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  • SeaTrek BVI
Frequently Asked Questions

You have Questions? We have answers!

In addition to these FAQs, please visit our Know Before You Go page to find out all the nitty-gritty details about your SeaTrek voyage.

Why sail in the British Virgin Islands?

The British Virgin Islands feature the best of civilization and nature. The sailing is some of the best in the world. The protected waters of the BVI offer calm seas with great wind for sailing and crystal clear water for diving. It is rich with colorful reefs and spectacular shipwrecks that abound with marine life. The islands feature lush rain forests, mountain peaks, and an abundance of local history and culture.

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What is the difference between a Trek and a Voyage?

Think of a Voyage as a camp “session.” Voyages One, Two and Three take place on different dates. A Trek, on the other hand, expresses a level of SCUBA certification, sailing experience (and sometimes age). We offer all Trek levels on all Main Program BVI voyages, so no matter where you are with your ability and experience, we have a Trek for you!

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Why only 10 to 12 students per boat?

SeaTrek believes that keeping our groups small (10 to 12 participants) gives students the kind of individual attention they need. Traveling with programs that do not limit their size causes students to get “lost in the crowd.” Our small size also allows us to be flexible in our schedule and visit locations that the larger programs can’t. We assign students to boats based on similar age groupings.

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What do you mean by “full participatory” trips?

Our voyages are designed with the idea of bringing together experienced staff that want to share their knowledge with the participants as they learn to work together as a team. Staff is available for instruction and to ensure safety. Participants work as a team. Daily jobs are divided up among the teams. The teams work together to operate the vessel thus greatly expanding their abilities and skills.

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Is everyone the same age?

SeaTrek feels that placing students of comparable ages together on a trip is important for development. Students are grouped primarily by age though some Trek 4 and 5 participants are intermingled for training purposes.

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What if I have never sailed or used SCUBA before?

No prior sailing or diving experience is necessary. Our programs are designed to take the novice diver or sailor and turn him/her into a confident, experienced diver or sailor. Most participants have never been on a large boat much less at sea for several days; all we ask is that you come with an open mind and a willingness to learn. We are a scuba camp, sailing camp and marine biology camp all in one!

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What type of scuba equipment do you use?

We purchase the highest quality Sherwood scuba gear available for our dive programs. We then make this equipment available for purchase by participants at a discounted price.

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What about sleeping arrangements?

There are four double cabins on each vessel. Most students end up using their cabins primarily for storage of their personal belongings. Many participants prefer to sleep outside under the stars on the bow (front) tarpaulin where the tropical breeze makes it very comfortable and cool. Participants are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag for this purpose. We also have several waterproof hammocks that can be strung onto the rigging. One side of the boat is reserved for boys cabins and the other for girls cabins, and the same division applies when students sleep outside. There will also be a staff member sleeping outside at all times.

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Will I get seasick?

Our boats are catamarans which are very stable and are anchored in sheltered bays at night. If you are prone to seasickness we have medication onboard that will help alleviate the problem. Generally, after a day or two, you will get your sea legs and feel just fine.

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Are the voyages safe?

Your safety is our foremost concern. All activities are overseen by our professional staff who adhere strictly to our high standards of safety. Our 3:1 student to staff ratio aids in supervision and ensures a safe and fun voyage.

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What about the weather?

The weather in the BVI’s is usually very beautiful and mild in the summer. We keep in contact with the Moorings in Road Harbour and have internet access and radio to receive regular and thorough weather reports. If a tropical storm approaches we return to the Mooring Yacht Basin and take whatever precautions are necessary for your safety. At no time do we attempt to weather out storms at sea.

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Do we get to sail the boat?

Yes, you are the crew! We know we have done our best work if, by the end of your voyage, you and your fellow crew members can plan, navigate, sail, and anchor the yacht all by yourselves.

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Do we sail every day?

Sailing is how we get from point A to point B. We try to sail every day while making time for a lot of scuba diving, marine science and water sports in between. We do not sail at night and are always in sight of land.

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What about the food?

The food is simply the best. Captains Monk and Kat are excellent cooks, but during the voyage, you and your crew members will do most of the cooking. We provide fresh ingredients, simple recipes and staff guidance. We want you to eat as much as you want, and we have a never-ending fruit and snack basket available. We can accommodate a range of special dietary needs and restrictions, but please let us know in advance so we can address them accordingly.

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Do we go ashore?

Yes, we try to go ashore for hikes and island excursions every other day or so. We also go into port every 3 or 4 days to get water and supplies. We encourage students to call home any time we are in port.

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How about going ashore at night?

We do go ashore at night on occasion. We arrange a family style West Indian dinner cooked by our dear friend, Cynthia Harris, on Jost Van Dyke, and at Marina Cay and Leverick Bay we enjoy music, dancing and movies.

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What do we learn and can I get school credit?

All of our Trek programs offer basic marine science and ecology, scuba certification and sail training. The educational opportunities are limitless; all you have to do is take advantage of them. Yes, you can receive credit! In addition to community service credit, marine/environmental science and physical education credit can be arranged beforehand. Please contact SeaTrek’s Director of Marine Science, Angie Cowan so you can work together to plan out your specific course work and the necessary paperwork.

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Are the voyages co-ed?

Yes they are. We are very careful to ensure that fraternizing does not take place.

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Can I contact other participants on my voyage?

You will receive a list of emails in the middle of May so that you can make contact with fellow participants. You can also meet them on the SeaTrek Facebook page.

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Can I send letters and postcards?

Yes, parents in particular love to receive mail from you. You do have to use BVI postage and the staff will show you where to get the postage that you need. However, keep in mind that international mail services can sometimes be unpredictable and delayed.

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How do we stay in touch?

