FAQ

This page offers some answers on the most frequently asked questions
regarding the Egypt Dolphin Adventure.

Financial

Price - Deposit - Payment

Boat Safari Cost: € 1.555,-  per person  (all in / no alcohol)

Non-Refundable Deposit: € 333,- per person

For Discounts and Early Birds-arrangements, see the next question in this FAQ

All reservations must be made with Wieteke prior to payment.

After sending us the signed liability form, and having received confirmation from us that there is a spot for you on board –
to confirm your registration, please transfer the € 333,- down payment to us, via internet banking (IBAN).

The liability form can be downloaded by opening up the question:  Insurances & Liability?
(Under the Blue section with the title: Signing up – scroll down a bit)

You will be sent the details for this transfer right away – after we received your copy of the signed liability form.

To complete the total payment of € 1.555,-  the final payment of € 1.222 needs to be transferred to us latest May 13th, 2020.

Paying in phases

You can choose to pay in (max) 3 parts if you like.

For instance: By first paying your deposit (€ 333 )
and then splitting the remaining amount (€ 1.222) in 2 parts of  € 611,-

The final payment of € 1.555 (minus any applicable discounts*)
needs to be completed latest May 13th, 2020.

*Any discounts are applicable on the ‘remaining’ amount | not on the deposit.

You can make your deposit by (IBAN) bank transfer (preferred) or in Cash.

This trip is free from VAT (BTW)

 

 

 

Cancellations

 

Cancellation terms:

The € 333,- deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel and we are able to fill your space,
we will refund your full deposit less € 100,- processing fee.

If we are not able to fill your space, the organization will refund the entire amount of your € 1.222,- payment,
excl your € 333,- deposit, up until 2 months before the trip takes place (Apr 13th, 2020).

The organization will refund 2/3 rd of the remaining € 1.222,-  (€814.-), excl your deposit,
up until 6 weeks before the trip takes place (Apr 27th, 2020).

The organization will refund 1/3rd of the remaining € 1.222,- (€ 407,-), excl your deposit,
up until 4 weeks before the trip takes place (May 13th, 2020) .

No refund will be given if you decide to cancel within the last 4 weeks prior to the trip.
These terms will also be stated in the liability form email that you sign before booking.

 

Additional Costs

Your VISA: like explained in the question titled: “Are my travel documents valid for this trip?” you will need to bring an additional € 25,- / or $25,-  in cash with you on your trip to Egypt, to pay for your VISA at arrival.

UPDATE *(8-8-2019) Egyptian government is now considering to also charge travelers an additional € 25,- / or $25,-  in cash, before LEAVING the airports (so the same fee at BOTH entrence and  departure). We recommend you stay up to date by following the progress on this new law online. (Source and background info).

Tip for the crew of the boat: People in Egypt often have very low incomes that need to support large families. The crew members of Sea Dream are away from home for long periods of time, in order to make our stay on board as good as it can possibly get. You are entirely free to decide if you like to tip or not.  If you choose to do so, we recommend each visitor to tip an average of 40 euro’s, US-dollars or Egyptian dollars (also to be brought in cash) at the end of the trip. This money will be handed to the crew in an envelope by the end of our stay.

Discounts - Actions - Early Birds

  • IF you decide to bring a friend – you will receive a 10% discount! (minus  € 155,- on the total,
    so you pay € 1.400 instead of  € 1.555)
  • Early Birds – early birds get a € 111,-  discount on the total (so € 1.444 instead of  € 1.555)
    if they book this trip before October 1st 2019
  • Returning Birds – if you were on this trip before and you wish to join for a second time,
    you will get a € 133,- discount on the total, no matter when you book.
  • NOTE! One discount per person / discounts cannot be combined.
    For instance: if you book for yourself and bring a friend to join you, before Oct 2019, ONE of you gets the early bird discount and the other person gets the 10% discount. If you were BOTH on this trip before, ONE of you gets the ‘returning birds’ discount, and the other gets the ‘bring a friend’ 10% discount. Usually the ‘bring a friend’ discount goes to the person who initiated the booking and who ‘brought’ the other person along.

