REEF Expedition: Sleep Under the Sea at FIU Aquarius Reef Base

May 14-19, 2017

Expedition Leaders: Ellie Splain, REEF Education Program Manager 

Lad Akins, REEF Director of Special Projects

Sold Out - Waitlist Available.

***Thank you for your interest. There are not any expeditions to FIU Aquarius Reef Base scheduled at this time. Please check out our upcoming Field Survey Trips here.

We are excited to share with you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a special REEF Expedition this spring. In partnershp with Florida International Univeristy (FIU), we have arranged for a small team of REEF members to experience another level of ocean exploration. Our team will venture beneath the waves and spend a night in the FIU Aquarius Reef Base, the world’s only undersea research laboratory. Deployed 60 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Aquarius Reef Base is the world’s only undersea research station and is used to study the ocean, test and develop undersea technology, and train astronauts. Less than 1,500 people have ever ventured inside Reef Aquarius Base, and even fewer have spent the night in the underwater habitat.

Space is limited, so if you are interested in joining this expedition, please follow the pre-registration instructions below. *All space is full at this time, but please submit an application to join the waiting list by following the directions below. 

Expedition Details

Date: Sunday, May 14 – Friday, May 19, 2017 (Full schedule below) 

Expedition Cost: $4,500 per person 

Price Includes: 4 nights of private accommodation at Marriot Key Largo Bay Resort in Key Largo, FL, daily breakfast at the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort on May 15, 16, 17 and 19, overnight in Aquarius Undersea Habitat on May 17 (includes shared accommodations, lunch and dinner on May 17, and breakfast on May 18), two days of 2-tank dive trips with Quiescence Diving Services, REEF Program Fee to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar and survey materials. 

Not Included: Transportation to and from Key Largo, Florida, and local transportation in Key Largo. Additional meals not mentioned above. Gratuities are not included and are at the individual’s discretion. Insurance is not included, however REEF strongly recommends that each participant purchase adequate dive travel insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. More information about dive travel insurance is available here.

About REEF Expeditions: REEF is excited to continue expanding our Field Survey Trips Program to a variety of unique destinations. As we begin to travel to new locations, please be aware that REEF Expeditions are different and separate from REEF Field Survey Trips. REEF Expeditions may be exploratory or research-focused, and may adhere to a different schedule than a typical REEF Field Survey Trip. These Expeditions are available to a limited subset of REEF members. Accommodations and amenities may vary depending on the location’s infrastructure and capabilities. The most important things to bring with you on a REEF Expedition are patience and flexibility!

Expedition Considerations: The opportunity to stay in the Aquarius Undersea Habitat is a truly unique experience. You will join a small and impressive group of individuals who have lived underwater, including both scientists and astronauts. The portholes allow for amazing fish sightings throughout the experience, including particularly unique sightings at night. Aquarius Reef Base is a small research station, 14 meters long by 3 meters in diameter (46 ft. x 10 ft.), with tight quarters and bunk bed-style sleeping arrangements. The habitat houses a maximum of 6 individuals (four participants, one REEF Expedition Leader, and one Aquarius technician). Participants must be confident divers in good health, and must submit a medical form to participate. Please note that this Expedition does not include a saturation dive. The pressure inside Aquarius will be adjusted during the overnight stay, and participants will not be allowed to venture outside of the Habitat until departure from the Habitat.

Expedition Leaders: Lad Akins, REEF Director of Special Projects and Ellie Splain, REEF Education Program Manager 


Sunday, May 14: Travel to Key Largo Florida, check in at Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort (103800 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037). Check in time is 4pm.

Monday, May 15: Morning 2-tank boat dive with Quiescence Diving Services on a private, 6 person dive trip. Afternoon program with REEF staff, overnigh at Marriot Key Largo Bay Resort

Tuesday, May 16: Morning 2-tank boat dive with Quiescence Diving Services on a private, 6 person dive trip; Afternoon briefing with Aquarius Reef Base staff, overnight at Marriot Key Largo Bay Resort

Wednesday, May 17: Drive to Islamorada via car and then take a short boat ride offshore to Aquarius Underwater Habitat (transportation to Islamorada not included but the group leaders can assist with coordinating rides to Islamorada); 2 full dives around the underwater habitat, enter habitat on third dive for overnight stay, spend the night in Aquarius Reef Base, evening lecture, dinner and snacks included.

Thursday, May 18: Breakfast inside habitat, emerge from Aquarius and head to shore; afternoon debrief and celebratory dinner, overnight at Marriot Key Largo Bay Resort

Friday, May 19: Check out of Marriot Key Largo Bay Resort by 11am. 

Steps for Pre-Registration

1. Go to to fill out the REEF Expedition Interest Form. Important note -- Because space on REEF Expeditions is very limited, please complete this form and submit it to us to indicate your interest. Submitting the REEF Expedition Interest Form does not automatically register you for a REEF Expedition. Your space is not confirmed until you have received confirmation from REEF. Final confirmation is contingent on submission of the proper payment.

2. After you have submitted your form, a REEF staff member will contact you to follow up on availability and payment instructions.

Deposit and Refund Policy: A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is due within 24 hours of confirmation of availability from REEF. Remaining payment balance and REEF Program Fee will be due by March 14, 2017. No refunds will be available for deposits or final payments. 

Questions? Contact