FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DEPOSITS, PAYMENTS AND
SIGNING UP QUESTIONS
DOUBLE OCCUPANCY / SINGLE
TRIP AND DIVE INSURANCE
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
TRIP LEADER QUESTIONS
NEWSLETTERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Am I guaranteed to see the
animals we are looking for?
No, but most
encounters are virtually guaranteed. Bear in mind that we
are working with wild animals that can come and go from an
area as they please. Every effort is made to maximize your
chances of seeing and interacting with a specific species
but there is always the chance that we may strike out.
Do I need to be a certified
diver to come on the ocean trips?
It depends on the expedition. Some trips like
Isla Mujeres Whale Shark
Adventure are free-diving (snorkeling) trips. In other words,
we swim with the sharks or whales at the surface just using a mask and
snorkel. Being comfortable in the water is important even if
we are not scuba diving.
For the diving
expeditions, do I need to be very experienced?
Generally our trips are suitable for all
levels of divers but there are a few that would be a
challenge for new divers. There is an 'Experience Level'
listed along with the other important info under the first
image on each trip page. If you're still not sure, feel free to
email us about any particular trip and we'll help you decide
if its a good trip for your experience level.
Is diving equipment included
not included in the price for the trip (except tanks and
weights) but many of
the operators that we use have scuba gear for rent. If you
require dive equipment, please let us know well ahead of time and
we will help to arrange it.
Is shark diving dangerous?
always an element of risk when you spend time in the open
ocean. This risk increases when you dive with sharks and
when you don scuba equipment or when when you free dive.
However, the risks are smaller than you may think. Contrary
to popular belief, most sharks are actually very shy. Some
encounters that we organize are natural i.e. we do not use
any food to attract the sharks. Others involve chumming
to attract the sharks. Without using fish it would be virtually
impossible to get close to many species. When you add food
to the equation, the sharks become more active so the risks
are slightly higher.
You may find
this guide to our shark diving code of conduct quite
How to avoid a shark
Can children come on the
Yes, but they must be qualified divers (where necessary) and
strong swimmers if they are joining an ocean based trip. Also, minors must ALWAYS be accompanied by one
parent or a guardian on the trip and their parent/guardian
must accompany them in the water at all times.
Is there a child rate?
No. all guests
are charged at the same rate.
DEPOSITS, BALANCES AND
How do I sign up?
to tell us that you would like to sign up for a particular
trip. You will then receive two web-links. One is a simple reservation form.
The other is a liability waiver for that trip. We will also
send you a trip
deposit request. Once we receive the completed form and a
deposit check (or wire transfer) your spot will be
How much is the deposit and
when is the balance due?
The deposit is generally between a quarter
and a third of the trip price. Most BFE trips are in the
$3000 to $4000
range, so the deposit on those is $800 to $1000. The balance is due 90
days before the start date of the expedition.
If I change my mind or can't
go, do I get my deposit back?
The deposit is non-refundable and
non-transferable. However, if
we manage to fill the trip after you cancel, we will put
your deposit towards any of our trips that you sign up for
during the following 12 months. If you cancel again during
that time, you will lose your deposit completely.
Please understand that we are not trying to
make extra money or cheat our guests. We are simply trying
to discourage people from jumping from trip to trip because
it is quite difficult for us to refill cancelled spots
shortly before a trip.
When is the Balance Due
and is it Refundable?
The balance must be paid 90 days before the
trip. It is non-refundable. If you cancel last minute, we
will try to fill your spot again. If we manage to fill the
trip, we will credit the money towards any other trip we run
within one year of the original trip date.
What forms of payment do
We prefer checks from North American guests
but you are also welcome to pay by Paypal, wire/bank transfer
or credit card. Some payment options incur a fee (see
PAYPAL: If you wish to pay through Paypal we
will send you a Paypal money request that includes and extra
4% to cover the fees that Paypal charges us.
CREDIT CARD: If you wish to pay by credit
card, we will send you a Paypal money
request that you can pay directly with your credit card. You
do not need a Paypal account to use this method. The money
request will include a
4% charge to cover the credit card fees that we incur.
WIRE TRANSFER: If you wish to send a wire or
bank transfer, let us know and we will send you an invoice that includes our
bank transfer information. When sending the transfer please add an extra $30
to cover the fee that the bank charges us for receiving wire
CHEQUE: Please make cheques payable to Big
Fish Expeditions Inc.