How can I pay?

This trip needs to be paid in Euro’s (preferred) by Internet banking or in cash.

For people from outside of the EU: you may have to visit your bank in person to arrange for this transaction (bring your passport). If your bank needs additional information from me that you cannot find on your invoice; let me know and I will provide it for you.

Tip 1: Use an in between agency to avoid those possibly high transfer-rates of your ‘normal’ bank.
Example of such a service that we have had good experiences with so far: OFX

Tip 2: it may be profitable after paying the deposit to reserve your spot, to wait until the stock-market looks good for you.
For instance if you live in the US; your payment will be much cheaper at a moment when the dollar is ‘strong’ as oppose of the ‘euro’ in the stock market. A week or 2 can make a huge difference and save you over a 100 dollars. So keep an eye on this (Google: Dollar versus Euro).

Signing up

How do I sign up for this trip?

To make a reservation for this trip, first read the section below this one on Insurances & Liability and download the liability form. This form states that you agree to all conditions mentioned in it (regarding your health and safety etc).

After filling out the form – send it along with your personal email message to Wieteke Koolhof (info@design4awareness.com)

Once we have gone through your information and approved it – Wieteke will connect with you in person.

If you haven’t met her yet (trough Skype or in real live) she will ask you to meet her trough a short Skype call if you are from another country – or via telephone if you are from The Netherlands, so you can get to know each other a bit and ask her any final questions directly 🙂

After this we will send you a personalized invoice and we will begin counting the days towards welcoming you on board! 😀

Insurances and Liability

Insurance & Declaration of Good Health: To attend this trip, it is obligatory for you as a participant, to arrange your own cancellation- and (ongoing) travel insurance. This will prevent stress, in case for whatever reason, any cancellations have to be made.

Also, on behalf of the crew and captain of the Boat “Sea Dream” we ask you to inform us of any physical and/or mental conditions or allergies you may have and/or what medicines you might be taking, so you will not accidentally be interfering with any Egyptian law. Therefore, and for other reasons that possibly cannot be foreseen, we have composed a liability form.

We kindly ask you to download – print – fill out and sign – the below form and send it back to us
(as a clear scan or readable picture) along with your reservation request. Thank you 🙂  

Special newsletters for participants

Once you have signed up, you will automatically remain informed of every step along the way in preparation to this incredible adventure! How many spots are left – when the boat is full – who else will be joining us etc 😀 

If you thought the FAQ page (link at the bottom) didn’t miss a thing – you are in for a treat! As a participant you will receive 4 in-dept and super-fun newsletters in the 2,5 months before we all step on board. These will introduce you to the boat’s crew, show you more pictures and share a lot of very useful information for you in preparation for your trip. 

We will also offer everyone the option to be added to a closed FB-group, where you can share questions and plans with other members of your 2020 Dolphin Retreat in advance. That’s right; this means you could meet up in the hotel if you choose to arrive early or travel back together and even share a plane if your journey’s happen to be to the same destination home 🙂  

General Questions

When is a good moment to check for flights?

This trip will take place in June 2020. A good moment to start checking for your flights and how much they might cost would be January/February 2020. Most flight-companies have their ‘future flights’ agenda running ahead of time up to 6 months. Anywhere before then you will most likely only find very expensive options with a lot of transfers. Over all; as soon as the cheaper flights have become available, you best book them as soon as possible. If you choose to wait – the prices may go up again, due to the increasing lack of availability (meaning: other people booking these cheaper options before you). Airlines sometimes share the cheaper options way early time, and sometimes only show them once the actual flight dates come closer (we have seen both situations happen). So we can only advice you to keep an eye on this yourself.

