Here is the DealWhat does the travel package include?
- You will have five days on the Silver Bank with up to four and one half (4.5) days of tender (small boat) time to look for whales, up to nine tender excursions, weather permitting as per Sanctuary rules.
- Three meals a day aboard the vessel, except for the last (Friday) night, which will be ashore at guest’s expense.
- Morning and afternoon snack.
- All beverages, including carbonated, non-carbonated, and alcoholic; a limited selection of beer (local) and wine is provided. Distilled spirits are not provided, but may be brought on board the vessel if desired.
- Morning in-room beverage service.
- Nightly turn down service.
- Fresh towel service daily.
- Entertainment library.
Please see our Costs, Terms & Conditionsfor complete details.
What is not included in the travel package?
- Any airfare or airfare related expenses.
- Tourist Card required at arrival airport (US$10 cash at arrival airport).
- Excess baggage/lost baggage charges.
- Transfers to and from or between airport, hotel, vessel, bus station, tours; any ground transportation.
- Hotels or any type of shore accommodations.
- Airport departure taxes (US$20 cash at departure airport).
- Any Sanctuary & Port Fees (currently $250 pp, fees subject to change).
- Any Fuel Surcharges (currently estimated $175pp, surcharge subject to change).
- Any additional Permit Fees required for professional photography or videography in the Sanctuary.
- Gratuity for Crew (10% of retail price suggested).
- Dinner the last (Friday) night, which will be ashore.
- Distilled spirits or hard alcohol beyond the supplied beer (local) and wine.
- Snorkeling and/or camera/video equipment rental.
- Souvenir Video DVD, and/or Photo CD, and/or Audio CD.
- Souvenir t-shirts and/or sundries.
Please see our Costs, Terms & Conditionsfor complete details.
How do I reserve a space?
Please see our Costs, Terms & Conditionsfor complete details.
Do I need trip insurance?
Travel InformationWhat currency is used?
How do I pay for onboard expenses?
What is our port of embarkation?
Where do I fly into the Dominican Republic?
When should I plan to arrive?
What travel documents will I need?
What should I know about customs?
Where should I stay when I get to the Dominican Republic?
How do I get to the marina?
Another option is to pre-arrange a transfer through a transportation company. In this case a uniformed driver will identify himself by holding a sign with your name on it. The van will then carry you to your destination. This can be very economical for groups of 3 guest or more. The transfer company we recommend is AligaTour (http://aligatour.net/). For assistance, please contact Fabiola Disla (809) 669-7664/ (809) 705-7661, firstname.lastname@example.org
or Jorge Fernandez (809) 669-7660, email@example.com
If you fly into POP, you can expect to pay approximately $125 U.S. for all your ground transportation needs, per person, for your whole trip. If you fly into STI, that figure will be approximately $250. If you travel with a companion these costs can be cut in half.
The Onboard ExperienceWhat amenities are aboard?
In the main salon, the M/V Sun Dancer II has a multi-system TV/Video, a compact disc player, a DVD player and stereo with connections for iPods. etc. There is also a small library in the salon, as well as consoles for charging small electronics. The electrical current on the M/V Sun Dancer IIis 110 volts/60Hz AC (American standard outlets).
How much storage space is available in my cabin?
What languages are spoken on board?
What kind of food is served?
If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us as soon as possible so we can adequately prepare to meet your needs. Vegetarian and vegan meals are not a problem with prior notice. However, certain special dietary and beverage requests may not be available on a consistent basis due to the remote nature of this location and local availability of supplies so advanced planning may be required.
What additional expenses will I be responsible for while onboard?
Any “Boatique” purchases aboard the M/V Sun Dancer IImust be settled onboard (using cash or credit cards) prior to departure. In addition, Conscious Breath Adventures offers video and photo discs documenting your week on the Silver Bank for sale, as well souvenir t-shirts. Acceptable methods of payment for CBA merchandise include U.S. Dollars, Traveler’s Checks and personal checks but no credit cards. Crew gratuities are not included and can be paid to the vessel by cash or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). As a guideline a gratuity of 10% of retail price is customary.
