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Indian Ocean Exploration

4,500 Nautical Miles via Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa

This voyage is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail aboard S/Y Vela, our 112-foot schooner, on her maiden voyage from the idyllic islands of the Maldives across the Southern Indian Ocean to Cape Town via the Seychelles and Mauritius. The voyage offers a full complement of academics, allowing students to earn 12 college credits. Additionally, this voyage will prove to be an exciting travel adventure that emphasizes blue-water sailing skills development, lots of SCUBA diving training, and some limited cultural exploration (coronavirus dependent). Sail training certifications for this voyage are issued through International Yacht Training, as IYT offers the only global standard in professional yachting certifications. Students have the opportunity to progress up to the level of Master of Yachts 200 Ton based on past experience and aptitude.

  • Days
  • Credits
  • Students
  • Term
  • Tuition (USD)
Upcoming Semester Information

We’re sorry, but there are no voyages planned at this time. Please contact us for more information.

Life Aboard

Sails Up Anchors Down

USF Accredited Academics

Certification Courses

Activities

  • Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
  • Educational & Cultural Tours
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • Service
  • Personal Time

The Voyage

Your Adventure Starts Here
Welcome Aboard!

You’ve embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Having already traveled thousands of miles to Malé Island in the Maldives, there’s a newfound sense of excitement and a pep in your step as you exit baggage claim and hail a cab onwards to S/Y Vela and her crew. Once aboard, with introductions made, bags unpacked and various formalities out of the way – spend a moment to take it all in. The beauty of your new home, the adventure that awaits, and the realization that you have made what was once a mere pipe dream into your reality. 4,500 nautical miles, incredible marine life, pristine coral atolls, and South Africa’s big five lies between you and Cape Town. You’re officially part of the crew now…..relish the challenge ahead.

semester-at-sea-orientation

Learning the Ropes
8-10 days

Early on day two, we cast our lines and the journey begins. As with all Sea|mester voyages, the first week to ten days of the program is a crash course on how to be successful in your new environment. With the guidance of our staff, you’ll learn the in’s and out’s of how to live, work and learn in such close quarters with others – from sailing to cooking and everything in between.

Those new to scuba diving will spend quite a bit of time underwater working towards the PADI Open Water Certification. Those arriving with more experience will get reacquainted with the underwater world by taking a few refresher dives.

During the first week, you’ll also have your first lectures for each of the four college-level courses. While the structure of the syllabi might look familiar, you’ll quickly find that learning from the deck of a boat couldn’t be more different.

Sample Trip Itinerary*
Start Location End Location
Malé Island, Maldives (MLE) Cape Town, South Africa (CPT)
Area Ports of Call
Maldives Malé, Kudabados, Kuda Bandos, Kuda Hura, Rasfari, Kudabados, Hithadhoo, Addu City
Seychelles Silhouette Island, Mahé, Praslin, La Digue
Mauritius Port Louis
South Africa Richard’s Bay, Durban, East London, Mossel Bay, Cape Town
*Please note that all destinations are weather dependent and subject to change.
Play Video
Seamester Scuba Diving
Exploring the Underwater Realm
10-15 Dives

This journey frontloads as much diving as possible towards the beginning of the trip where you’ll sail over some of the most pristine reefs our planet has left. If you’re new to diving, you’ll earn the PADI Open Water Dive Certification as well as the Advanced Open Water Dive Certification.

Depending on time, conditions and student interest, many groups also earn the PADI Rescue Diver certification. If you’re already an experienced diver, you can work all the way up to the professional Divemaster certification. If you feel that scuba diving is a passion, this is definitely the voyage to consider.

Maldives3
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.

Maldives1
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The Maldives’ unique geography is mesmerizing. Reefs that offer bands of color, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and make our decision on which to hop between based on the goals of the program that day.

Maldives2
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is a hub for tropical marine science, as it is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that comes with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.

