Let’s go to Tenerife, shall we? You can fly there from Cork and get a Stella and a full English on the seafront in Los Cristianos. Oh, and the water is clear, the mean sea temperature is 23°C in August, and there’s a chance of seeing turtles, dolphins, and angel sharks, as well as the usual suspects. If you’re all “shut up and take my money”, feel free to skip to the last section to find out how to proceed; otherwise, read on!
I’m (sdób) organizing a club diving trip to Tenerife from Sunday 31 August 2014 to Sunday 7 September 2014 (one week, including the days on which we fly). At the moment it looks like it’s going to cost €700 for flights, transfers, accommodation, and diving. Note that food isn’t included — we’re going self-catering for the week to help keep prices down; food and drink are both very cheap on the island.
We’re going to be flying Ryanair out of Cork Airport at 06.00 on 31 August 2014, arriving in Tenerife at around 10.30 in the morning. We’ll be leaving Tenerife (again Ryanair) at 11.05 on 7 September 2014, getting home for around 15.15. This effectively gives us five full days on the island. During that time we’ll do 10 dives (with the possibility of squeezing in some night dives on top if people are interested): most likely 2 dives a day, Monday to Friday.
Who can come (back to top)
I’m going to have to limit the number of places to 20 people; more than that and things will get very unwieldy for us. I’ll keep a list of reserves in case people pull out. Significantly more than 20 people have already expressed a strong interest, so please get your name onto the list as soon as you can (instructions on how to do so are at the end).
You will need to be a D*-certified diver or above by the time you leave Ireland. ‘Certified’ here means ‘physically in possession of a certification card’, so at the very latest you would want to be completing your training by the end of July to allow for time for CFT to post your card to you. Fortunately, there’s a lot of diving planned between now and then, so this won’t be a problem if you’re motivated.
If you are planning to come — and particularly if you are currently in training or a newly-certified diver — you should also try to do as much diving as possible during the spring and summer. Although Tenerife offers good diving to divers of all levels of experience, the more experienced you are, and the more comfortable you are in the water, the more enjoyable and rewarding your experience will be.
What to bring (back to top)
Yourself, your certification card and your logbook, and whatever else you normally bring on holiday. Tenerife is hot in August, but not insanely so: the temperature is 20–26°C.
If you have your own scuba gear, you should think about bringing it with you, but be aware that your gear will fit differently when you’re wearing a thin wetsuit so might be a little large for comfort. It’ll also take up a lot of your weight allowance.
Costs (back to top)
Here is how everything combines to come up with the price I quoted above:
This price is subject to change. The cost of accommodation and diving will go down if we have a large group, and the sooner we book the flights, the better.
I’m going to go into more detail about each of these items below, with the exception of transfers (by which I mean ‘the coach to the hotel’, for the record). If you are already 100% committed and the price looks OK to you, then feel free to skip to the bottom, where I’ll explain what happens next.
Flights (back to top)
The only flights between Cork and Tenerife are with Ryanair. Because they only run scheduled flights (i.e., no charters) we’re in a position where we can’t nail down a fixed price for the flights with a deposit. We need to pay for the flights as soon as possible. This means paying the full price of the flight up front, and optionally paying for a checked baggage. We need to do this very soon, before everybody else starts planning their holidays.
At the time of writing, a return flight from Cork to Tenerife costs €250, with a 15kg checked bag costing an extra €70. Whether or not you bring a bag is a decision you need to make for yourself. The ticket price allows you a 10kg carry-on bag, but if you are bringing some diving equipment you’ll need to check a bag in.
This price may change, and there’s nothing that the travel agents or I can do about it. It’s not worth panicking about, but I think everyone would agree that we want to get to Tenerife as cheaply as possible.
Accommodation (back to top)
We’re going to be staying at Aparthotel Neptuno, a 3-star apartment complex in Costa Adeje, about 20 minutes’ walk from the beach and half an hour from the fleshpots of Playa de las Américas. Accommodation at €60 per person for the week is based on 4 people sharing an apartment.
This isn’t a beach holiday, so I’ve done my best to cut costs (by about 75%!) by siting us away from the seafront. However, because it is a diving holiday, I’ve confirmed that the pool bar is open until midnight.
Diving (back to top)
The dive centres I’ve looked at all offer 10-dive packages for around €300. Discounts tend to be available for groups of 6 or more. We should be able to negotiate a healthy discount if we have 15–20 people coming, but I’m not going to quote a percentage now in case people try to hold me to it.
Depending on the centre, they may charge up to €6/dive for equipment rental. (Incidentally, this works out as €10 cheaper than checking a bag, if you are thinking of doing so purely in order to bring gear.) I will see whether it is possible to negotiate the rental cost down or eliminate it entirely. We can bring some club equipment, but we’ll likely all be diving at the same time so won’t have enough – but we will cross this bridge when we come to it.
Nitrox is available in most centres at a cost of around €3 per tank. I will make sure that we book somewhere that offers Nitrox fills.
What to do now(back to top)
Because the price of the flight is subject to change from here on out, and will most likely go up, rather than down, we need to get going as soon as possible. You need to pay a deposit of either €250 or €320, and submit a photocopy of the ID page from your passport, to the P.E. Office by 12.00 on Friday 14 February. I will be paying for flights that day. I have to decide on a cut-off point, and I’ve run this date past several people who are interested and they’ve agreed that it’s reasonable. This is a hard deadline. I will be in communication with the P.E. Office, but you should email me when you’ve paid to let me know.
If you pay €320 I’ll book a seat and a checked bag for you. If you pay €250 I’m going to book a seat only for you — no checked baggage. If you decide later on before September that you want to check in a bag, it’s going to cost you €80 rather than €70. It’s not that much more expensive, but it’s not necessarily a good idea. On an unrelated note, I have heard stories of two people deciding to share the cost of a single checked bag.
The reason that you need to provide a copy of your passport is that the flight must be booked in your name exactly as it appears there. Ryanair are notorious for their intransigence in this matter, and it will cost you €100 to change the name. The travel agent spent a good 5 minutes emphasizing the importance of this to me, and I am passing on her wisdom to you.
If you’re a student, then you’re probably short of cash. However, if you are a customer of our fine sponsors at Bank of Ireland and a third-level student, you can borrow up to €2000 on a student travel loan that is interest-free if you pay it back within 9 months. I am not a financial advisor; I am not your financial advisor; this is not financial advice. In other words, I’m not personally recommending that you go into debt to finance your holiday; I’m just letting you know that it’s a possibility.
Places are first-come, first-served. If you have to pull out between now and August, you will almost certainly lose the cost of your flight. (Ryanair, remember?) However, I’ll try to organize things so that we can pay a second deposit on the accommodation and diving and pay the full amount as late in the year as possible.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or something to discuss. As soon as I know how many people are coming, I will get moving on organizing the accommodation and diving and have firm prices. This should be done by the end of February and then we should all have something to look forward to through the spring and summer.