Using flexible arrival / or departure days in my search for a fitting flight

If a flight turns out to be much cheaper arriving one day earlier (before your Dolphin Retreat) or leaving one day later (after your Dolphin Retreat) we recommend you make use of that option and just use the nearby hotel to bridge the in between days. Staying over at the hotel may be much cheaper (estimated hotel rate around €30 a night) then booking a flight on the exact starting or ending day of your retreat. You will find info on this nearby hotel in the question below this one: “What airport should I fly into / What time should my plane arrive or depart?”

Do you expect to be jet-legged at arrival?

In case of an expected jet leg, and if you know yourself to be sensitive to this – we recommend you make use of the hotel at least 1 or 2 nights before we leave on our Dolphin trip. It may be quite intense for your system otherwise, to travel half way over the world and then suddenly find yourself on a slightly rocky boat whilst still jet-legged. Allowing yourself some time to get used to the Egyptian time-zone and climate a bit before we go on board all together, will be relaxing and help you ground into this new rhythm.

What airport should I fly into | What time should my plane arrive?

Please fly into: Marsa Alam International Airport (IATA: RMF, ICAO: HEMA)

 

 

Our FINAL schedule is now known: please visit the invitation page 

scroll down to: ‘Detailed Information’ and click: ‘Estimated Time and Location Schedule – Now FINAL’

 

ARRIVAL TIME – Transfer from airport or hotel to boat 

We will be picked up from Marsa Alam airport starting at 7:15 PM on June 13nd
by a private bus that will bring us to the boat. The bus will pick up anyone who’s decided to stay in a hotel nearby after picking everyone from the airport. We hope to be complete between 7:45 and 8:30 PM, and then we will head for the 
harbor where the boat is anchored together. This will be another +/- 2 hour ride.

So if you wish to arrive that exact day; you ideally book a flight arriving before or exactely on 7:15 PM.

This bus is arranged especially for you by the organisation of the boat – and will pick all of us up at the airport in 1 go.
After pick up, we have to drive for about 2 hours to the harbor where we will be able to relax the rest of the evening on the boat.

It is important for you to INFORM US of your flight schedule as soon as you have made
your final reservation
, so we can make sure you will be on that bus with us.

There are no alternative means of transportation included in the organisation of this trip and
there is no ‘standard’ Public Transportation available in this area.

In emergency cases you may find your own personal transportation but most likely this will have to be a (pre-booked) taxi.

DEPARTURE TIME – Transfer to airport

The very last night of our adventure (June 19th to 20th),
we will sleep for our very last night on the boat in the harbor.

The next day – June 20th, we will have time to pack our things in the morning.
The way it looks right now – the crew will then drive us back to the airport LATEST at 12 AM,
which will have us arrive at the airport around 2 PM.
(Exact times to be announced – depending on everybody’s return-flights and preferences)

(This section is always advisable, no matter our upcoming time schedule)
If you wish to depart by plane from Marsa Alam airport on June 20th 2020,
we recommend you book a flight which departs in the late afternoon or evening
so we can all enjoy a relaxed last morning on the boat and don’t have to get up extra early to catch our bus 😉 

*ARRIVING A FEW DAYS EARLIER | STAYING A FEW DAYS LONGER 

For those who prefer to arrive on any day, previous to our trip together;
it is fully possible for our bus to pick you up at Marina Lodge Galeb (a very fine and affordable hotel on our route)
after all other participants have been picked up from the airport in Marsa Alam.
There are more hotels nearby- if you picked another one – just let us know which one together with your arrical and departure information – so we’ll know where to pick you up 😉 
If you prefer a hotel-pick-up: please inform us of this, latest two weeks before the trip.

Some people may also decide to prolong their trip with a few more days in the area, this is possible too.
The transfer from the boat to the airport will then make another stop on Marina Lodge Galeb,
for those who would like to be dropped off at the entrance of the hotel for a few more days of relaxation.

What flight companies offer decent prices?

  • We will share with you here, some Dutch & EU options

    It you are traveling from the US or other parts of the world: you best do your own research.

