SCUBA diving & snorkeling are key features of this course that provide incredible opportunities for tropical marine research. There is no prior SCUBA diving or snorkeling experience required. All diving & snorkeling is beginner level and there is ample review of skills & safety by highly qualified EcoFS staff. Students must be comfortable in ocean water for up to 1 hour at a time and be proficient swimmers. Students choose whether to do a SCUBA & snorkel option or a Snorkel-only option (the Snorkel-only option is $400 less). The two options are identical in course content and experience and both are incredible at Xpu-Ha. The snorkel option allows students who are unable to get certified or have physical concerns regarding SCUBA to participate in the course.
The Caribbean EcoFS course is an excellent opportunity to gain experience with SCUBA or snorkeling. SCUBA dives & snorkels are conducted with short (5-10 minute) boat rides or easy walk-in entries at one of many spectacular locations of the Xpu-Ha coral reef. Dives are shallow (30- 60 feet), slow-paced, & typically without strong currents. For the boat rides we hire boats and captains from our course partner La Playa Xpu-Ha Beach Club. Each dive/snorkel has up to 8 students and 2 staff and with a scientific observation focus. Students can expect to complete 10-12 total class dives including a night dive, plus up to 10-12 optional, independent research dives (conditions permitting). Student divers holding an Advanced certification or higher will have opportunities for deeper dives.
The required personal snorkel equipment for all students is mask, snorkel & fins. All students are provided an underwater writing slate with ID cards, underwater camera, light, & safety signal. The included equipment rental for the SCUBA option is for Scubapro buoyancy control device (BCD), Scubapro regulator with computer & compass, tank & weights/belt (students are welcome to bring their own gear, however there is no discount).
SCUBA Certification Info
Students choosing the SCUBA/snorkel option for the course must have a valid, current "Open Water" or "Basic" SCUBA diver certification by the time the class begins. If you are not certified, do not worry as it is an easy & straightforward process conducted by many different training organizations, typically through a local dive shop or university. There are 3 components to an Open Water or Basic SCUBA certification to complete; classroom, pool (confined water) & open water. It is possible do the "classroom" component or "Elearning" online. Here are links to websites of the 3 most common & respected SCUBA training organizations: PADI, NAUI, SSI. They list locations of SCUBA training and also offer on-line classroom components.
EcoFS Open Water SCUBA Certification Option!!!
Often students find it difficult (or just unfavorable) to complete the Open Water component of SCUBA certification near their home. A great option to finish certification is to join EcoFS in Xpu-Ha, Mexico prior to the start of the course and train in the warm, clear Caribbean water. Students must complete an Elearning component before arrival which consists of 12-16 hours of independent study (EcoFS sends this to you). Then they travel to Xpu-Ha and complete the Confined Water & Open Water components with SCUBA instructor (NAUI) extraordinaire and EcoFS staff, Ray Lowenstein. This excellent training with fellow students, occurs right on the beach in Xpu-Ha at our course location and is a great way to start the course experience. EcoFS arranges the training, camping accommodation & airport shuttle to Xpu-Ha for students arriving early to complete their certification.
Total Cost: 500
Includes: Elearning component, Confined & Open Water training, materials, equipment rental, 4 ocean dives, accommodation in tents, snacks, purified water, and airport shuttle from Cancun.
Not included: meals. Students can purchase meals from La Playa Xpu-Ha Beach Club, or other nearby restaurants.
May 19-21 for 1st course
June 12-14 for 2nd course
students must schedule airport arrival by 5 pm on the day before the start date! (May 18 or June 11)