>Next stop: The Seychelles
Play Video
accredited-academics-seamester
Academics Aboard
9-12 USF Credits

Throughout the voyage, it’s easy to forget that this is College even though academics are an integral part of the experience. Our instructors schedule 3 or 4 lectures, discussions, or labs per class each week and each course includes quizzes, research projects, midterms, and finals.

Learning in an environment that combines academics with experience allows you to truly interact with your education. It brings academics to life, adding relevance and practical application to the material. Learning has never been this fun.

cultural-exchange-study-abroad-polynesia

Cultural Exchange
Connecting People with Places

In some ports of call, locals will hardly bat an eyelash when a white schooner with 31 souls drops anchor in their harbor. Larger cities and resort hubs are accustomed to a degree of transience with up to thousands of foreigners flowing through their streets in a single day. On the flip side, much of the Indian Ocean is out of the way and rarely visited.

As a result, the farther you sail from civilization the more you’ll find the people to be welcoming, cheerful and unfailingly obliging. Whether it’s picking up a beach soccer game with local kids in Durban or lending a hand to the aborigines in the Tiwi islands – you’ll find meaningful connections every step of the way.

2020 07 13
Anchors Down – Seychelles
(7 Days)

After eight days of passage a series of tall granite spires will appear on the horizon. Welcome to the Seychelles!

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa and is home to no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms and the fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D.

Seychelles, one of the world’s very last frontiers, and promises us adventure both above and below the water amidst the breathtaking natural beauty and pristine surroundings still untouched by man.

>Next stop: Mauritius
Study-abroad-south-africa
Anchors Down – Mauritius
(5 Days)

Mark Twain once said, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius…” After another 10 days of exhilarating downwind sailing over rolling seas, you’ll find that this wildlife refuge is the perfect place to find your shore legs again. You’ll get one last taste of tropical diving and discover the island’s seemingly limitless ecosystem in days of exploring the abundant wildlife, lush highlands, and eclectic cuisine.

>Next stop: South Africa
study-abroad-south-africa
Richard’s Bay, South Africa
(1-3 Days)

You will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you finally step foot on the mainland of Africa – take a deep breath, you’ve just crossed an ocean! Okay now get going, there’s so much to experience! Your first stop in South Africa will include a Safari tour of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, shore time, and maybe a chance to catch a rugby or cricket game. You’ll also get a chance to supplement your Marine biology classes with a hands-on shark dissection.

>Next stop: Durban
study-abroad-south-africa
Durban, East London, & Port Elizabeth
(3-5 Days)

With the wind and current coming from the bow, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to seek shelter on shore. As South Africa’s third largest city, metropolitan Durban is a brilliant cacophony of colonial architecture retaliating against art deco buildings which contrast with the contemporary waterfront. You’ll wait for a break in the weather by reconnecting with home, catching some rays on the beach, and exploring the street markets in this fast-paced international city.

>Next stop: Cape Town
study-abroad-south-africa
Cape Town
(5-7 Days)

You’ll feel excitement and nostalgia as you dock Vela for the last time after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. In the shadow of the iconic Table Mountain, you’ll soak in the last moments as a full crew and reflect on how far you have come together. A picturesque hike up the Lion’s Head and an excursion to “penguin beach” at cape point are essential to any Cape Town visit. During the final night out on the V&A waterfront you’ll realize that while the places have been amazing, it’s been the people you met along the way that have made the trip so life-changing.

>Next stop: Real Life
Play Video
seamester-sailing-video
Rite of Passage
Sailing without seeing land

One unique aspect of this journey is that the passages get longer as you move towards your final destination. We’ll follow in the wake of Captain Cook’s first European expedition through this part of the world with stops that look as pristine as they did centuries ago.

As we turn our bow to the southwest outside of Indonesia, the rhythm of the trip shifts. With the fundamental knowledge in place, we now embark on the next phase of the expedition. Days are no longer split between day and night, but rather between on and off watch. You’ll be an integral part of a watch team sharing the responsibility of navigation, bow watch, engine checks, sail trim and steering the ship to its next port.

captains-license-semester-abroad

First Step to Becoming a Captain.
Academics

For those who have the prior requisite experience, a passion for sailing, and hope to work in the maritime industry, all our 80 & 90-day voyages aboard S/Y Vela offer the Professional Skipper and Crew Training course (PSCT).