    From The Netherlands and some other EU countries: TUI and Transavia are 2 fine companies that often fly at quite affordable rates.
    We recommend to always do your own research as you may just find an even more affordable offer by yourself 🙂

    • Price indication: So far we have seen return flights from Amsterdam to Marsa Alam
      go up to be around 600 euro’s per person (excl. additional costs for luggage etc) or as low as around 450,-
      it all depends on ‘jumping in on the sales at just the right moment (and TUI has surprised us with sometimes making early bookings cheaper and sometimes making them more expensive, so this is all about informing yourself).
    • You can start checking for available flights as soon as Jan/Feb 2020
    • Note: you may have to pay additional amounts for your travel insurance and check-in luggage
    • Always do your own research and compare different companies to find the best offer for your own budget
    • Who ever you decide to fly withbring a pen as you will have to fill out some formal papers aboard the plane,
      that you need in order receive your VISA later at arrival 😉
    • TIP!!! Logging in on the same computer to check flight prices often makes them suddenly more expensive – this is the result of the flight-companies website making use of ‘cookies’ to track your IP-address. This helps them ‘remember’ you are interested in a specific flight and push you to pay more for it then you initially thought you would. For a more fair treatment; clear your computers ‘cache’ of any old cookies / or use a tablet or phone to check in again at a later time for your flights prices.

Do you guarantee Dolphin Sightings?

The wild dolphins we interact with are free beings so we cannot guarantee encounters, however we do have contact approximately 95% or more in this area, most of the time.

We are fortunate to have several resident Spinner dolphin pods of 100-300 dolphins along the Sataya Reef. These dolphins are found swimming along the shallow sandy parts of the reef almost daily where they play, rest and socialize. We will use smaller ‘zodiac’ boats to get to the areas where they are most often found. If we are lucky, we may even encounter some bottle-nose dolphins, which sometimes visit this area as well.

If it so happens that there are days on which the dolphins indicate to us they are less playful and just like to rest, the crew will guide us along one of the nearby reefs to go snorkeling and admire the coral and the rich amount of other sea life that hides in there.

Won't the dolphins be bothered by us?

We will be in a protected zone of the Red Sea and swim with dolphins respectfully.  You will be briefed on important safety procedures to follow and how to interact with the dolphins in a safe and unobtrusive way. No touching is allowed. Due to the trust the crew has built up with these dolphins over many years – they often choose to come very close to us.

How close do the dolphins come to us?

The question really is: ‘how close will the dolphins decide to come to us?’, as we will always leave it up to them to approach us as soon as we are in the water. The crew will however carefully decide how close to the pod they can ‘drop us off’ – before we quietly slide into the water to join our cetacean friends for a little dance in the sea. To get an impression of how close they can actually come to you, Asfoor (one of the crew’s professional instructors) made this video while swimming right next to one of them: (links to YouTube – you will be asked to leave this site) https://youtu.be/u7b-aboBw_Q

Where will we be on the Red Sea / In Egypt

We will be in the very South of Egypt, right between 2 big national parks.
This part of the ocean is protected.

Will we have our own private cabins on the boat?

When the boat is fully occupied (up to max 18 guests), everyone will be sharing a cabin with another person. Each cabin has 2 separate beds and a small shared bathroom/toilet combination). Of course any personal preferences as to whom you would like to share the room with, will be respected. There is always also the options to sleep under Egypt’s starry skies on one of the two top decks if you like 🙂 Light mattresses are available for this.

Is there a maximum amount of people on this trip?

Yes, we have decided to keep this a more exclusive trip.
The maximum amount of possible guests on the Sea Dream is 18, yet we are aiming for 14 to 16 people.

We will certainly keep you posted on the amount of fellow radiant beings that has signed up for this trip,
as time unfolds.

How big is the boat?

The Sea Dream is 30 meters long / and 6,5 meters wide.

She has about 8 cabins in the lower deck – and 4 more on the higher one.
There is a spacious dinner room where all meals will be served,
but you can also choose to enjoy your meal on one of the two higher (sun)decks.

Sleeping can be done on top and center deck as well if you like to star gaze
at the Milky Way above our heads.

