If you have queries about anything please do not hesitate to contact us but hopefully you will find the answer below.
1) What is the water temperature?
This changes depending on the season.
January - March 16-20ºC/60-68ºF
April - May 18-22ºC/63-72ºF
June - July 22-25ºC/72-77ºF
August - October 25-28ºC/77-84ºF
November - December 20-25ºC/61-77ºF
What you wear in the water will depend upon your own personal comfort levels, in the summer you may be fine to go without a wetsuit. We recommend a 3-5mm wetsuit depending on the time of year, in the cooler months, hoods, gloves and booties are recommended.
2) What about the air temperature?
Generally in the Winter months you are looking at a warm 20-26ºC and in the Summer months it ranges from 28-38ºC. It very rarely rains here so waterproofs are not normally necessary! In the summer you will need little other than shorts and t-shirt, in the winter we do recommend bringing warmer clothing, sweatshirt and pants to cover up in the evenings.
3) When can I see the whale sharks?
We are fortunate enough to have whale sharks around La Paz for much of the year. Current environmental regulations allow us to visit them between October 1st and April 30th. This is when we have the greatest density of sharks and more chances of seeing and snorkelling with them. They come here is greater concentrations during the winter months to feed on the plankton that accumulates in the bay close to La Paz.
4) What should I bring?
As little as possible! Space is limited on El Duque and we recommend soft bags rather than hard cases if possible. Clothes wise: swimsuits, one to wear and one for spare, t-shirts, shorts, warm sweater and trousers for the evening. Sunglasses, suncream, a hat, flip flops. Do not bring: lots of fancy clothes and high heel shoes! If you would like to do some hiking on the islands then bring a pair of trainers. We do have electricity so feel free to bring your electronics and chargers, a camera is definitely recommended. We suggest having a dry bag to keep these things secure. Don't plan on doing lots of work or relying on a good internet connection (you're on holiday - relax) as we do not have wifi at sea and Mexican roaming can be expensive. It is recommended to bring personal medication such as aspirin and decongestants as we cannot provide these items on board. Bring your dive gear; we have personal totes for everyone on deck - if you do need to rent gear then please let us know in advance as we don't carry much on the boat. Don't forget your C-Card, Dive Insurance and, of course, your sense of adventure.
5) What do I need to enter Mexico?
This will depend upon your country of residence but all visitors will need a passport and likely a visa. Please check the requirements for your country.
6) How do we get to La Paz?
La Paz is within easy reach of the rest of Mexico and the US which makes it an affordable and low hassle option. La Paz is serviced by numerous domestic and international flights daily and the airport is only 9km from the city centre. Although you can fly directly to La Paz international airport you may chose to take a flight to San Jose del Cabo, we can help groups to organise a shuttle to the boat or to your accomodation in La Paz. Cabo is about 2.5 hours from La Paz but the airport is larger. When you book your trip please let us know if you need travel assistance so that we can organize a shuttle transfer for you.
7) Do I need insurance?
We require all divers to have dive insurance, we recommend DAN but please bring proof of current policy with you. We would also recommend travel insurance as a way to protect your hard earned vacation. You never know what unforeseen circumstances may occur and no one can control the weather. We will not provide a refund in the event that you miss your trip for circumstances beyond our control, therefore we strongly recommend travel insurance that covers medical, accident, trip cancellation and trip interruption at the time of your reservation. This investment will protect you and your financial commitment in the event of unforeseen travel delays/airline cancellations, personal or family illness or injury etc which may not allow you to come on your trip.
8) What is your cancellation policy?
Multiday trips - in the event that you need to cancel your trip - if it is outside of 60 days from your arrival then you will receive a full refund minus an administration fee. If it is inside 60 days then your deposit becomes forfeited unless we are able to fill your space on the trip or rebook the dates.
Single day trips - these have a 30 day cancellation agreement. If you do need to cancel before this time then we will deliver a full refund minus any administration charges. If it is within 30 days then your deposit becomes forfeited.
In the unlikely event that we have to cancel your trip due to an error on our end we will refund or rebook your trip.
9) How do I pay?
Bank transfers or PayPal® are both accepted, please contact us to arrange payment. We require a 50% deposit at the time of booking in order to reserve your dates. The balance is due prior to departure and can be paid with cash (US or Mexican) or card (cards have a 3.5% service fee added to the transaction). You may also wish to leave a gratuity for your crew members - they work very hard to ensure that you have the best time possible, 15% of your trip price is recommended and cash is the easiest way to do this. In La Paz, US dollars and Mexican Pesos are accepted, we recommend having some money in local currency and carrying some cash with you as not all small shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
10) Can I learn to dive on the trip?
Norman and Cat are both PADI Instructors so can teach you numerous different courses such as Discover Scuba Diving (a trial dive), Open Water Diver and Advanced, etc. If you are taking a trip then we can organize to help you complete certification by doing your checkout dives. If this is something that you are interested in please let us know in advance so we can be sure to have all the equipment necessary. Daytrips tend to have less time to do this and learn to dive but if you have the boat chartered then it is definitely an option. If you don't know whether diving is for you or if you would just like to try it then we can organize a trial dive for you - this process of learning a little theory, doing some skills and having a dive with your instructor will take about half a day - a perfect option to experience diving for the first time during your trip.
11) What is the food like?
We offer a variety of food and can cater to special diets, but please let us know in advance. We like to provide good Mexican food but also love to fire up the BBQ. It is homestyle cooking, so it will be healthy and hearty and plenty to sustain the appetite built up by all your activities. It is served buffet style and eaten picnic style on deck or in the galley.
12) Can we party?!
Yes! We want you to enjoy your holiday to the upmost and are happy for you to bring your own alcoholic beverages on board to supplement the non alcoholic ones we offer. If you are diving remember that your first drink signals the end of your diving day, so whether it is a bloody mary at breakfast, margarita at lunch or wine in the evening, it does mean the end of your diving for that day. We do allow smoking on board but only in designated areas above deck, there is no smoking allowed inside the vessel.
13) Are you environmentally friendly?
We like to think of ourselves as guardians of the sea and are passionate about protecting our planet and educating our guests. We aim to be ecologically minded in our practices and support local conservation groups here in Baja and the Sea of Cortez. We donate a percentage of our profits each year to MissionBlue to help support the projects taking place in the area. If you would like to bring a scientific group along or conduct a research trip then please contact us for special rates.