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Thread: Caribb-LEM Mark IV! (Utila) March 13-23 2019 Registration details

  1. #1
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    Laser Warning Caribb-LEM Mark IV! (Utila) March 13-23 2019 Registration details

    Caribb-LEM # 4 on the island of Utila!

    10 - day option: Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 to Saturday, March 23rd, 2019
    7-day option: Saturday, March 16th, 2019 to Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

    We are going with package-pricing this time, to make things easier. The package includes your room at the resort, plus breakfast and lunch each day, plus either 11 or 18 dives (depending on your stay) and including all rental dive gear.

    For the 10 day package, we will have 16 boat dives plus 2 night dives. The 7 day package will have 10 boat dives and 1 night dive.

    Something new this year: both package options include unlimited fun dives off the dock at the resort for no extra charge!

    Package cost for 10-day: $1300
    Package cost for 7-day: $920

    If you are not SCUBA certified, you can take the open-water course for an extra $250 (either package) and once you are done with the course you can join the rest of the group on the daily boat dives. (Best to do all the e-learning ahead of time so you don't have to spend much time in the classroom when on the island.)

    The cost of the advanced open-water course is also $250. (Same advice applies re: e-learning) Note that if you do the 10-day option, you could complete BOTH classes and still join the group for the rest of the daily dives once you are done with your certification(s).

    One caveat: The package pricing above is for double-occupancy, but there are a *limited* number of single rooms currently available. Once they are gone, if you don't have a roommate, you will be charged a surcharge. (Expect this to be at least $225 on the 7 day, or at least $350 on the 10 day; surcharge pricing may change after December 1st.)

    You still have to book your own travel arrangements to and from Utila. The best option is to fly to the island of Roatan (code: RTB) and then catch the ferry boat from Roatan to Utila. (Ferry is cheap - like $30.) The ferry leaves Roatan at 2 PM, so your flight needs to land at noon or earlier to give you time to clear customs and immigration. (The ferry dock is about 5-10 min by taxi from the airport.)

    The other option is to fly to San Pedro-Sula airport (code: SAP) on the mainland and then book another flight with Sosa airlines to get to Utila. While it is often cheaper to fly into SAP, by the time you pay for the Sosa airlines flight it ends up being a wash vs flying into RTB. Rich and I will be flying into RTB, so if you select the 10-day option you'll be able to meet up with us at the airport in Roatan.

    If you plan to bring a significant other who will not be diving, contact SCUBA HUT for special pricing that does not include the dive package.

    As in previous years, the plan is that we will go into town as a group each night for dinner at one of the many local restaurants. Figure on a maximum of $20 per night (and that's eating like a king) per person for dinner. We will be doing two main laser shows for the public while we are on the island. The first one will be outdoors, on the main public beach, on Saturday night, March 16th. The second one will be closer in town at one of the local bars (possibly Skid Row, possibly another location) on Wednesday, March 20th. And of course we can play around with lasers any time we want in the SCUBA shop or on the dock at the resort.

    This trip and these prices are currently being offered exclusively to us laser geeks. However, on October 17th the trip will be opened up to all current and former SCUBA students at SCUBA HUT in California, along with their regular dive customers. After that, it's first-come, first-served.

    Here is a link to the SCUBA HUT web announcement for the trip. Yes, the web page is already live, but the e-mail announcement pointing people to the link doesn't go out for another 10 days, so it's unlikely that people will just stumble upon it. After that e-mail goes out though... Well, at that point it's game on!

    A 50% deposit is required to reserve your spot on the trip. Contact SCUBA HUT directly to do this. Phone (530) 636-2644. Note that you can also e-mail rich at info@scubahut.org if you have questions. And remember that single-occupancy rooms are severely limited this time, so it is very important to book early if you want a single room!

    Adam

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    Default First!

    I am going!! Count me in...

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    I guess perhaps I'll give this some consideration. Sounds kinda interesting.
    PM Sent...

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    Deposit has been sent!

    But finding good flights this year is not easy. I can fly into Roatan, but the flights are not optimal.

    Both previous Utila trips I was able to cash in frequent flyer miles or credit card points and get business-class flights to SAP. But this year the same options on United or American are not available. So this year I'm looking at flying into SAP via Copa Airlines, Avianca, or AeroMexico, and then getting a Sosa flight to Utila.

    So if anyone else is in the same boat and wants/needs to fly to SAP (instead of Roatan) and then direct to Utila, I'm looking into booking a charter flight to Utila that leaves a little later in the afternoon than the standard 2:30pm Sosa double-flight to La Cieba and then to Utila. The more people we have on the charter flight, the cheaper it is. So if this is an option for anyone, please let me know!