SeaTrek works very hard to stay connected via email, phone and social media. Although limited and subject to slow/intermittent service, we can communicate with families via email and social media (primarily Facebook) as needed. Each boat is also equipped with cellular service for emergencies. Students can set up a private cellular number or international service plan with their cellular providers, but it is very expensive. The best options are to use wifi (when available at certain ports) or to use our paid calling cards at a discounted international rate. We are also in contact with our U.S. based office on a daily basis. They can be reached at 877-467-2454 for relaying messages.

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What is “NAUI”?

NAUI, the National Association of Underwater Instructors is an international dive training certification agency. NAUI is the oldest non-profit scuba certifying agency in the U.S. with a motto of “Dive Safety through Education.” While we are primarily a NAUI certifying organization, our dive instructors are trained as “crossover” instructors, allowing them to teach and certify students through both NAUI and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).

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What is a “referral”?

A referral is used when you complete your academic and confined water (pool) sessions for your scuba certification at home and your open water (ocean/lake) training dives with us. Your local dive shop can explain the details and do the paperwork. Just make sure to bring the signed referral form with you on your voyage. We are happy to accept all training agency referrals. Please tell us if you are planning on doing a referral with us ahead of time so we may plan accordingly.

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Do I need to buy dive gear to participate?

SeaTrek supplies you with the highest quality Sherwood scuba equipment. You need to supply your own personal snorkeling equipment, including a mask, fins and snorkel. We recommend that you contact the SeaTrek office for recommendations. You should also have a thin (3mm) or shorty wet suit to keep you warm during your dives. Your local dive shop can help you with this as well.

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What if I already own dive gear?

By all means bring it!

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Can I dive with asthma?

Unless you have exercise induced asthma or some acute, severe form of it, diving is usually just as safe for asthmatics as for anyone else. However, you will be required to provide a medical release from your doctor.

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What is a “zero tolerance” policy?

At SeaTrek zero tolerance means that absolutely no alcohol, illegal drugs, smoking or inappropriate sexual behavior is allowed during your voyage. SeaTrek reserves the right to dismiss anyone who goes against this policy or is considered detrimental to the program.

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Should I sign up now?

By all means, yes! With a limited number of berths available on each SeaTrek voyage, the spots fill quickly. We do have a waiting list but why take a chance? Feel free to call the office at any time to inquire about availability or go ahead and get started with the registration process here.

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Do you offer a friend or family discount?

Yes we do. If two or more family members attend during the summer or one of your friends attends, a $200 discount will apply.

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What if I want to do more than one voyage in a summer?

No problem. Make sure to sign up early to ensure your spot.

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Does SeaTrek offer financial assistance?

Yes, we do offer a payment plan, and we have a few scholarships available.

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Does the price of the voyage include airfare?

No.

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Does SeaTrek make my travel arrangements?

No, but we are here to assist you and approve itineraries. We require you to clear your travel itinerary and flight info with Capt. Monk BEFORE booking. We recommend that you call Dede Thea at ProTravel 800-466-4603 ext. 5657 or email her. ProTravel does an excellent job of arranging airfare at a discounted price or feel free to use your own travel agent. You should plan your arrival and departure as early as possible on your days of travel to account for any delays. More details about travel can be found on our Travel Information page.

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Do I need a passport?

Yes, since January 1, 2006 a valid passport has been required.

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What about traveling alone?

For many students, this is the first time you been away from home without friends or family. You can contact your airline and arrange to be met in the connecting city and escorted to your connecting flight. Since 9-11 most airlines require that anyone below the age of 15 use a service called “Unescorted Minor” and charge a fee of approx. $75. It is possible that there will be other SeaTrek students on your flight, especially if you are coming from or connecting in a major city. You will be given a “Crew” shirt to be worn on your day of arrival to help our staff recognize you at the airport. You should keep an eye out for fellow travelers.

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What are travel days?

Your travel days are the first and last days of your program. You should plan to arrive on the first day of your program and you will depart on the last day. For example, if your trip dates are June 16th to July 6th, you will fly to the program on June 16th and home on July 6th. If you experience any difficulties on your days of travel please call our office at 877- 467-2454 and inform our office staff. They will help get you going again.

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Will I be able to call home?

Yes, you will be asked to call home upon your arrival and several times throughout the voyage. When students board their vessel personal electronic devices will be collected and held by the captain. Students may check them out at designated ports of call, such as the Moorings (Day 7), Spanishtown (Day 10), Marina Cay (Day 13), Leverick Bay (Day 15), and Little Harbor (Day 18). Otherwise, they are kept locked away.

Keep in mind that your U.S. based cell phone will work, but no matter what your local carrier tells you, the phone system in the BVI’s is a monopoly controlled by the British Government. You will get charged $4 to $5 per minute in roaming fees. We have SeaTrek calling cards available for a discounted international rate. Our standard calling card is $10 and gives you 10 minutes of talk time on one of our boat phones.

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How much money should I bring?

We suggest approximately $50 to $100 per week for personal items, a coke, ice cream, souvenirs, etc. On our BVI voyages you are also required to bring $100 (traveler’s checks or cash) that will be deposited with the captain to be used in the unlikely event of an emergency. For the Explorer voyages, this amount increases to $200. This emergency money is returned on the last day of the voyage. There is also a departure tax at the airport/ferry dock of $20. If you would like our staff to keep track of your money, we can do that upon check in and serve as your “bank” throughout the voyage.

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What about customs and immigration?

You will go through customs and immigration upon arrival and departure from the BVI. You shouldn’t have any problems; just follow the directions of the customs and immigration officers. You will be met at the airport by a SeaTrek staff member who can help you deal with any issues.

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Thank you for contacting SeaTrek.