Is there internet access?
Is there cell phone service?
Cell phone service might be available to you when you are ashore in the Dominican Republic. Check your carrier’s plan and be sure to turn off international roaming services to avoid hefty charges. You may have service ashore but there is NO CELL PHONE service once we leave the marina. The vessel is equipped with satellite-based phone and email for emergency communications.
What to BringEssentials
- Passport- be sure to check expiration date when placing reservation
- Prescription medications/medical supplies (There are no pharmacies on the Silver Bank; carry essential medicines in your carry-on baggage on the plane.)
- Bathing suit
- Wet Suit (2mm – 3mm should keep you warm enough unless you tend to get really cold)
What are the essentials for an in-water encounter?
MASK: A good fit on the mask is essential. There are as many sizes and shapes of masks as there are sizes and shapes to people’s faces: one size does not fit all. The only way to ensure that a mask fits properly is to try it on. And this may sound funny, but check to see if the mask leaks when you have a huge grin on your face; it can be a real problem for happy whale swimmers! When shopping for a mask, focus on fit. If you order from somewhere online and your first choice does not fit, return it for another. Check the return policy first; if a company won’t accept a return, shop elsewhere. This is a good example of why to buy early.
SNORKEL: With snorkels, gimmicky, complicated, expensive snorkels are not always the best. Snorkels with some type of relatively streamlined splash protection and a purge valve will provide good service. Some good examples are the Aqualung Impulse (brand name and model name); the Aeris Cuda Dry Snorkel; or the Tusa Hyperdry, to name a few.
FINS: We suggest full foot, closed heel snorkel fins, rather than open heel scuba fins. They are lighter and smaller, which makes them easier to pack, more comfortable, and they are designed for the job. Keep it light and simple. Be sure they are not too tight. You do not need very long freediving fins, and avoid very small exercise/boogie board/body surfing fins. Your fins are what give you your power in the water! Some very good examples are the Cressi Sub Pro Star full foot fins; the Aeris Velocity full foot fins; and the Mares Avante Excel or HP full foot fins, to name a few.
Note on snorkel equipment: these recommendations are to help guests make informed purchases if the have no equipment. If you already own different equipment that you are happy with, bring it.
DIVE SOCKS: With closed heel fins we recommend purchasing a pair of “dive socks,” which are 1-2 mm thick neoprene socks designed to help prevent chafing and blisters. Matched with a properly fitting pair of fins, you will be very comfortable. Look for them where you would find dive boots or “booties”, either in the local dive shop or online retailer.
WETSUIT OR “DIVE SKIN:” Highly Recommended. Water temperatures will be in the mid 70’s (22-25 Celsius), and the sun will be shining. A wetsuit will keep you warm in the water, and protect from sunburn at the same time. Do you chill easily? Then you should consider a full-length suit of 3mm or more. Don’t get cold too easily? Then maybe a “shorty” of 3mm or so will do. Comfortable in cooler waters? Then maybe a 1 mm suit, or thin lycra dive skin is all you need. Remember two things: first, a good whale encounter is passive, and you may be floating in the water without exerting yourself for an hour or more, which is an easy way to catch a chill. Second, these suits also provide valuable sun protection. You do not want to have to get out of the water during a good interaction because you got cold, sunburned, or both.
MASK DEFOG DROPS: Small bottle of drops that will help to keep your mask clear so you can see the whales better. Mask defog drops are also available aboard.
If you need to purchase snorkel equipment, a local dive shop in your town is better than a general sporting goods store. If you do not live near a dive shop, Austin’s Diving Center can provide personal service, professional advice, and a CBA discount. Austin’s Diving Center is familiar with the equipment necessary for the Silver Bank and they ship worldwide. Their website is: www.AustinsDiving.com, or click their link on the CBA “Resources & Links” webpage at www.ConsciousBreathAdventures.com/resources. Other online equipment providers are: Diver’s Supply (www.Divers-Supply.com/); Diver’s Direct (www.DiversDirect.com/); or Leisure Pro (www.LeisurePro.com/).