  5. #5
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    Just some additional information about getting to Utila from SAP.

    The standard Sosa flight on 3/13 is at 3:00pm from SAP to La Ceiba, 30 minute layover, then 15 minute flight to Utila.

    The return flight is at 6:00AM on the 23rd. 1.5 hour layover in La Ceiba then arrives SAP at 8:10am.

    The cost is about US$225 round trip.

    I don't yet know the cost of the charter flight, and I don't know about anyone else, but leaving Utila at 6AM on the last day? Ouch.

    All we need is probably three or four people to bring the cost of a charter flight down, so we can leave at a more humane hour on Saturday the 23rd.
    Last edited by HankLloydRight; 10-10-2018 at 04:53.

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    Bradfo69 is offline Pending BST Forum Purchases: $47,127,283.53
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    I've been finding the same. Flights are considerably more expensive or, really odd hours. I was considering Avianca yesterday and even thinking about driving up to JFK rather than down to BWI or Dulles. But yeah... departing NY at 4:15am??? And a layover in the jungle of El Salvadore? Ugh. I've got about 6 major airports to analyze within a few hours drive. I'll look at the San Pedro flights too just to see if the charter thing makes sense.

    Edit: Just for shits and giggles, I might see how much people from Rich's dive shop are going to have to pay for flights. Watch it be like $300 or something stupid like that from California. Airlines..... ugh. Also thinking for shits and giggles to check prices for earlier in the month. Wonder if it's more expensive because we pushed the dates forward in March.
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 10-10-2018 at 04:30.
    PM Sent...

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    I've been looking at flights as well, and I was surprised to see how much they have gone up vs just 2 months ago. Right now it's going to cost me around $870 to fly to RTB from Charleston. (That's coach.) By comparison, flying to SAP is only around $650 for me, but by the time I add in the Sosa flight to get from SAP to Utila, I'm at the same cost vs flying to Roatan.

    And then there's the thought about upgrading to business class so you can bring two free bags that weigh up to 70 lbs each with no extra fees. I don't know about United or American airlines, but I know that Delta charges $25 per bag each way, and they limit you to 50 lbs per bag - assuming you are flying coach. If you go over the weight limit on just 1 bag, you're better off with the business class ticket.

    I don't know how I feel about Avianca airlines... I'd have to be *really* confident before I booked with them.

    Hank: I wonder about chartering a flight from SAP all the way to Utila. I seem to remember there were some fairly tall mountains in the way! Are you sure they can fly that route in a small plane with just 5 or 6 passengers? And any idea what that might cost per person? I wouldn't mind the charter idea if we can make it work.

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    I don't know how I feel about Avianca airlines... I'd have to be *really* confident before I booked with them.
    How many Avianca crashes have you heard about? Their last crash was in 1990. http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/avianca.htm
    Copa Air has had only one crash in 1992. Uh oh -- Aeromexico had a crash this summer! But no fatalities, so there's that.


    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Hank: I wonder about chartering a flight from SAP all the way to Utila. I seem to remember there were some fairly tall mountains in the way! Are you sure they can fly that route in a small plane with just 5 or 6 passengers? And any idea what that might cost per person? I wouldn't mind the charter idea if we can make it work.
    See the topo map below. I think you're thinking of the flight to La Ceiba that goes through the mountains. The flight path from SAP to Utila probably goes north-north-east to the shore and then over water. You can see the mountains on the way to La Ceiba.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I don't know what the charter flight cost is yet. I've already asked Rich, and he reached out to his contacts and will get back to me when he hears back. I'll post that here as soon as I hear back from him.

    The good news Rich tells me is that if you schedule a charter flight, the local agents can work to fill empty seats with other travelers.

  9. #9
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    Looks like CM Airlines offers direct flights from SAP to Utila, with a little more reasonable departure time from Utila.

    See below.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
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    Ok, I think I found a workable flight using my wife's miles (he he).. I'll likely take AA from LGA to SAP arrives 1:30pm.

    Then take the CM Air flight posted above. 1.5 hours should be enough to clear customs and get to that flight. It's not a big airport.

    The on the return, the 8:30am flight from Utila and then AA from SAP at 2:30pm to LGA.

    No charter needed for me, but I'm still willing to help or take a charter if the price works out and we need to fill seats.

    But I'll likely book the AA flight later today and then the CM Air when we find out if we need a charter or not.

    Do we know who else is or might be going at this point besides Evan, Adam, Brad and me?

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