The second annual UCCSAC trip to Tenerife will take place in August 2015 during the second-last week of the summer holiday, from 24 August to 31 August. Last year’s trip was a massive success and I’m (Séamus) apparently a glutton for punishment, so there’s no reason not to do it again. Details (and photos of the 2014 trip, courtesy of Naomi, Daire, and Gary) below!
The plan is to fly from Cork to Tenerife on Monday 24 August 2015 and back on Monday 31 August. This will get everyone back to Cork with almost a full week to recover and prepare for the start of the new college year. While in Tenerife, we’ll do 10 dives over 5 days, with the possibility of doing additional night dives if people are motivated. We’ll be staying in self-catering apartments close to our dive centre and to the beach. The total cost of flights, accommodation, dives, and transfers should be €650—700.
Food isn’t included in this figure: it works out cheaper to go self-catering and feed yourself than to book full-board. There are cheap eating options in and around where we’re staying as well as supermarkets nearby and cooking facilities in the apartments.
Who can come
(Almost) anyone! New club members and veterans are equally welcome. As long as you’re a paid-up member of UCCSAC for 2015, you’re invited. You don’t have to be a certified diver yet, although you’ll need to be at least a Diver * (or equivalent) by the time we head out there next August. Plenty of people who went on the 2014 trip hadn’t finished their training when they booked their places, and some found that committing to Tenerife helped motivate them to keep pushing to complete it.
The diving is suitable for all levels of experience. We didn’t get to see anywhere near all of the dive sites on the island, so people coming for a second year should experience some new sites combined with return visits.
There are 30 places on the trip this year, the most that the dive centre can handle at one time. Last year there were fewer places and the trip was fully booked within about 10 days of the announcement, so this time I want to give as many people as possible a chance to experience the diving.
We’ll be diving with Aqua-Marina, a dive centre on Compostela Beach in Playa de las Américas. We dived with them in September 2014 and they were brilliant; they’re regarded by most as the best centre on the island and their TripAdvisor page speaks for itself. The centre is organised, their gear is high-quality and well maintained, and the staff are friendly, thorough, and safe.
For most, the highlight of the 2014 trip was diving with the enormous Atlantic rays off Las Galletas, but there were enough fish, octopuses, wrecks, caves and swim-throughs to keep everyone happy all week long. Tenerife is frequently visited by turtles, dolphins, and other large pelagics, although we didn’t see them on the last trip.
Aqua-Marina are offering a package of 10 dives for €300, including tank, weights and full equipment rental, which is a great discount. If you bring some or all of your own equipment, there’s a further discount, although there’s no need to bring anything apart from yourself.
We’ll be flying Ryanair both ways, leaving Cork at 13.25 on 24 August and returning at 21.55 on 31 August. Return flights on our dates are currently €240 without a check-in bag, or €310 with a 15 kg baggage allowance. Depending on the size of the group, this price might decrease slightly, but I can’t promise that it will.
It’s up to you whether you want to bring a check-in bag. You can easily get by without one. If you’re bringing any of your own dive gear beyond a mask and computer, though, you’ll have difficulty fitting it into a cabin bag. I wrote a post talking about bringing dive gear on the 2014 trip, which you can read if you’re considering packing some dive kit.
In 2014, some people arranged among themselves to share a single check-in bag. I have no problem with this but won’t get involved in organising it: you’ll have to arrange it yourselves.
Accommodation and transfers
At time of writing, the plan is for us to stay at Compostela Beach Apartments, near the dive centre. These are studio self-catering apartments that each fit two people sharing. The cost of the week’s accommodation is €112, or €16 per person per night. (Cheaper than Baltimore!) This puts us near the heart of the action in Los Cristianos: a minute’s walk from the beach, five minutes from the dive centre, and ten minutes or less from more bars and restaurants than you can shake a stick at. If I can find cheaper in the same area then I will switch our booking but it’s unlikely
I’m booking a coach to get us between the airport and the hotel when we arrive and leave. The cost per person, between €10 and €15, will depend on how many people sign up (the more people the cheaper).
At time of writing, the approximate costs from above, totalled up, look like this.
You need to understand that this figure is provisional and I can’t promise that it won’t change. It may fluctuate slightly (by up to 5% either way) depending on what happens with numbers. The price of flights may go up between now and when I book them, which is why (see below) I’m asking for a deposit to cover a little extra. The cost of accommodation and transfers will go down if more people sign up.
You’ll also have to budget for food and drink: this depends on how classy you are (and how much you eat). Food and drink are both very, very cheap in Tenerife.
Your next move
I need to pay for flights as soon as possible so that we get the best deal. I will be taking deposits, starting immediately, to cover the cost of the flights. I’ll set up a payment schedule for the cost of accommodation and diving over the next few months. So, by Thursday 22 January 2015, I need you to bring the following to the P.E. Office:
- Either €250, if you don’t want a check-in bag, or €320, if you do (cash or cheque made out to ‘UCC Subaqua Club’); and
- A photocopy of the ID page of your passport.
You can bring your passport to the P.E. Office and get a photocopy of it made. If we manage to get flights for less than €250/320, I’ll use any saving to offset the cost of accommodation and transfers.
Once your deposit is in, I’ll put you on the Tenerife 2015 mailing list and keep you updated. I haven’t worked out a precise schedule for paying the rest of the money, but you should expect to be paying for accommodation around the end of semester 2 in April, and for dives at the beginning of August.