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Inter-Ocean Tours enews
November 2008

Trips for Divers

P.O. Box 27116
Oakland, CA 94602
travel@interocean.com
510-638-3448
800-345-7159
510-638-1741 Fax

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Time has passed so quickly that we are very late for our forth quarter enews. Thanksgiving is already here! In this issue we are covering following:
Marilyn's report on Hurricane Paloma
DEMA report
Inter-Ocean Tours DEMA Special "Dive Bonaire"
Before the Trip and Airlines

Hurricane Paloma: I have advised many of my clients over the years (30+) that the dates they have picked for the Caribbean (August/September) or for the South Pacific (January/February) have historically high number of tropical storms or even hurricanes or cyclones. So far I have not had a client in a hurricane or cyclone.

The last few years I have added that due to Global Warming (or whatever?) the storms seem not to conform as much to the schedules I had observed. I hedge by checking various weather websites and my current favorite: http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/ I especially like reading what Dr. Jeff Masters has to say about the Atlantic area and his forecast opinions seem more reliable because they are based on NOAA and all the others I used to consult. I learned a lot from his article “Hunting Hugo”.

When I looked at his blog on Paloma on Friday night, November 7, he thought it would be Category 2 when it reached the Cayman Islands with winds of 50-75 mph. He also thought Grand Cayman would be hit and Little Cayman + Cayman Brac would be on be on the edge of Palamo’s path. Good news, yeah! Especially since my husband, John and I had just arrived on Cayman Brac for our first vacation at the house we just finished building early this year.

Well, even Dr Jeff Masters can be surprised. Paloma exploded into an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds last night as it hammered the Cayman Islands. The tornados were the most damaging. And we learned that our house could take it! Kudos to the builders: my husband, son Larry, 3 locals and some visiting friends.

We lost all our shingles from the roof; but have the snow shield to keep it dry for months. We did get lots of water in both patio doors and vent near the roof on the East. The tornado took the half-inch ply from a patio door and john nailed closet doors on the inside and we leaned on them to keep them from being blown out.

The closest house to ours on the beach was destroyed. The house across the road had roof lifted up and then sat back down. Our rented car was pushed 40 feet from the house to the road and then sideways, 75 feet down the road. It was in park and had the parking break on. So much for keeping it away from trees and branches! Took out the windshield and drivers window.

Brac Reef is in bad shape, but according to the manager they will be up and running again in January. Main building, kitchen took the worst. Dive shop and Ed Beatty's Photo lost the roof, but ceiling stayed and protected stuff in the shops. They were working on the new roof.

Here is a link to some photos after Paloma left the Brac. http://www.caymannetnews.com/palomabrac/

It is estimated 1,000 of the 1,800 living on Cayman Brac are homeless. They are still in the Hurricane shelters or temporarily living with relatives. Billy’s Supermarket has been destroyed, gas stations are crushed, the police station and airport are damaged and the islands last remaining hotel, Brac Reef resort is devastated. There was a lot of damage to some Brac Caribbean Condos but the newer Carib Sands Condos next door looked ok. As of Nov 20, most of the island remains without electricity or running water. Many people lost their homes and all their worldly possessions. Others lost their livelihood. Too many lost both.

You can help by making a donation to Cayman Islands Red Cross http://www.redcross.org.ky or the 
Rotary Clubs of the Cayman Islands Hurricane Relief Fund. http://caymanrotary.wordpress.com/

DEMA: DEMA (Diving Equipment and Manufacture Association) trade show was in Las Vegas this year. DEMA is always like going “Island Hopping”. This year’s show had more destinations represented than ever before! Marilyn and John received the latest news from friends from our favorite resorts and boats, learned about new destinations and met new owners and managers from all around the world. Kyoko was managing Inter-Ocean’s office and missed this year's show and the island folk will have to wait till next year to visit with her (unless she is traveling to their place on a dive trip).