Do I need to come with
someone else because the price says 'double occupancy'?
solo divers! Most
liveaboard expedition ships have two bunks in each room. So, if you sign up as a solo diver, you will be
assigned a cabin with another diver of the same gender.
Can I get a private cabin on
a liveaboard dive boat?
Sure! But, if
you want a private cabin, you will have to pay for two spots.
On land based trips, will I
get a private room?
To keep costs
down on land based trips, if you are coming alone you can
elect to share a room with another diver or you can usually pay a
surcharge for a private room.
Are meals included in the
It depends on
the trip. All meals are included on liveaboard diving trips.
On land based trips breakfast is usually included but lunch
and dinner may or may not be. There is a section on each
trip page that states exactly what is included.
Do you cater to vegetarians?
Yes. There is generally a vegetarian option
at all offered meals. However, some destinations don't quite
understand the concept very well so its a good idea for
vegetarians to bring a few protein bars in case there is not
a particularly good selection of veggie food available.
What if I have food
Generally, there is a choice of food at meal
times. If you are allergic to many different foods or if you
have life threatening allergies, you may wish to arrange
your own meals. If you carry an epi-pen, please let the trip
leader know that you have one and where you keep it!
TRIP AND DIVE INSURANCE
Do I require diving
diving trips you do. For snorkeling trips you don't.
very affordable diving insurance that covers evacuation,
recompression chamber fees and all other medical expenses:
Do I need travel insurance?
completely up to you but we recommend it. If you miss the
departure of the liveaboard because your flight is delayed
or if you can't go because of a family or work emergency,
you'll be glad you had insurance.
has their own insurance carriers. For North Americans,
insurance can be arranged through:
http://diversalertnetwork.com, or sometimes through your
flight booking agent.
How do I put in a claim?
insurance company will request an invoice for the trip from
you and some kind of supporting documentation to prove why
you couldn't go (such as a letter from your doctor or from
the airline). We can provide them with a copy of your paid
invoice if they request it.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY:
When do I need to fly in
and fly home?
listed day of the trip is always the arrival day. It is not
the first day of activity. So, on a land based trip, you can
arrive that day. On a liveaboard trip, we recommend that you
arrive a day early and get a hotel, just in case your flight
The last day
of the trip is your fly out day.
On some trips,
we may spend the last day transporting you back to a town
near the airport. The estimated drop-off time will be listed
in the PDF. Please read the trip PDF to see what is the
earliest time you can fly out.
Do you supply info on how
to get to the boat/hotel?
Yes, when you
first inquire about a trip we will send you a PDF with all
of the logistical information that you need to help you plan
Are flights included?
NOT included in any of our trips unless specifically listed.
Are airport transfers
Some trips include airport transfers.
If they do, there will generally be a group shuttle leaving the
airport (or a hotel near the airport) at a prearranged time
on the day of arrival.
What if I can't get to the
transfer shuttle because my flight is later or its delayed?
If you miss
the shuttle you are responsible for making your own way to
the boat or hotel. The logistics doc usually has directions
to the boat or the name of the hotel to give to the taxi
What happens if I miss the
scheduled departure of the liveaboard dive boat?
It will depend
on the trip. If there is some leeway, we will hold the
departure in the hope that you can get to the boat. If the
itinerary dictates that we leave on schedule or if you are
delayed longer than we can wait for, then unfortunately you
will forfeit the trip.
suggest that on liveaboard trips, you purchase trip
insurance and arrive a day early and stay overnight at a
Who will be leading the trip?
Big Animal Photographer Andy Murch personally leads most Big
Fish expeditions. Some of our trips may be led by our other
trip leaders. You can see who is leading the trip in the
info section below the first image on each trip page. You
can also read about our different trip leaders here:
Will the trip leader change
So far, this
has never happened but we reserve the right to substitute
one trip leader for another if there is a scheduling issue
or in case of illness or other unforeseen event.
NEWSLETTERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES:
Why haven't I received a
We don't send
out many newsletters - usually just one or two a year.
Partly, this is because we are busy running trips and partly
because we don't want to harass our guests.
Where can I find out about
new Big Fish Expeditions trips and Specials?
everyday on our Facebook page and other social media
platforms. Sometimes its just a cool image or two from a
recent trip or sometimes announcements about exciting new
trips that we have added. Please follow us our
Big Fish Expeditions
Facebook Page if you would like up to the minute