: $986 pp
$2063 pp Diver in Junior Suite – Single Occupancy – Non-Diver Rate: $1453 pp

Package Included: hotel accommodations, airport transfers, 4 days of 2 tank boat diving and 1 day of 1 tank boat dive with El Cielo trip on Thursday afternoon, Nitrox Tanks, all meals and drinks (including alcohol) at Hotel Cozumel, group t-shirt and a group picture.

Not Included in package:  airfare, eco hotel tax (approx. $10 per room per week, paid at check in), rental equipment (paid to Gigglin’ Marlin prior to the trip), courses and dive tips ($100-200pp), transportation/fees associated for any activity or excursion off Hotel Cozumel property.

Complete your Open Water Course, Advanced Course, Enriched Air Nitrox or Specialties in the gorgeous Caribbean Ocean!  Let us know what you are interested in!

Add Ons:

Rental Equipment – BCD ($50/wk), Reg ($65/wk), Computer($55/wk), Wetsuits ($35/wk) – let us know what you need prior to the trip.

$40/wk – 100 cu. ft tank

$20 – Turtle Release Donation

$15/day for Premium Drinks Package – paid at the hotel upon check in

E-Learning Nitrox Specialty Course – complete the online portion prior to the trip:  www.gigglinmarlin.com COURSES, then ONLINE COURSES, select online courses on PADI site, select enriched air nitrox.  Pay PADI the course fee and then $50 to Gigglin’ Marlin to complete the hands-on portion in Cozumel.  There is also an option for the Nitrox course through SDI.  Contact Tonya on both options. 281-445-3483

 

 

Palau, Micronesia – Palau Siren Liveaboard – March 10-20, 2023


Palau – Liveaboard – SOLD OUT!!!

Dates: March 10-20, 2023 (10 nights on the vessel; not including travel days)

Location: Palau, Micronesia

Vessel: S/Y Palau Siren

Trip Leaders: Doug Jones and Heidi Erickson

The Location:

With intriguing blue holes, spectacular drop-offs, caverns, caves and channels, Palau is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most thrilling dive destinations.  Diving in Palau should be at the top of everyone’s dive to do list!

Awaiting you in Palau are more than 1400 species of fish, 500 species of healthy coral and large pelagics. Whale sharks, eagle rays, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead are a few examples of the astonishing spectrum of marine life this Micronesian archipelago has to offer.

 

The Vessel:

The Palau Siren is a 130-foot handcrafted ironwood and teak liveaboard built for divers.  The vessel welcomes a maximum of 16 guests in 8 cabins with individually controlled air conditioning and in-suite bathrooms with hot water.  The covered outdoor dining area provides a great setting for all your meals and the spacious air-conditioned saloon offers a cocktail bar, comfortable seating and a large flat screen TV.  The vessel has 2 high-bottom skiffs for maneuvering to dive sites, a nitrox compressor, equipment rental, kayaks, laundry and massage services.

Logistics and Itinerary:

Arrival airport: Koror Airport (ROR)

Departure airport: Koror Airport (ROR)

Airport and local hotels transfers to and from S/Y Palau Siren are included.

March 10, 2023, Board S/Y Palau Siren

March 20, 2023, Depart Palau Siren for Airport (or local hotel)

Pricing:

Premium Double Cabin $5500 per person; $2500 per person deposit to reserve booking.

$9900 – Single Rate Cabin

If you are traveling solo and desire a roommate, we will endeavor to find a roommate for you but if there is not a roommate available you will need to pay the single Rate.

Flight Suggestion:

Heidi and Doug’s flight information is:

March 7, 2023 UA 2229  7:32 am Departs Houston (IAH)

3 connections

Denver, CO, US (DEN)
Tokyo, JP (NRT)
Guam, GU, US (GUM)
March 9, 2023 UA157 8:40 pm Arrival Koror, PW (ROR)

March 21, 2023 UA 158 2:15 am Departs Koror, PW (ROR)
3 Connections
Guam, GU, US (GUM)
Honolulu, HI, US (HNL)
San Francisco, CA, US (SFO)
March 21, 2023 UA 2357 1:40 pm Arrival Houston, TX, US (IAH)

In Country Hotel – If your flight scheduling in and out of Palau necessitates a short  hotel stay there are several hotel options in Koror.  The hotel below is what Heidi and Doug have reserved if you want to do the same feel free:

March 9 – The Palau Hotel (http://www.palauhotel.net/),  If you are flying in late and just need a room this is the place.  Fancy resort, no.  Near the beach, no.  But the dive boat will pick us up there on March 10!  Shuttle service is available from the airport to the hotel upon arrival.  Book your room through Expedia.  Heidi and Doug got a $98.54 rate, taxes and fees included, for the night in a Deluxe room.

March 20 – Heidi and Doug have an all-day but not overnight wait in Koror on March 20.  If you too are in this situation there are a couple hotels / resorts that have days passes.  The boat operator can help us arrange a day pass while we are there.

Please send your Flight Information to:  barbie@gigglinmarlin.com.

 

Trip Description and Details:

Departing from Koror, the S/Y Palau Siren will spend 10 days diving a selection of sites including German Channel, New Drop Off, Ulong Channel and Blue Corner. The order in which we dive is based upon the currents, weather conditions and moon phase as we wish to bring you to the best sites at the optimum time to dive them.

In Malakal Harbour we dive the Iro Maruwreck and Chandelier Cave. Whilst at Ulong divers can expect a speedy drift along the reefs with schools of snappers and trevally at dive site such as Ulong Channel and Siaes Corner. Divers can enjoy the spectacle of spawning bumphead parrotfish and grey reef sharks are known to breed here with many juveniles often be spotted amongst the groups.  There is the opportunity to visit the furthermost island dive sites to the north at Badeldaob Island, however this will be based on conditions at the time of trip departure.

The Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 3 day dives and either a sunset or a night dive. The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:

Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1

Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing

Dive 2 Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 3

Snack

Briefing for Sunset or Night dive

Dinner

Typically guests have a late evening flight on the day of disembarkation and we can therefore schedule 4 dives for your final dive day. However, we request guests check their own flight times and ensure they leave a minimum of 18 hours between their final dive and their flight home. The Cruise Director is happy to listen to requests from guests to visit or remain at certain sites and providing it is possible and the schedule allows, then guest’s requests are respected.

Marine Life: Schools of grey reef and white tip sharks congregate at Blue Holes / Blue Corner. German Channel is the place for manta ray action at the cleaning stations. Several mantas may be seen here as divers rest on the bottom to watch the display or swim in the shallows as the mantas approach. At Peleliu Island schools of snapper congregate to spawn near “the Cut” meanwhile lucky divers may meet bull sharks, silver tips and black tip reef sharks.

Weather permitting one to two land excursions will be planned.  One will be the world famous jellyfish lake!

Aboard the Palau Siren we have 2 dive tenders and can split groups depending on experience level and site preference. Dives are led by our 3 western instructors and groups are typically no more than 6:1, though you may prefer to dive just with your buddy – the choice is yours! Many of the channels have strong currents and reef hooks are an essential piece of diving equipment, however diving in Palau is suitable for all levels of experience.

South Africa-Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town – Dec 2023-Jan 2024


South Africa Safari and Apex Predator Diving 14 day Vacation

Kruger National Park – 4 days – 2 1/2 days of safari tours with Guides, 2 – 4×4 Game Drives, Sundowner Drive, Year’s Eve Celebration in the Safari!

Flight from Johannesburg to Durban (southern coastal town).

Accommodations in Belvedere Estates

Dolphin Coast of Kwazulu Natal – 1 day

Diving Aliwal Shoal – 2 days – 3 dives and 1 Bait Dive: hundreds of Raggie Tooth Sharks, Oceanic Black Tip Sharks, Tiger Sharks. Mako Sharks, and Dolphins

Protea Banks Diving – 3 days – 5 Dives and 1 Bait Dive:  Hammerhead Sharks, Bull Sharks, Guitar Sharks and large rays

Flight from Durban to Cape Town

Cape Town – 4 days

Simons Town  – Cape Fur Seal & 7 Gilled Cow Shark Dives

Cape Town Tour including Robben Island Tour, , Red Bus City Tour, Table Mountain Cable Car, wine tasting

Gansbaai – Caged Great White Shark Diving!

Meals Included:  12 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners

Activities planned for Non Divers too!

These are 2020 rates, so the new rates will be a little higher.

$5600 pp Diver Rate, based on double occupancy (prices are subject to fluctuate due to their currency)-

$4587 pp Non Diver, based on double occupancy (prices are subject to fluctuate due to their currency)

$1288 pp Single Supplement Add On (prices are subject to fluctuate due to their currency)

20 spaces available

$500.00 Deposit to reserve your spot!

 

Activity Package:

2 – 4×4 Game Drive in Kruger National Park

Sundowner Drive

Morning Guided Bush Walk

Protea Banks Baited Dive

Aliwal Shoal Batied Dive

Robben Island Tour

Deal Dive & 7 Gilled Cow Shark Dive

Red Bus City Tour

Table Mountain Cable Car

Great White Cage Dive

 

Not Included:

Airfare into Johannesburg and out of Cape Town

Nitrox

Some of the meals and extra excursions

 

Truk Lagoon, Micronesia – Liveaboard – November 23-30, 2024

Truk Lagoon

Japanese War Ship Wreck Diving

Truk Odyssey Liveaboard

November 23-30, 2024

 

8 Cabins for 16 divers: $3749pp

Includes: Liveaboard boat-rooms, taxes, meals, airport transfers, Chuuk Dive Permit

Excludes: airfare, 1-2 nights at Blue Lagoon Resort depending on your airfare.

$500.00 deposit to hold your spot!

Call Tonya for more information!

(281) 445-3483

 

Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands – November 18-25, 2023

Cayman Brac Beach Resort in Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands

Stay at the beautiful Cayman Brac Beach Resort!  Cayman Brac is known for its beautiful reefs (which are protected) and exciting wreck dives (including the MV Captain Keith Tibbetts wreck!).  There are also plenty of hiking trails and caves for those who wish to spend some of their time out of the water!  Weather permitting, one day will be diving on the Bloody Bay Wall on Little Cayman!

Cayman Brac Beach Resort was virtually rebuilt after being nearly destroyed by Hurricane Paloma in 2008. Another major renovation was completed in December 2015 which included updates to all 40 rooms, installation of a gigantic free-form pool, and opening of a 2-story bar whose top deck is perfect for catching sunsets.

November 18-25, 2023

Leaders: Doug Jones & Heidi Erickson

$1995 pp for Diver Double Occupancy Beach View

$2400 pp for Diver Single Occupancy Beach View

$1947 pp for Diver Triple Occupancy Beach View

$1924 pp for Diver Quad Occupancy Beach View

Non-Divers deduct $250 in room category

$200 Drink Package (3 drinks per day)

Included in the package: Airport Transfers, all meals, Wifi, welcome rum punch, cocktail reception, hotel, taxes, fees & gratuities, 6 days of 2 tank boat dives, 5 days of 1 tank afternoon dives, and Nitrox

Not Included:  both flights:  Flights, Dive Tips, Alcohol on the resort (pay by the drink) or $200 for 3 drinks a day package.

$500.00 deposit to hold your spot!

Half Payment is Due April 3rd, 2023

Final Payment is Due August 23rd, 2023 – There are no refunds after this date.