Yoga can be practiced on the center deck – where there is a nice breeze and where we
will be protected from the sun during mid day by a sun-roof.

Sea Dream has a steady crew of 8 people, of which 4 who come along with us on our trips on the water.
For this we will use the two Zodiacs (or rescue boats) that bring us to the dolphins and the reef.
Both zodiacs have strong motors, are fast if needed. These zodiacs can hold up to 14 people each.

What should I bring for swimming with the dolphins?

Swim attire (bikini/swimming pants), (preferably organic) sunscreen, Hat (optional for on the boat if you are sensitive to sunburn),  Sunglasses, Snorkel gear (bring your own fins – goggles and snorkel (covering only eyes and nose – no ‘full face’ goggles), thin (1 to 2 mm) shorty wet suit / OR (much cheaper) a pair of thing leggings (made for swimming) and a thin long sleeve that closes relatively high around the neck (to avoid sunburn on your back and neck). If you wish to bring some awesome memories home you can of course bring an (Underwater-) Camera 🙂

General tips for packing

– APART from the answers already provided to you  in the questions above (scroll up)
“What should we bring for swimming with the dolphins” & ” What kind of vins do you recommend”

we recommend you:

– bring summer clothes that are comfy and are easy to put on or take of, remember that due to all our dolphin excursions,
you may be changing from your summer outfit to your swimming outfit several times a day 😉 A sarong kind-of dress is ideal as well and can be worn as a light scarf when you feel you need some extra sun protection.

-Bring several towels, one for lounging on the deck, one for drying yourself off after a swim and a smaller one for the shower in your cabin for instance. It is nice to keep the ones for salt-water use, and fresh water use, apart. They will dry easily and fast in the sun on the deck.

– It is nice to have a pair of comfy summer sandals or slippers for on shore – but you do not need ANY shoes on board,
we will all be bare foot as long as we are on the boat.

– Some people bring a thin pair of socks to avoid blisters in their fins – this is an idea if you doubt your fins will be comfy all week trough. A small pack of water-proof plasters or some kind of friendly skin oil may help too.

– It is practical to have a toilet bag to keep all your bathroom-stuff in. The bathrooms are small and shared – so it is recommended to find a way to easily keep your own toothbrush etc together and organized, both for you as well as your roommate. Ideally your toilette bag can be ‘hung onto’ something / so it has a handle or loop.

– The contents of your toilet bag (toothpaste, shampoo, soap etc) will be washed out in the sea water below the boat
every time you flush or use the tap. This is why we urge you to look for organic products without parabens etc, so that we will leave less of a negative impact on the area with our boat.

– If you want you can bring your own favorite salt (Celtic or Himalayan) or other mineral supplements, if you feel you need these. The sea-water is very rich in minerals, nonetheless, due to all perspiration caused by the beautiful weather, many will find yourselves craving salts to eat as well. This is why this can be a nice to bring.

– The same thing goes for other things you really fancy for yourself: your own favorite herbal tea (there will be some there) / a particular brand soluble coffee / vitamin supplements,  stevia sweetener etc.

What kind of vins / flippes would you recommend?

As you begin to orientate yourself online to find good options for your snorkel outfit you will find there are many options available. Obviously since you will be using your vins intensively this week – it is well worth considering buying a decent pair. To help you out a bit we can tell you that it is recommended to find a pair of vins that:

–  fit your feet exactly (not too big, but also not too small – this will cause friction and blisters as you move) without feeling sharp or uncomfortable around the edges. If you can fit them first in a professional diving store, that would be best. Make sure to get someone to assist you and as you try them on; move your foot the way you would when you were snorkeling – so all the way up and down / point your feet. This will give you an impression of how the heel feels etc.

– have a closed heel (!). We will be snorkeling not only with the dolphins but also alongside the magnificent Sataya reef. Now of course we are not allowed to touch the reef, but if due to some very unexpected move you accidentally do scrape or cut your foot on a piece of coral – you may be looking at a lengthy healing process ahead. Coral is very sharp and can easily infect our skin with bacteria. So best to have your whole foot protected at the bottom, when you know you will be coming close to a coral reef.

