Life on board
Life on board is simple, regulated by the boat’s progression, the weather, the expedition schedule, downtime, and encounters with wildlife. Meals are eaten on board or on land during bivouacking and are prepared from the stock on board by the person in charge of provisions and the kitchen. They are shared at the table with the entire team. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will have a hot snack when you return from a dive or an exercise. Everyone participates daily in the dish-washing, meal preparation, and boat cleaning chores. Everyone has a bunk and storage units that make up their private space. Quilts and sleeping bags are available but sheets and sleeping bag liners must be brought by each trainee (see practical information).
Embarkation and disembarkation
Embarkation takes place on the afternoon of the first day and disembarkation on the morning of the last day.
Training program supervision
The training programs are the responsibility of the expedition leader who decides –together with the dive supervisor and the skipper– the daily schedule depending on the weather, the needs of the expedition, and personal preferences. Dives are supervised by one of the expedition members, an experienced instructor, who will ascertain the divers’ levels and introduce them to the organization and techniques specific to the environment.
Arrival and departure
Arrival: Plan to arrive no later than the day before embarkation.
Departure: Plan to leave the morning after arriving at the port. In order to secure the best prices and guarantee your seat on the appropriate flight, we recommend you book your plane tickets as soon as possible (online, through us, or through your travel agency).
What you’ll need
1 soft travel bag of approx. 80 L (backpack or duffel bag). Please note that suitcases are not permitted on board as they are too bulky and difficult to store.
Clothes (polar region)
## N.B.: You will not be able to wash clothes on board, even by hand.
- Plenty of undergarments
- 2 T-shirts for days when the weather is mild
- 2 pairs of pants, including 1 pair of hiking pants
- Warm clothing: 2 pairs of stockings, 2 thermals, 2 fleece jackets.
- 2 or 3 pairs of thick socks.
- 1 pair of hiking shoes (for land excursions)
- 1 pair of tall boots that can be worn with 2 pairs of thick socks (for the boat and disembarkations in the dinghy)
- 1 pair of lightweight socks or slippers for inside the boat
- 1 pair of ski gloves; if need be, a pair of fleece gloves
- 1 warm beanie; if need be, a balaclava
- 1 warm jacket and a windbreaker with a high collar (anorak, G-Loft, or similar)
1 warm jacket and a windbreaker with a high collar (anorak, G-Loft, or similar)
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- Sunscreen for your face and lips
- Any product for motion sickness (plane and boat)
- Personal medications
- 1 toiletry kit
- 1 bath towel (small size) and 1 washcloth (optional)
- 1 fitted sheet (cotton)
- 1 pillowcase 65 x 65 cm (25.5 x 25.5 in)
- 1 simple sleeping bag liner (to put inside the sleeping bag provided by UTP). You can bring your own sleeping bag if you wish.
All of the equipment is provided on board, except for the dry suit or wet suit, which you must bring. Those who wish to bring their own equipment (pressure reducers, jacket, corrective mask, flippers, etc.) are free to do so. A dry suit is essential to enjoy the polar dives. That’s why we prefer everyone to bring their own and to have tried it on beforehand. It can be made of Neoprene or fabric, but in any case, you must wear several layers of clothing underneath: stockings, thermal, and an undersuit, whose thickness will depend on the type of suit. It’s also imperative that the suit is equipped with waterproof gloves or mittens. If you do not have this type of gear, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help get you geared up.
- 1 headlamp (even during the stages with constant daylight, it’s always useful for inside the boat)
- Several pairs of ear plugs(pour les oreilles)
Optional: camera, video camera, binoculars, laptop, book, e-reader
Paperwork and health
Depending on the destination, find out from the embassy if you’ll need a visa. In any case, your passport must be valid for the entire duration of the trip.
UTP Explorer has a civil liability insurance policy covering the boat and its occupants. Each trainee is required to take out a civil liability and individual insurance policy covering all of the risks (including but not limited to accidents, search, repatriation and death) associated with the activities planned during the training program. A cancellation and baggage loss insurance policy is strongly recommended.
Diving and hiking require you to be in good physical condition. It is crucial that you be able to embark on and disembark from the boat on your own via the semi-rigid dinghy.
Required sailing skills
Only open sea training programs require that you have a minimum level knowledge and experience in sailing. For the other training programs, trainees are invited to join the crew for sailing maneuvers and watches, depending on your skills.
Required diving skills
Performing exploratory dives in polar regions requires a minimum level of knowledge and experience in diving. For everyone’s safety and the smooth operation of the training program, it is crucial that passengers participating in a diving training program possess the required knowledge and experience. If this is not the case, it is imperative you go through the proper training before departing (we can provide guidance on this).
A diver who arrives on board without sufficient experience will not be able to properly enjoy the training program’s dives, or may not be able to dive at all.
Each diver must be self-reliant and possess the following minimum experience:
- CMAS 2*, Level 2, PADI Advanced or equivalent diver
- Dry suit knowledge: Has gone through the proper training and performed a minimum of 10 dives with this gear.
- Experience diving in cold water or in difficult conditions (currents, etc.) is a definite advantage.
IMPORTANT: If you have any doubts about your experience or if you wish to go through some preparatory training before your departure, feel free to contact us to talk about it.
- Upon his/her arrival on board, each diver must present the following documents:
- Diving level (record or card) and training certification (dry suit, cold water, etc.)
- Dive log
- Medical certificate attesting to the diver’s ability to dive, not more than 3 months old
- Personal insurance policy (individual and repatriation)
N.B.: You will not be allowed to dive without presenting all of the documents mentioned above.
Communication and entertainment
Iridium satellite telephone
The boat has a satellite telephone and a satellite cellphone. Their use is restricted and reserved.
Upon arrival, passengers will have the opportunity to email a person of their choice to confirm safe arrival, through the email service on board. No other telecommunication with the equipment on board is permitted during your stay, except in an emergency. If passengers wish to communicate freely, they must rent an Iridium satellite cellphone with a prepaid chip prior to their departure.
On board the boat, connections to cellphone networks will only work near towns.
On board the boat, no internet connection is available. You can connect to the internet from internet zones in the towns where we stop.
Photo, video, music, and DVD equipment
The boat has a CD player to which an MP3 player and several PC and Mac computers can be connected. So it’s easy to listen to music and transfer and view photos/videos from the day. Electrical sockets are available throughout the boat to charge various electronic devices.