June 19-25, 2016
Live & Learn!
‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.’ Saint Augustine
Expand your horizons with experiences that will make you appreciate what an amazing world we live in and need to protect.
Here is your itinerary.
Sunday: Florida Arrival Date
Welcome to the Key Largo! Accommodations for the week are at Amoray Dive Resort. This is a moderately priced hotel and chosen for it’s convenience and to also help keep the cost down. In other words, it isn’t the Hilton. The cost of this trip is going toward education and experiences.
Amoray Resort has been in the dive business since 1978 and is a staple on the key. They are located on Florida Bay so the sunset views will be wonderful. They have several dive boats on premise. With minimal effort, you will get to famous dives sites like the statue of Christ of the Deep, the wrecks of the Spiegel Grove, the Duane, and the Benwood, Molasses Reef, French Reef and Elbow Reef. Storage facilities for wet and smelly dive gear is also available. The resort has several category for rooms ranging from standard hotel rooms with 2 double beds (priced here) to large apartments. If you would like to upgrade the room, please let us know.
Meet & Greet: Please try to arrive by 7pm on Sunday evening. Your group leader/dive instuctor, Mike Goerge will meet you and confirm the week’s plans. He is an enthusiastic person and adventurer. You will love him!
Monday: Morning Dives
Sun Deck Seminar :Fish Behavior
The first day of diving is super easy. Two morning boat dives are planned to shallow dive sites. This will be perfect for students, beginner divers and anyone who is feeling a ‘little rusty.’ During the dive, make some notes about any interesting fish behaviors seen during the dive.
You’ll be back by lunchtime and the afternoon is at leisure. At 4pm, join us on the sundeck for the first seminar on Fish Behavior.
Tuesday: Choose Your Adventure, Reef or Wreck Dive
Sun Deck Seminar: Sharks
If you’re Advanced Diver certified, you can choose to dive one of the famous shipwrecks in the area. If you are not an Advanced Certified diver or cannot meet the criteria for diving the shipwrecks, then enjoy two dives on a beautiful reef. There is no bad choice here.
There are two shipwrecks in the area, the Spiegel Grove and the Duane. The USS Spiegel Grove is a Landing Ship Dock that was sunk to as a artificial reef. She is 510ft. long and rests in 134ft. of water. The highest point of the ship is in 60ft. The William J. Duane wreck is a 327ft Coast Guard Cutter named after Pres. Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of the Treasury. That makes her one old ship. She served as a patrol boat during Viet Nam, a convoy escort on D-Day and a rescue ship for Cuban refugees in the 80’s. The Duane was sunk in 1987 as an artificial reef and rests between 100-125ft of water. Many pelagic fish like to hang around this structure.
Wednesday: Choose Your Adventure!
Kayaking or Diving
This morning we will venture on kayaks to Dove Creek. If paddling isn’t your thing, you can substitute this half day of kayaking for another two reef dives.
Garl’s Coastal Kayaking will provide the kayaks and a seasoned naturalist guide. FYI: Garl is a SASS certified diver. He took one of our class while in college. His company has been hired by Columbia Sportswear, GQ Magazine, CNN and National Geographic Films.
You’ll paddle through tunnels of arching mangroves and out into the shallow flats of needlerush and periphyton. This is truly an incredible experience and an opportunity to observe different fish and birds. Bring your mask, fins and snorkel; we’ll snorkel after the kayaking.
Thursday: Coral Restoration Center and Dives
Today we spend time with a nonprofit conservation organization that is dedicated to creating offshore nurseries for threatened coral species. The program includes classroom time in the morning and two dives in the afternoon. The discussion includes an introduction to coral anatomy and conditions necessary for a healthy reef to exist as well as stressors that are currently causing coral decline. The morning session ends with a hands-on demonstration of restoration techniques.
In the afternoon, we will hop on a dive boat. On the first dive, you’ll use the techniques illustrated in the morning presentation. Divers will explore the nursery and prepare corals to be transported to a restoration site. The second dive takes place at the restoration site, where you’ll out-plant the corals previously prepared. Typically, dives are approximately 45 minutes each.
Friday: Dolphin Encounter
There are several dolphin encounter companies in the Keys and we’ve chosen the one with the best reputation. Yes, this is a touristy experience but sometimes it’s the price you have to pay to interact with these wonderful mammals.
The program begins with an educational briefing concerning dolphin anatomy/biology and marine mammal conservation efforts. Following the briefing, swimmers are divided into smaller groups and enter a natural, ocean-water lagoon. Guests take turns entering the water and interact directly with the dolphins. Each swimmer will experience fast-paced behaviors such as foot pushes and dorsal tows, participate in powerful bows over hoops and poles, interact with intimate behaviors such as handshakes, belly rubs, and kisses, and even test their skills as trainers, while giving the dolphins hand signals. Total time is 2 hours.
Saturday: Depart for Home :(
Sorry but all good things must come to an end. But, what memories you will have!
Beach Lover: $649
Diver Package Includes:
Adventurer Package includes:
Beach Lover Package
The 'Small Print' Stuff
Rooming Arrangements: If you do not have a roommate and want one, SASS will assist in finding someone to share a room with. We cannot, however, guarantee that this is always possible. The single supplement cost is $599.
Pre-Trip Meeting & Travel Documents: There will be a pre-trip informational meeting approximately one month prior to this trip. At that time, documents and informational packets about your vacation will be given. If you have any questions prior to the meeting, feel free to contact Kim at 269-968-8551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dolphin Experience: Participants should be comfortable in water that is 12 - 18 feet deep. Swimmers must be at least 7 years old to participate. A participating parent or guardian, age 18 or older must accompany swimmers age 7 to 9 years. Swimmers age 10 to 17 must be accompanied at the facility by a participating or observing parent or guardian age 18 or older, but can enter the water independently. Due to insurance reasons, pregnant women are unable to participate in our dolphin swims, but are welcome to sign up for the Kissed By a Dolphin Program.
Payment: a $300 non-refundable deposit is necessary to guarantee space on this trip. Final payment is due April 20th, 2016. No refunds can be given for unused portions of the trip or cancellations after money has been sent so we strongly recommend travel insurance.
Coral Restoration Project Above
Shark Behavior Seminar