Typically only 3 to 4 students will choose to take this course. Students have the opportunity to work towards their Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore License by completing the theory portion, which means passing a series of in-depth examinations covering subjects such as Meteorology, Navigation, Tides & Currents, and Collision Regulations.

Seamester Study Abroad Gap Year Brochure

Time to Say Goodbye

The best way to explain what it means to say goodbye after such an incredible experience is to use the words from someone who had to do just that…

“With the date so close, everyone is already talking about what's next, and it’s amazing to hear so many things have changed since the beginning of the trip. We’ve all grown so much, we’ve learned new things, experienced places like Cocos Keeling where very few people have been, we’ve crossed a whole ocean, and the 30 of us have become a family. I believe we’ve all changed, matured, and many of us are forming ideas of our futures. Maybe we all don’t know exactly what we want to be, but we have a better idea of who we want to be, what we want to do with our lives, and where we want to go next.”
Keanna R. Cape Town, South Africa
Day 83
By Emily P.

Still At It

It’s been another rough day at sea here on vela–lee cloths have become our best friends. It seems as though…

Read More
Day 87
By Valentina S.

Bus Tour

We started our day early this morning at 6 am in order to fit everything into our action-packed day of…

Read More
Day 85
By Henry A.

"I Think You Would be a Ball of Yarn"

The program is almost over, and as the days continue to plow forth, utilizing our time together to create our…

Read More
Day 84
By Danar R.

Coming Around the Cape of Good Hope

It was the last time being woken up at odd hours of the night to walk up the companionway and…

Read More
Day 82
By Sam W.

The Code of the Sea

As the familiar timelessness of passage sets in once again and the days blend together, I want to share a…

Read More

Trip Logs

Welcome Aboard!

You’ve embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Having already traveled thousands of miles to Malé Island in the Maldives, there’s a newfound sense of excitement and a pep in your step as you exit baggage claim and hail a cab onwards to S/Y Vela and her crew. Once aboard, with introductions made, bags unpacked and various formalities out of the way – spend a moment to take it all in. The beauty of your new home, the adventure that awaits, and the realization that you have made what was once a mere pipe dream into your reality. 4,500 nautical miles, incredible marine life, pristine coral atolls, and South Africa’s big five lies between you and Cape Town. You’re officially part of the crew now…..relish the challenge ahead.

Sample Trip Itinerary*
Start Location End Location
Malé Island, Maldives (MLE) Cape Town, South Africa (CPT)
Area Ports of Call
Maldives Malé, Kudabados, Kuda Bandos, Kuda Hura, Rasfari, Kudabados, Hithadhoo, Addu City
Seychelles Silhouette Island, Mahé, Praslin, La Digue
Mauritius Port Louis
South Africa Richard’s Bay, Durban, East London, Mossel Bay, Cape Town
*Please note that all destinations are weather dependent and subject to change.
semester-at-sea-orientation

Learning the Ropes
8-10 days

Early on day two, we cast our lines and the journey begins. As with all Sea|mester voyages, the first week to ten days of the program is a crash course on how to be successful in your new environment. With the guidance of our staff, you’ll learn the in’s and out’s of how to live, work and learn in such close quarters with others – from sailing to cooking and everything in between.

Those new to scuba diving will spend quite a bit of time underwater working towards the PADI Open Water Certification. Those arriving with more experience will get reacquainted with the underwater world by taking a few refresher dives.

During the first week, you’ll also have your first lectures for each of the four college-level courses. While the structure of the syllabi might look familiar, you’ll quickly find that learning from the deck of a boat couldn’t be more different.

Play Video
Seamester Scuba Diving
Exploring the Underwater Realm
10-15 Dives

This journey frontloads as much diving as possible towards the beginning of the trip where you’ll sail over some of the most pristine reefs our planet has left. If you’re new to diving, you’ll earn the PADI Open Water Dive Certification as well as the Advanced Open Water Dive Certification.

