This special Lionfish Research Trip is part of REEF’s ongoing effort to monitor the establishment and consequences of invasive lionfish on native fish populations and reef ecosystems. The trip includes a unique research itinerary aboard the Turks and Caicos Explorer II to visit remote areas of the Bahamas including Mayaguana, Plana Cays, Crooked Island, Salina Point, and Castle Island. Trip participants will also have the chance to be trained in lionfish collection, handling and dissection of specimens to document prey.
Trip Type: Invasive Lionfish Research - click here to learn more!
Pricing: Lower Deck Stateroom: $2,495 per person; Main Deck Stateroom: $2,695 per person; VIP Stateroom: $2,895 per person. All rates based on double occupancy.
Accommodations: The Turks and Caicos Explorer II sleeps 20 passengers. The boat has 3 Lower Deck Staterooms with two twin beds, 5 Main Deck Staterooms with queen or twin beds, and 2 VIP/Boat Deck Staterooms with queen beds. All Staterooms are air-conditioned with private bathrooms and a wardrobe.
Diving: The dives on this trip will be part of a special research itinerary to be conducted in the Southern Bahamas, around Mayaguana, Plana Cays, Crooked Island, Salina Point and Castle Island. The Turks and Caicos Explorer II offers up to 5 dives a day for 5.5 days. Average water temperature during the time of the trip is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. All diving is done directly from the dive platform of the mothership, which has two in-water ladders for easy access to and from the water.
Price Includes: The trip package includes 7 nights of double occupancy accommodation, 5 full days of diving plus one half day of diving, three daily meals and snacks (except Friday night dinner), all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tanks, weights, and weight belts.
REEF Program Fee: A REEF Program Fee of $300 per diver will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leader, seminar and REEF survey materials.
Additional Fees: The following costs are not included in the price paid to REEF - Port tax and fuel surcharge to be determined (subject to change until 30 days prior to the trip departure) all flights, transfers to and from the boat dock, dinner ashore in Providenciales on Friday night, optional Nitrox, optional rental equipment, and optional souvenir purchases onboard. Gratuities for the crew are not included in the cost of the charter and are at each 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 can be viewed here.
About the Trip Leaders: Lad Akins, REEF’s Director of Special Projects, is renowned as the leading expert on invasive species, specifically lionfish. He served as the Founding Executive Director of REEF and led the organization in that capacity for 16 years, helping to design and develop REEF’s widely recognized marine conservation programs. In 2005, he stepped down to focus his efforts solely on the lionfish invasion.
Peter A. Hughes is the Founder of the DivEncounters Alliance, a group of independent live-aboard dive operators, and a member of REEF’s Board of Directors. Peter is one of the diving world’s foremost live-aboard operators, having spent more than forty years in the diving industry. Peter received the DEMA Reaching Out Award for helping to evolve the liveaboard diving industry and subsequently joined the DEMA Hall of Fame in 2011.
How to Sign Up: To reserve your space or find out more, e-mail us at trips@REEF.org, or call us at 305-588-5869. A $500 deposit will be collected at the time of booking. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules.
How to Get There: While the dive locations will be in the Bahamas, the port for the Turks & Caicos Explorer II is located in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. Participants should book round-trip flights to Providenciales International Airport (PLS), arriving on Saturday, June 26, and departing on the following Saturday, June 2. Participants are responsible for booking their own airfare. REEF is not able to book air travel for participants.
Transfers: Ground transfers to and from the boat will be arranged in advance. The cost of these transfers will be paid directly to the driver onsite, and the cost will be determined before the trip. The vessel is available for boarding after 3pm on May 26, and participants will disembark the boat the following Saturday at 9am.