faq page (internet is not provided, see below)
HOW COLD IS THE WATER? It averages around 55 degree’s.
HOW MANY DIVES ARE NEEDED TO GO ON A TRIP? All diving tours are "intermediate" and require atleast an advanced open water certification. Proof of your “C-card” or countries equivalent is absolutely requested at the lodge or you will not be able to dive. You also need to be physically and medically fit to do these coldwater dives. Guests will also need to sign several waivers before they are allowed in the water.
NON DIVERS WELCOME? Yes! If you don't know how to dive and would like to snorkel with the sharks your welcome to join the group. However you will be sitting on the boat during dive time, after shark interactions. And we do ask that you are healthy and active enough to swim/snorkel, as well as climb up and down the dive ladder to access the water without issue.
WHAT GEAR IS PROVIDED? Tanks and weights.
DO YOU HAVE NITROX OR TRIMIX? No.
WHAT KIND OF TANKS DO YOU HAVE? Aluminum 80's.
HOW MUCH TIME IS SPENT WITH THE SHARKS ON A SHARK TRIP? The morning time is dedicated to shark interactions. Weather will ultimately be the deciding factor on how long we are able to keep interacting with them each day. Wind plays a big factor in the success of each day’s shark snorkeling. If time allows, diving follows in the early afternoon.
DO YOU PROVIDE A SNORKEL GUIDE WITH THE SHARKS? No. The captain is also the shark wrangler and is talking to you from above. He directs the sharks and keeps snorkelers informed to the location of each shark. The sharks are shy by nature and spook easily if not listening to the shark wranglers directions.
HOW LONG DO SHARK ENCOUNTERS LAST? Sharks are easy to spot at the surface, but tricky to bring to the boat and even tricker when snorkelers are in the water. Its taken years to develop tactics on how to bring sharks in and how to make the interactions last. Sometimes the sharks may just pass by giving only a few photographic opportunities. Sometimes it can last up to 15 mins. But do not expect to be surrounded by sharks all day long. There are many factors outside of the sharks that can ruin interections with them. This includes guests not following the shark wranglers directions.
IS IT EASY TO FILM/PHOTOGRAPH SALMON SHARKS? Short answer is no and can be frustrating at times. Although you will see many sharks on the surface when conditions are good, expect alot of time to find the right "player" to interact with. Everyone always thinks that its easy to jump in and have a shark approach. But Salmon Sharks are shy by nature and you may get frustrated getting a shot immediately. The biggest advice that can be given is already be ready for an encounter. Expect one or two days of great interactions during the week but be patient with these sharks and you'll have a great time and get great photo's!
IS IT EASY TO FILM/PHOTOGRAPH SLEEPER SHARK? Although we've had tremendous success, we are still learning a great deal about these sharks. We've had incredible encounters with nearly every group that is willing to try, but there is much pre-planning and preperation involved. So patience is also needed.
DO YOU PROVIDE INSTRUCTION ON THE SHARKS BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER? Yes. We will have a safety orientation at the lodge the first night covering what to do, how to approach and body language of the sharks.
DO YOU GUARANTEE SHARK OR ANIMAL SIGHTING? No. Remember that these animals are free to roam the open ocean or land. They are not caged and thus not released by us at specific times during the day to ensure sightings. So please keep in mind that interactions are highly likely during the week, but not guaranteed. Its taken us years of development to find out peak migration periods.
DO YOU PROVIDE A DIVE GUIDE WHEN DIVING? No. You will receive a briefing from the captain on the dive boat and use the “buddy system” for all dives. His job is to keep an eye on all divers from the boat deck, answer questions and help with divers entering and exciting the boat.
CAN YOU PROVIDE A GUIDE WHILE DIVING? Dive guides can be provided only with advance notice before your trip. There is an extra cost for this. Fee’s vary so check with us for details. If you have your own instructor ask him or her to contact us for special offers.
WHAT IF I DONT SPEAK ENGLISH? All instruction, directions and interactions are conducted in English. Guests must understand English to ensure your safety. You or your group must bring an interpreter if you don't understand English or you will not be permited to pertake in any activities.
CAN I RENT GEAR AND GET DRY SUIT CERTIFIED? Yes. We work with a dive shop in Anchorage that offers trips that you can take ahead of time to rent gear and get certified before coming on our big dive adventure.
DO YOU KNOW WHERE I CAN RENT A CAMERA? Yes. There are many websites that rent gear for relatively low cost for a week trip. You can find cameras, telephoto lens and underwater housing's. Search camera rentals to see a plethora of websites that offer loads of gear to fit first timer photographers to seasoned professionals. I can't stress enough the cost vs what you can capture with a telephoto lens on a once in a life time trip.