Depending on time, conditions and student interest, many groups also earn the PADI Rescue Diver certification. If you’re already an experienced diver, you can work all the way up to the professional Divemaster certification. If you feel that scuba diving is a passion, this is definitely the voyage to consider.

Maldives3
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.

Maldives1
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The Maldives’ unique geography is mesmerizing. Reefs that offer bands of color, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and make our decision on which to hop between based on the goals of the program that day.

Maldives2
Anchors Down – Maldives
(28 Days)

The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is a hub for tropical marine science, as it is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that comes with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.

>Next stop: The Seychelles
Play Video
accredited-academics-seamester
Academics Aboard
9-12 USF Credits

Throughout the voyage, it’s easy to forget that this is College even though academics are an integral part of the experience. Our instructors schedule 3 or 4 lectures, discussions, or labs per class each week and each course includes quizzes, research projects, midterms, and finals.

Learning in an environment that combines academics with experience allows you to truly interact with your education. It brings academics to life, adding relevance and practical application to the material. Learning has never been this fun.

cultural-exchange-study-abroad-polynesia

Cultural Exchange
Connecting People with Places

In some ports of call, locals will hardly bat an eyelash when a white schooner with 31 souls drops anchor in their harbor. Larger cities and resort hubs are accustomed to a degree of transience with up to thousands of foreigners flowing through their streets in a single day. On the flip side, much of the Indian Ocean is out of the way and rarely visited.

As a result, the farther you sail from civilization the more you’ll find the people to be welcoming, cheerful and unfailingly obliging. Whether it’s picking up a beach soccer game with local kids in Durban or lending a hand to the aborigines in the Tiwi islands – you’ll find meaningful connections every step of the way.

Play Video
seamester-sailing-video
Rite of Passage
Sailing without seeing land

One unique aspect of this journey is that the passages get longer as you move towards your final destination. We’ll follow in the wake of Captain Cook’s first European expedition through this part of the world with stops that look as pristine as they did centuries ago.

As we turn our bow to the southwest outside of Indonesia, the rhythm of the trip shifts. With the fundamental knowledge in place, we now embark on the next phase of the expedition. Days are no longer split between day and night, but rather between on and off watch. You’ll be an integral part of a watch team sharing the responsibility of navigation, bow watch, engine checks, sail trim and steering the ship to its next port.

captains-license-semester-abroad

First Step to Becoming a Captain.
Academics

For those who have the prior requisite experience, a passion for sailing, and hope to work in the maritime industry, all our 80 & 90-day voyages aboard S/Y Vela offer the Professional Skipper and Crew Training course (PSCT).

Typically only 3 to 4 students will choose to take this course. Students have the opportunity to work towards their Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore License by completing the theory portion, which means passing a series of in-depth examinations covering subjects such as Meteorology, Navigation, Tides & Currents, and Collision Regulations.

2020 07 13
Anchors Down – Seychelles
(7 Days)

After eight days of passage a series of tall granite spires will appear on the horizon. Welcome to the Seychelles!

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa and is home to no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms and the fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D.

Seychelles, one of the world’s very last frontiers, and promises us adventure both above and below the water amidst the breathtaking natural beauty and pristine surroundings still untouched by man.

>Next stop: Mauritius
Study-abroad-south-africa
Anchors Down – Mauritius
(5 Days)

Mark Twain once said, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius…” After another 10 days of exhilarating downwind sailing over rolling seas, you’ll find that this wildlife refuge is the perfect place to find your shore legs again. You’ll get one last taste of tropical diving and discover the island’s seemingly limitless ecosystem in days of exploring the abundant wildlife, lush highlands, and eclectic cuisine.

>Next stop: South Africa
study-abroad-south-africa
Richard’s Bay, South Africa
(1-3 Days)

You will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you finally step foot on the mainland of Africa – take a deep breath, you’ve just crossed an ocean! Okay now get going, there’s so much to experience! Your first stop in South Africa will include a Safari tour of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, shore time, and maybe a chance to catch a rugby or cricket game. You’ll also get a chance to supplement your Marine biology classes with a hands-on shark dissection.