Optionally (and recommended for people with weak ankles) you can consider to buy a pair with streamlined openings in them (see picture below / these are of the brand “Mares”). This will help reduce the water-pressure against your vins as you ‘kick’ them up and down, which makes it easier to move forward faster with less effort.

How skilled a swimmer do I need to be?

Our dolphin encounter swims are appropriate for beginner to advanced snorkelers. With this trip, for everyone’s safety, we would say we aim for a group of ‘decent’ swimmers. It certainly is a big plus if you already feel comfortable / and have had some experience, with breathing trough a snorkel while swimming.

We can provide flotation devices for anyone who requests them – and we have some qualified assistants to be with you in the water if you feel you need it.

Also it might be good to know that; the Red Sea is famous for how salty it is. This makes it easier for anyone to float and move around on the surface with little resistance of the water.

What kind of food is provided on board?

A professional on board kitchen-crew will provide for you 3 healthy meals a day, including fresh salads and vegetables!

Last year – due to the preferences of our participants we enjoyed an almost 100% vegetarian/vegan week,
still there was always the option of eating fish or meat for those who felt they needed it.

Let us know your preferences beforehand, in the form regarding insurance and health, which
can be found under the question entitled: What do I need to know about Insurances & Liability?

Vegan and even gluten free requests can be made in advance.

Every meal will be served in the dining room using a buffet-set-up.
So you can always get as much as you like 😉

During the day there will also be: Fresh fruit, soft-drinks and juice, salty chips, hot drinks (coffee & tea), water and various sweet and dry snacks provided aboard.

How to re-charge electrical devices on board / types of electrical plugs

Yes you can.
The standard European plugs will connect you with the boats power supply.
There will be one plug-entrance per person in every boat cabin (so two in every cabin).

If you have several devices that need charging regularly – we recommend you bring your own multiple-plug extension cord.

 

 

General weather forecast for the month of June

The below info is based on Marsa Alam (our nearest city)
Where we are we will usually have a bit more of a breeze – as we are out on the Sea and not on land.

Temperature

The weather continues to improve in June in Marsa Alam, when the resort enjoys similar weather to Sharm el Sheikh. During this time of year, temperatures can soar up to 35°C at the warmest point of the day, while in the evenings they cool down to a much more pleasant 25°C after sunset. This average high temperature of 35°C is the annual maximum high, also observed in July and August. Both the average highs and lows increase a tiny bit in the course of the month, by 1 degree each. The overall average temperature in June is 30°C, which is the second highest average in the year. September is equally as warm. Only July and August, both with an average of 31°C, are hotter. The temperature of the Red Sea averages 27°C, one degree more than in May. Approximately 70% of the days in June are classified as hot; 30% are warm—there are officially no cool days, so bring your beachwear and plenty of tubes of sun cream!

Sunshine Hours

All days in June are basically equally as long. June 1 has 13.38 daylight hours; June 20, the longest day of the year, has 13.44 hours of daylight; and June 30 has 13.42 daylight hours. Cloud cover drops to its annual low of 0% on June 9 and it stays extremely low until around June 20, when it rapidly increases toward 24% at the end of the month. However, even 24% of cloud cover means that the skies are clear or mostly clear. June is by far the clearest month of the year.

Rain

Being both the clearest month and the month with most daylight, June receives a spectacular amount of sunshine. There are 13 sunshine hours per day on average—the same average is observed in May, July and August. There is no rainfall whatsoever in June. There are no days with precipitation and the total amount of rainfall is 0mm, making this the driest time of year in an area that is already bone-dry by all accounts.

Sea Temperature

With absolutely no rainfall and the average sea temperature sitting around 27°C, June is a perfect month to enjoy a holiday in this part of the world or at/on the Red Sea.

Can’t find your question?


If you cannot find your question here, please contact me and I will answer you asap.