6 Tips for Non-Diver/Diver Couples & Live-Aboard Dive Travel

Scuba live-aboard travel for the Non-Diver/Diver couple.  Can it be done?  YES!

“My spouse/significant other does not dive.  Can I bring him/her along on the live-aboard and what would they do?”  We are often asked this question by divers whose spouses or family members are non-divers.

On a recent trip on The M/V Galapagos Sky, there were two couples aboard, one spouse diving and the other spouse with no intention on diving.  Both couples were repeat guests of the Sky, though they had never met and on their previous cruises, the non-diving spouse was the only “bubble watcher” on their past trips.

“Popeye” and Grace of Southwestern Ontario, Canada have a very common situation.  Popeye dives, Grace does not.  They do not take vacations without each other.  Popeye is an avid diver, he started diving in 1958 and has 13,309 dives under his weight belt!  Grace is content to read, relax, enjoy the dive briefings, excellent food and an occasional snorkel.  She enjoys the camaraderie, makes friends and enjoys using her new GoPro during her time in the water.  Grace says that it is important that the couple do trips that she suggests and Popeye gladly agrees.  It is a balancing act that has kept them happy and married for 43 years.  After departing the Galapagos Sky they flew to Quito, then to Coco, then on to a motorized canoe trip to Sancha Lodge (by wilson).  Grace wanted to see the hundreds of parrots, monkeys and go into the rain forest.  They also booked their 3rd trip on the Galapagos Sky for 2015.

Chet and Elaine Moore of California have the same common situation.  Chet has been diving his entire life and Elaine, a certified diver, prefers warmer, calmer water than what is common in Galapagos.  Elaine helps Chet on and off with his dry suit and then enjoys her books and projects with a beautiful view of the volcanic islands of Galapagos as her scenery.  Elaine says “It is important to be a self-starter.  You cannot expect to be entertained.”

Some tips to consider when planning a dive vacation with a travel companion who is a non-diver:

  1. Check with the reservations staff.  Ask about possibilities for snorkeling.  It might not be allowed depending on the itinerary, weather, safety issues, or due to local government regulations.  Most live-aboards do allow snorkeling, but it is always good to check ahead.
  2. Make sure the non-diver is prepared with anti-seasick medications and/or patches.  Even the strongest stomachs can get queasy after many days on a live-aboard.  Good tip for the divers too!
  3. Bring lots to do independently.  Books, tablets, movies, music, organizing photos on your computer.
  4. Check about internet access and expense.  Because live-aboards operate in remote locations, some have no internet, and some may provide it for a fee.
  5. Know that at mealtimes, most conversations will revolve around…diving!  Divers like to talk about what they saw underwater, scuba gear, cameras, anything about scuba diving!  Many live-aboards keep a small library of fish identification books onboard that a non-diver might enjoy as much as a diver, and will give them a visual to put to some of the table talk!
  6. When asked for a final tip for non-diver/diver couples, Popeye replied, “Suck up!  No seriously, the key is to discuss vacations ahead of time and make sure both are ON-BOARD!” (pun intended)

    Grace and Elaine

    Grace and Elaine

Amy Lesh, M/V Galapagos Sky