>Next stop: Durban
study-abroad-south-africa
Durban, East London, & Port Elizabeth
(3-5 Days)

With the wind and current coming from the bow, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to seek shelter on shore. As South Africa’s third largest city, metropolitan Durban is a brilliant cacophony of colonial architecture retaliating against art deco buildings which contrast with the contemporary waterfront. You’ll wait for a break in the weather by reconnecting with home, catching some rays on the beach, and exploring the street markets in this fast-paced international city.

>Next stop: Cape Town
study-abroad-south-africa
Cape Town
(5-7 Days)

You’ll feel excitement and nostalgia as you dock Vela for the last time after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. In the shadow of the iconic Table Mountain, you’ll soak in the last moments as a full crew and reflect on how far you have come together. A picturesque hike up the Lion’s Head and an excursion to “penguin beach” at cape point are essential to any Cape Town visit. During the final night out on the V&A waterfront you’ll realize that while the places have been amazing, it’s been the people you met along the way that have made the trip so life-changing.

>Next stop: Real Life
Seamester Study Abroad Gap Year Brochure

Time to Say Goodbye

The best way to explain what it means to say goodbye after such an incredible experience is to use the words from someone who had to do just that…

“With the date so close, everyone is already talking about what's next, and it’s amazing to hear so many things have changed since the beginning of the trip. We’ve all grown so much, we’ve learned new things, experienced places like Cocos Keeling where very few people have been, we’ve crossed a whole ocean, and the 30 of us have become a family. I believe we’ve all changed, matured, and many of us are forming ideas of our futures. Maybe we all don’t know exactly what we want to be, but we have a better idea of who we want to be, what we want to do with our lives, and where we want to go next.”
Keanna R. Cape Town, South Africa
Day 83
By Emily P.

Still At It

It’s been another rough day at sea here on vela–lee cloths have become our best friends. It seems as though…

Read More
Day 87
By Valentina S.

Bus Tour

We started our day early this morning at 6 am in order to fit everything into our action-packed day of…

Read More
Day 85
By Henry A.

"I Think You Would be a Ball of Yarn"

The program is almost over, and as the days continue to plow forth, utilizing our time together to create our…

Read More
Day 84
By Danar R.

Coming Around the Cape of Good Hope

It was the last time being woken up at odd hours of the night to walk up the companionway and…

Read More
Day 82
By Sam W.

The Code of the Sea

As the familiar timelessness of passage sets in once again and the days blend together, I want to share a…

Read More

Trip Logs

Need More Information?

Vocational Certifications

Depending upon previous experience, students will have the opportunity to complete a number of the following certifications during their voyage.

  • Seamester is a PADI 5 Star Resort

    Scuba Certifications

    Open Water Diver
    Advanced Open Water Diver
    Rescue Diver
    Divemaster
    Learn more about scuba
     

  • Seamester is an International Yacht Training partner school

    Sailing Certifications

    International Crew
    VHF Operator
    Navigation Master
    Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore Theory
    Learn more about sailing

  • Seamester Safety Certifications

    Safety Certifications

    Emergency First Response - First Aid & CPR

Need To Know

What is the main focus of this voyage?

Our 90-day Global Sea|mester Voyages offer the most comprehensive experience in terms of the geographical area covered and both academic and vocational classes and certifications earned. During the program, up to 12 academic credits are offered for the Seamanship, Student Leadership, Oceanography, and Marine Biology classes taught aboard. In addition, there are several vocational courses offered for those looking to further their professional development in the maritime industry. For more information on our classes, please visit our academics page.

What Experience Do I Need?

None at all. All you need is a great attitude and a willingness to fully participate in every aspect of the experience.

Who will be my staff?

Six professional staff members live aboard full-time. There will be the Skipper, the First and Second Mate and two Marine Biologists (who are typically scuba diving instructors) and a sixth staff member who could also be an EMT or someone with other special skills. Take a look through our team page for more information.