What weather can I expect?
What clothes should I pack?
FOOTWEAR: Sandals and a pair of lightweight walking shoes will do the job.
PANTS: A pair of jeans or light trousers will suffice.
SHORTS: A couple pairs of fast drying shorts, suitable to wear on the tenders.
SHIRTS: A handful of t-shirts, some short sleeved, some long. One or two nicer shirts for dining and ashore.
SWEATSHIRT/LIGHT JACKET/WARM CAP: It can be cool in the evenings when the breeze blows.
LIGHTWEIGHT WIND BREAKER/RAINCOAT: Lightweight waterproof outerwear is recommended to help keep you warm and dry on the tenders on those days when the wind, waves, and spray might be up.
BATHING SUIT(S): One to wear, one as spare.
TOILETRIES: Whileeach cabin’s head comes with soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispensers, we recommend bringing your own personal toiletries.
What are some highly recommended niceties?
BROAD BRIMMED HAT: For sun protection, with a chinstrap for windy days.
DRY BAG: A small dry bag for use on the tenders to hold any sensitive personal gear, cameras, spare dry clothes, windbreaker, etc. Found at dive shops.
SNORKEL BAG: A compact bag for snorkel gear, to help keep it organized aboard the boats. A large mesh bag is simple, inexpensive and highly effective. Found at dive shops.
CAMERAS: Still or video, surface and/or underwater: photography/videography opportunities on the Silver Bank are exceptional! Whether it is a professional level DSLR, or a single-use point and shoot, a HD camera or a handy cam, for use above or below the water’s surface, bring it. Ample dry storage for topside cameras is available aboard the tenders. Don’t forget the batteries, chargers, tapes, film, memory cards & readers, etc.
PERSONAL TOWEL: A synthetic chamois or micro fiber mini camping towel: Great to carry on the tenders, they are compact and durable and will allow you to dry yourself off quickly after you get out of the water, which will help you to stay warm. They are also useful to wipe your hands before handling your camera.
BINOCULARS: A small pair of field glasses might be nice, especially while relaxing on M/V Sun Dancer II between tender excursions. Whales are often seen near the boat.
LEISURE ITEMS: Although there is a selection of books, movies and music aboard, you may want to bring some of your own. There is an entertainment center at your disposal.
Odds and EndsMay I scuba dive with the whales?
What are the rules governing professional photographers and videographers?
What are the age limits for participation?
We welcome children aboard as they are the stewards of the future, but please consider whether the trip is appropriate for your child. There are limited recreational activities onboard (movies, games, books, but no internet); there are no islands or beaches to go ashore until the end of the cruise. The vessel is scheduled to remain offshore the entire week. Be sure your child will be interested and engaged for the duration of the cruise!
Policies regarding minors are as follows:
- minimum age 12, with the above conditions considered
- children age 6 and over are welcome on special designated “Family Weeks”. Please contact us for availability.
- all cabins are double occupancy only, three to a room is not permitted
- a parent must berth with the minor child
- the child must be supervised/accompanied at all times
What do we do on the day we disembark?
How Do We Communicate in Case of Emergency?How do we communicate in case of emergency?
If someone ashore must contact you in the event of an emergency while the vessel is on the Silver Bank, please contact vessel owner Dancer Fleet, as they will be able to relay messages to CBA and the vessel. During regular business hours (Monday-Friday 8:00 am-6:00 pm eastern time zone, Miami, FL) call: toll free (800) 932-6237 or (305) 669-9391. Outside of regular business hours please call the Dancer Fleet emergency contact cell phone at (305) 778-8004 and you can also contact Conscious Breath Adventures shore-side staff in the U.S. at (239) 248-7101.
Please reserve calling these numbers for after hours or emergencies only.
Cell phone service might be available to you when you are in the marina in Cofresi but there is NO CELL PHONE service once we leave the marina. The M/V Sun Dancer IIis equipped with satellite based phone and email for emergency communications.