Some resorts we have always liked just got new owners so they are having ‘Opening Specials’. An example is Lalati Resort on Beqa Atoll in Fiji. The new owner is going to start refurbishing all the bures, plus new furniture and lots of upgrades to the whole property and work up to a 4 or 5 star resort. He assured Marilyn he will continue to protect Jane’s Lane house reef and it’s creatures. Meanwhile he has some great package prices to introduce returning clients to the new management and attract new divers to the great diving around the atoll. $2999 per diver including 7 nights accommodation, gourmet meals, 5 days of 2 tank boat and unlimited shore dives, round trip airport transportation in Fiji, airfare from Los Angeles and taxes.

Marilyn got more information and details on some pristine destinations she has not visited yet. “I have always been intrigued with the Marshall Islands. Now that John and I learned more from a long time resident and dive operator, Layne Ballard of Central Pacific Dive Expeditions. I have moved the Marshall Islands to a top spot on my “Wish List”. What other places are on my Wish List? Resorts in Raja Ampat and other remote areas of Indonesia, the resorts near Borneo I haven't visited plus back to the rainforest, Yap, Vanuatu, Cocos Islands, Galapagos Islands, Burma Bank near Thailand, Maldives, and more. I just realized how long my wish list is! I better set aside some time and work on some itineraries."

Marilyn added: “My list is not based on my rating of the quality of the diving. If I haven’t been there; how can I judge and rate them? But my fascination is based on reports from old friends and divers who are well traveled and whose opinions I respect”.

What destinations do you have on your wish list? If Marilyn has not been to the ones on your list in her 35 years of traveling to dive, probably Kyoko has been there.

We received DEMA specials for 2009 from resorts and boats, plus some are having 'Last Minute Specials' for 2008. This is a great time to plan your next trips; the rates will never be lower! Please visit our SPECIAL page for the great savings. If you are a group leader, please ask for our group specials.

You can explore the many dive areas worldwide by visiting Inter-Ocean Tour’s DESTINATIONS page. We are constantly updating the information on our web site. Please use the links to check them out. Marilyn and/or Kyoko have been to the most of those listed and can help you choose. We try to learn what you are dreaming of and what will work best for you. We can discuss the pros and cons of different destinations, resorts or boat as they relate to you and your goals.

SnorkelersInter-Ocean Tours DEMA special Bonaire: Kyoko is leading a trip to Captain Don's Habitat in Bonaire in July 2009. Book by Dec 31, 2008 and receive DEMA special discount. Bonaire offers the easiest diving in Caribbean if not in the world. It is below the Hurricane Belt so the diving is great year round. Bonaire was the Caribbean's first Marine Preserve and was the first to install permanent moorings, so the reefs are healthy with lots of life. Habitat is where it was started by Captain Don. In front of the resort is healthy fringe reef where you can dive 24 hrs! Kids 16 and under will stay and dive free on this trip.

Captain Don's Habitat Bonaire
July 4-11, 2009
$798 per diver in Habitat 2bdrm/2bath quad ($884 after Dec 31, 2008)
$1021 per diver in Deluxe Oceanview double ($1132 after Dec 31, 2008)

The price is per person based on the number of persons in accommodation. 3 in room less & single more. The package includes 7 nights at Captain Don's Habitat, full breakfast daily, 5 days of 2 tank boat and  7 days of unlimited shore diving, round trip airport transfers, and taxes. Airfare, Bonaire National Marine Park fee (diver $25 & snorkeler $10), and gratitudes are not included. Please contact us for the best airfare. Non-diver deduct $297 ($330 after Dec 31, 2008). Kids 16 and under stay and dive free with paying adult divers.

$100 per person deposit secures your reservation and full payment is due on May 1, 2009. E-mail travel@interocean.com for more information.

Before the Trip & Airlines: We hope this page will make your trip preparation easier even if your trip is not a dive vacation. Almost all airlines are now charging for any checked bags on domestic flights.  Domestic may or may not include Caribbean, Central America or Mexico. It is a very good idea to check the current luggage restriction before you start packing. We have summarized the current baggage restrictions on our Before the Trip page. The page contains various links and tips for your trip preparation including information on passports and insurance.

If you have any questions or would like some information to help you plan your trip, your can email us at travel@interocean.com or call us at 1-800-345-7159.

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