HOW CAN I PAY IF I’M INTERNATIONAL? Bank transfer or credit card. There is a fee for this.
ARE THE INSECTS BAD? Yes and No. The lodge is located directly on the beach so there is always a slight breeze knocking the insects down, so insects are not an issue. However, on evening skiff rides when we go into coves where wind is blocked, insects can be harsh at times. We recommend a small bottle of insect repellant AND a “head net” to be comfortable.
WHEN TIME DO THE NORTHERN LIGHTS SHOW UP? When the sun sets on a cloudless night but is not guaranteed. Please remember that this phenomenon is space weather and like all weather is hard to predict. Spring and Fall are the best times to catch a view of the Northern Lights. May 1st, the sun will set at 10pm and May 31st the sun sets at 11pm. August 1st, the sun will set at 11pm and August 31st the sun sets at 10pm. Earth weather plays a huge factor as well and clouds can spoil your success to capture a solar storm erupting into a beautiful and colorful display. But we are far enough north to be able to offer this to our guests. So if you’re an avid photographer or just a sky watcher, brave the cold night and set your clocks to wake up and see earth's greatest natural spectacle.
WILL I NEED TO BRING WARM CLOTHING? Yes, always be prepared we have been known to get four seasons in one day.
HOW FAR ARE THE SHARKS FROM THE LODGE? That is the million-dollar question. We keep this a secret do to the thriving shark fishing that continues in our area. But we do have to travel further out into Prince William Sound during the day to meet them in deep water.
WHERE IS THE LODGE? The lodge is 35 miles, south of Valdez, AK in a very remote part of Prince William Sound.
HOW LONG IS THE WATER TAXI FROM VALDEZ TO THE LODGE? About 2 hours on average.
DO YOU OFFER LUNCH ON THE FIRST DAY WHILE TRAVELING TO THE LODGE? No. You will want to pick something up or eat ahead of meeting at 12pm to start your adventure. We may stop to see wildlife on the way to the lodge and take longer to get there. When we arrive, you’ll be checked into your room and your first meal will be dinner, served at 6:30pm.
DO YOU OFFER GUEST LAUNDRY SERVICE? Yes. There is a fee for this service.
DOES THE LODGE HAVE A BAR? No. But you are welcome to bring alcohol from town to the lodge.
CAN I BRING ALCOHOL ON THE BOAT DURING DIVE DAYS? No. Alcohol is probably the best sea-sickness inducer and we would recommend that you severely reduce your alcohol intake the night before your excursion to avoid any disappointing and uncomfortable condition on the boat.
WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID SEA-SICKNESS? Sea sick tablets can be purchased ahead of time or at the pharmacy in Valdez.
IS THERE INTERNET SERVICE? No, the lodge does not provide internet service. But there is a cell booster for guests to make phone calls or make their phone a "hotspot" for internet. International guests that want internet will need to but a $50 smart cell phone from Radio Shack in Valdez and make it a "hotspot". Data plans can be purchased at Radio Shack as well. We recommend sorting this out ahead of time if you will require interent service while traveling to/from or staying at the lodge.
WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK AT THE LODGE? Depending on your carrier, you may get signal. We have repeaters at the lodge that carry Verizon and AT&T and some smaller carriers. You can use the repeater to make calls or make your phone a hotspot to get online. If you need to make a call and don’t have a phone that works, the lodge has one that your welcome to use for emergency calls.
DO YOU CATER FOR VEGETARIANS OR VEGANS? Yes, let us know what your dietary requirements ahead of your trip so we can plan to cater to you. But please understand that we are limited to what we are able to find in Valdez, AK.
IS THERE 24 HOUR ELECTRICITY? Yes. Each room also has A/C power. (please no hair dryers allowed)
ARE THERE SHOWERS AND INDOOR BATHROOMS? Yes. We have community showers and bathrooms located at the bunkhouse.
ARE CHILDREN ALLOWED? We will determine on a case by case basis for children under the age of 18. They will need to be qualified/certified divers and/or strong swimmers for snorkeling adventures and ALWAYS accompanied by one parent or guardian at all times. Parents and/or legal guardians will need to sign a seperate release for each under age child.
DO YOU REQUIRE DIVE INSURANCE? Yes. We recommend - DAN DIVE INSURANCE
SHOULD WE TIP? Tips are not included in the price of any trip. If the crew takes care of you a tip is welcome. Remember that tips are shared among all crew members. Gratuities are totally discretionary, however, here are some common practices:
- Guides and the Cook - tip at the end of the week. Common tips are 10-15% of the cost of your trip.
- Housekeeping and lodging staff - tip at the end of the week. Common tips are 2-5% of the cost of your trip.
- Tips do not dictate the level of our service. We are professionals and promise excellent service no matter the size of a tip if any.