4. Whale Shark Weekend 3rd – 5th April
Event on 2013-04-03 17:30:00
This is an all-inclusive trip to Al-Lith, departing from KAUST on Wednesday evening at 5:30pm. The bus will return from Al-Lith on Friday evening arriving at KAUST at approximately 10pm.
ALL REGISTRATION COSTS ABOVE INCLUDE ALL MEALS, TRANSPORTATION, BOAT AND CREW FEES, DIVING / SNORKELING FEES, TANKS, WEIGHTS, and DIVING GEAR RENTAL.
We strongly recommend you have your own snorkeling gear, or at a minimum, your own mask.
Please select above your accommodation preference.
Note that you will have to agree to a complete list of terms and conditions before your registration can be finalized.
Full payment will be due four weeks prior to each trip.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is included?
- EVERYTHING EXCEPT SNORKELING GEAR. Transportation from the KAUST Visitor's Center to the resort in Al-Lith and back to KAUST. All meals are included, including dinner on Wednesday night upon arrival at the resort. All fees associated with the boat, the crew, and diving gear (including tanks, weight belts, and weights for divers) are covered. Your accommodation and use of the resort hot tub and swimming pool is included. If you need rental diving gear, this is included. Please advise of any gear required in your registration form so that we can ensure it's available for you. UNFORTUNATELY, WE CANNOT PROVIDE SNORKELING GEAR.
2. What will the daily schedule be?
- The boat will depart around 7am. The first couple of hours will be dedicated to searching for whale sharks in the areas where we frequently see them during this season. Around mid-morning, the boat will move to a dive / snorkel site determined by the weather and time. Typically, we would move to a second site for lunch and a second dive or snorkel. In the late afternoon, the boat will return to the whale shark area before heading back to the resort for the evening. Dinner will be served at the resort.
3. Where do I meet the bus?
– The bus will be departing from the KAUST Visitor's Center. You need to arrange your own transportation to the visitor's center located between the security gates at the main entrance at Gate 1. If this poses a major inconvenience for you, please let us know a few days in advance.
4. What do I need to bring with me?
– YOU MUST BRING YOUR IQAMA (or passport) and your KAUST ID. You should also bring a swimsuit, a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and toiletries. Every room has a private shower and toilet. There is usually soap but no shampoo. Mosquito repellent may be useful. Of course you should also bring your snorkeling and diving gear if you have it. There is wireless internet at the resort, but it is not always reliable. Your personal belonging will be safe in your room while we are on the boat. It is strongly advised that you label your belongings with permanent marker as many towels look alike. In the excitement of whale sharks, sometimes belongings get mixed up. If you have an underwater camera, don't forget it!Â
5. How are we going to help the whale shark research program?
Â - Knowing when there are sharks on our site is valuable information. Recording information about whether or not the sharks are tagged, gender of the sharks, and exact locations the sharks are encountered are all very useful to our project. In addition, photos can be used to identify individuals and we are always looking to build up our database. There will be researchers on the trip with you to record this information and tell you more about our projects.
6. What if we don't see whale sharks?
Â - We sincerely wish we could guarantee sharks, but we can't. Sorry. The trip also includes snorkeling/diving at some of the best sites in the Al-Lith area, the northern end of the renowned Farasan Banks. We cannot refund a trip because we don't see whale sharks.
7. What if the weather is bad?
Â - We also wish we could guarantee good weather (i.e., light winds and smooth seas), but we can't. We will do our best to cope with bad weather and still get the diving / snorkeling in, but you will have to accept our best judgement when considering theÂ safety and comfort of all guests. In extreme cases, a trip may be cancelled due to weather. This is a very rare occurrence. If a trip is fully cancelled by Dream Divers, they typically provide a refund for at least the boat, but we cannot give you a refund just because you did not like the weather.
8. Can I go if I can't swim?
Â - It's not advised, although seeing whale sharks does not require getting in the water. Sometimes the best view is from the top deck of the boat!
9. Can I rent snorkeling gear?
Â - No, unfortunately, this is no longer available! We STRONGLY advise you to invest in a good mask that fits your face well. If you can't see clearly, you won't have as good of an experience.
10. I wear glasses and don't have contacts, are corrective masks available for rental?
11. Can children come?
- Minors (under 18) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Coast Guard restrictions on boat capacities do not distinguish between adults and children, so there isn't a boat discount for kids. In cases where families share a room, there will be savings.
12. Do you provide seasickness medication?
- No. It is available from the pharmacy on campus (Discovery Square). If you know you get motion sickness, or are worried that you might, it is strongly advised that you consult the pharmacy and take the medication as directed.
13. Can I drive my own car?
- Yes, although this does not result in a discount. Navigating to Al-Lith through Jeddah can be tricky, but we can provide basic directions if needed.
Terms and Conditions:
ACCEPTANCE OF THE FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITIONS IS REQUIRED TO REGISTER:
By completing this registration process, you indicate your acceptance and agreement to the following terms and conditions:
1. You will pay the amount indicated above NO LATER THAN four weeks prior to your trip. Payment is to be made in person to Jesse Cochran or his delegate.
2. Failure to pay on time will result in your registration being cancelled and your spot offered to wait-listed registrants. Additionally, you may be denied participation in future trips.
3. You will comply with all instructions from the captain, the crew, and the research team. This is for your own safety and the safety of others.
4. For the well-being of the animals (and for the enjoyment of others), there are guidelines for interacting with marine life. Foremost, do not touch the sharks! This usually scares them away. Also, although whale sharks are harmless, they are large animals and move deceptively quickly through the water. Please keep your distance from the sharks. Getting whacked by a 1m high tail can really hurt.
5. These trips are Western-style trips in a mostly Western-style compound, and some participants are going to be wearing Western-style swimwear. If you find this objectionable, this may not be a good trip for you.
6. You are comfortable being on a boat and near water. Lifejackets will be provided for people who want them.If you cannot swim, you will wear a lifejacket AT ALL TIMES.
7. We STRONGLY advise you to bring your own snorkeling gear. We can no longer provide rental snorkeling gear.
8. We cannot guarantee that you will see whale sharks or that the weather will be good. We try our hardest to find whale sharks and we can't do anything about the weather. We cannot refund a trip because we don't see whale sharks. If a trip is fully cancelled by Dream Divers due to weather, they typically provide a refund for at least the boat, but we cannot give you a refund just because you did not like the weather.
9. Refund policy: A full refund will be issued only if another person can fill your spot. In most cases, we expect to have a waiting list that can fill your spot automatically. Cancellations within a week of a trip may result in a loss of your payment. We are not making any profit from these trips and have to pay for room bookings and boat charters whether you go or not.
10. Minors (under 18) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Coast Guard restrictions on boat capacities do not distinguish between adults and children, so there isn't a boat discount for kids. In cases where families share a room, there will be savings.
11. Photos you take of whale sharks are to be shared with the research team (a copy). They will never be used outside of research purposes without your written consent.
12. We are not the operator of the trip – we are only facilitating the booking. Dream Divers is the sole operator of the trip, and as such, any and all liabilities associated with the trip must be discussed with them.
Al Līth, Saudi Arabia