Meet our team

What's the weather like?

The Maldives are hot and sunny all year round, with average temperatures of 23ºC-31ºC but since it is coming to the end of the Monsoon season it is likely that we will see varying tropical weather conditions during our southbound offshore crossings to the Seychelles and Mauritius. Once in South Africa, we will sail in cooler weather with highs in the mid 60’s and upper 70’s (degrees fahrenheit).

How do I communicate with home?

When we are ashore or close at anchor there will be plenty of opportunities to communicate with friends and family at home. That said, while aboard we have guidelines as to when it is appropriate to use your personal communications devices. The environment we strive to create relies heavily on each individual remaining focused on the group and our experience. Being tied to the modern world of “instant communications” can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to the personal and group processes aboard.

Cell Phones: Check with your provider before you go, but so long as you have a sim card, your cell phone will likely work in most global locations.

Internet: While our vessels are not wifi equipped, another way to communicate is by email, text, Facetime or Skype using shore side internet. The internet is often free or available to purchase in most of the locations that we visit.

What is the food like?

Both on the vessel and ashore, the answer is up to you. The vast majority of the meals during your trip are prepared and eaten aboard. For meals aboard, each person on the crew takes a turn as head chef to plan and cook the meals for an entire day with the help of another person acting as sous-chef. We all work to stay within a budget, with both students and staff responsible for stocking the vessels. We endeavor to accommodate everyone aboard while providing what any alumni will tell you, was a great dining adventure. During your free time ashore you will have the opportunity to eat more adventurously. With the voyage starting in the Maldives we’re sure that you’ll have the opportunity to experience Dhivehi cuisine (Traditional Maldivian dishes), heading out. Once across the Indian Ocean, the African influence will be in full force with Biltong jerky being a favorite snack on the last trip Vela made to South Africa.

What's the typical age of the students?

Sea|mester students range in age from 18 through to about 22. Average age is right around 20, yet this can change from voyage to voyage. Give a call through to the office if you are interested in learning more about the student crew.

Nitty Gritty

Flights
Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

This voyage is scheduled to:

  • Start in Malé Island, Maldives (airport code MLE)
  • End in Cape Town, South Africa (airport code CPT)

When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

Recommended Travel Agents

a. TRC Travel Center

Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

b. Global Marine Travel

An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
Email: info@flygmt.com

When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

  • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
  • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
  • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

Travel Docs & Immunizations
Passports

Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

Visas

US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

  • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
  • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
Immunizations

We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

Tuition
Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
  • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
  • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
  • Full room and board
  • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
  • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
  • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
  • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
  • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $85 | 40-day voyages = $150 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $225) LEARN MORE >
  • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
  • In-country COVID-19 testing fees – Dependent on voyage itinerary and individual country health requirements. Expect $200 to $500 USD.
  • PADI required course books and materials
  • Personal spending money
  • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >
Voyage Itinerary

Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages, you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

  • Flights
  • Travel Docs & Immunizations
  • Tuition
  • Voyage Itinerary
  • Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

    You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

    This voyage is scheduled to:

    • Start in Malé Island, Maldives (airport code MLE)
    • End in Cape Town, South Africa (airport code CPT)

    When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

    Recommended Travel Agents

    a. TRC Travel Center

    Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
    Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
    Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

    b. Global Marine Travel

    An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
    Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
    Email: info@flygmt.com

    When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

    • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
    • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
    • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

    c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

    We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

  • Passports

    Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

    Visas

    US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

    Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

    Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

    • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
    • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
    Immunizations

    We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

    The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

  • Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
    • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
    • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
    • Full room and board
    • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
    • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
    • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
    Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
    • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
    • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $85 | 40-day voyages = $150 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $225) LEARN MORE >
    • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
    • In-country COVID-19 testing fees – Dependent on voyage itinerary and individual country health requirements. Expect $200 to $500 USD.
    • PADI required course books and materials
    • Personal spending money
    • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >
  • Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

    For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages, you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

    With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!