About Ocean Adventures Group Tours
The Ocean Adventures Group Tour Philosophy
Ocean Adventures is Birdquest’s worldwide programme of easy-going, comfortable and generally undemanding, ship-based birdwatching and wildlife adventures.
Ocean Adventures tours are exciting, friendly, group holidays designed and guided by a team of leaders whose professionalism, experience and knowledge are unsurpassed. Quality is our watchword and profoundly influences everything that we do. Our guiding philosophy at Birdquest Ltd is quite simple: it is to give you, our clients and friends, the very best, most rewarding and most enjoyable birding holidays possible.
Our tours emphasize quality of birding and wildlife watching: our primary aim is to guide you to those birds and mammals which are truly memorable, localized or hard to find, and often all three. The remarkable field expertise of the Birdquest leaders makes them particularly well equipped to find those sought-after species that are the most important highlights of a successful birding holiday. Our carefully planned itineraries and our leaders’ special skills have earned us a worldwide reputation of which we are very proud.
The Nature of Ocean Adventures Group Tours
Ocean Adventures tours are designed specifically for people who want to spend all, or almost all, their holiday birding, wildlife watching and exploring the world’s wild places. Ocean Adventures tours are arranged and guided with a professional touch and with great attention to quality, yet they are decidedly informal, with a friendly atmosphere. A common purpose and a pleasant mix of people gives Ocean Adventures groups a special camaraderie. We consider those who travel with us as our friends as well as our clients and we do our utmost to make your holiday an unforgettable and highly rewarding experience.
Ocean Adventures tours are exciting bird and wildlife adventures that at the same time are easy-paced, comfortable and generally undemanding. Ocean Adventures tours are planned, wherever practical, to either have a decent break at the end of the day (between the end of activities and dinner) or a longer break at lunch time (in hot countries). However, as the first hours of daylight are by far the most productive and interesting time for observing wildlife, we would like to point out that optional early starts are the norm on almost all Ocean Adventures tours.
As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable holiday that gets one away from the routine back home, Ocean Adventures tours also provide a great opportunity to improve one’s field skills and overall knowledge of birds and other wildlife under the friendly and helpful guidance of expert leaders.
Away from the ships, Ocean Adventures tours usually feature good quality, comfortable or very comfortable, accommodations with en-suite bathrooms throughout. We naturally always give priority to the birding and other wildlife potential when selecting our accommodations, but within this constraint we try, wherever there is a real choice, to choose hotels and lodges that are memorable and enjoyable places to stay in their own right.
While many people like to fill their days wildlife watching with the rest of the group, others prefer to have some time to wander about on their own or take some time to relax. On an Ocean Adventures tour you will not be put under any pressure to ‘conform’ by keeping to the official programme and, so far as the tour itinerary allows, you are most welcome to take time off to do as you please. Indeed our leaders are always very ready to assist, so far as they can, if you want to deviate from the group plans.
There are few birdwatchers who do not enjoy watching mammals and other wildlife. Indeed, encounters with cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are among the most magical moments in the life of an Ocean Adventurer. Although most of our tours are focussed on birds, we always take a keen interest in observing any mammals we encounter, or indeed reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife.
By their nature most of our tours visit regions far from areas of significant cultural interest. On the other hand there are a number of wonderful places which are conveniently visited without detouring from our desired itineraries and which add greatly to the rich tapestry of experiences that a bird and wildlife holiday provides. As a consequence we like to include opportunities to see something of these evocative reminders of a bygone age during appropriate tours.
The leader is by far the most important feature of any group tour. All Ocean Adventures tours are accompanied by one or more professional leaders with the knowledge and experience to make the tour wholly successful. Birdquest/Ocean Adventures leaders know their areas thoroughly and take pride in showing those who travel with them the local specialities. Our constant aim is to try and ensure that every participant on our holidays has a great time and we strive to show every member of our groups as many of the birds found as is humanly possible. Not only are our leaders highly skilled at finding and identifying birds but they are also friendly, competent and approachable individuals who are experts at dealing with the day to day running of the tour, confidently coping with any problems that may arise and so greatly increasing the chance that everything will run smoothly. Leading a birding tour in Europe or North America is one thing, leading one in a developing country where logistical problems are a fact of life is quite another! Our combined experience in the field, amounting to over one thousand foreign trips, is such that we can justifiably claim unrivalled experience in many parts of the world.
Group Size Limits
Our group size limits are generally determined by the size of the vessell we are travelling on!
Would I fit in on an Ocean Adventures group tour?
Participants on our tours range from complete beginners to experienced and expert naturalists, but the majority would qualify as relatively inexpert but enthusiastic! You need have no fear that you will always be the only novice amongst a clique of experts! Level of knowledge is unimportant when it comes to enjoying an Ocean Adventures tour, as our leaders are well able to cater for the needs of all group members and indeed enjoy passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm to those who have only recently been bitten by the wildlife-watching bug. Age is also immaterial on Ocean Adventures tours, provided you are in good health and can walk moderate distances cross-country at a fairly relaxed walking pace. Indeed on most Ocean Adventures tours the walking effort involved is minimal or at least very easy. The age range of the great majority of group members is from the early 30s to the late 70s. The only requirements for enjoying the great majority of our tours are a desire to devote almost one’s entire holiday to appreciating the great outdoors, a sense of adventure and an ability to get on reasonably well with others.
Many of our groups have a distinctly international flavour for, while some 65% of those travelling with us come from Britain, no less than 35% come from other parts of Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. This remarkable international following is the best possible affirmation of the ‘world class’ quality of Birdquest tours.
Bird & Wildlife Photography
Our Ocean Adventures group tours generally provide excellent opportunities for scenic, bird and wildlife photography for those who like to record something of what they have seen and indeed are generallysuitable for those for whom bird and wildlife photography, as opposed to watching birds and wildlife, is the main priority.
Around 95% of those travelling with us are non-smokers and in consequence we ask smokers to refrain from smoking in vehicles and during meals. We also ask them to take care that, when smoking in the field or at other times, they do not inconvenience other group members.
Birdquest/Ocean Adventure's commitment to Conservation
Birdquest is strongly committed to bird protection and to conservation in general. As well as being corporate sponsors of organizations such as BirdLife International, we have raised funds directly for bird-orientated conservation projects in Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Peru, Poland, Russia, Thailand and elsewhere. In some cases the entire funding has come from us, in others we have matched in full the many contributions that we have received from generous Birdquesters who wish to help. Operators of birding or wildlife holidays are particularly well placed to influence governments when decisions are to be made concerning the future of important areas for birds and other wildlife, since the potential income from developing special interest tourism can, in the long term, partly or even wholly offset the potential short-term gain from destroying an area. We keep a close watch on environmental issues in the countries we visit and frequently do whatever we can to support local or international conservation initiatives.
Brochures, Tour Information & Tour Reports
Preparation is an essential part of any holiday and, indeed, most people find great enjoyment in looking up the birds, mammals and places they are going to see and in savouring the delights to come. The tour accounts in our brochures and on our website are unusually comprehensive, something in which we take considerable pride. Our leaders’ knowledge of their favourite countries is generally unsurpassed and we enjoy giving a detailed description of the areas our tours are going to visit and the birds our extensive experience has taught us to expect. We also provide all participants with comprehensive pre-tour documentation, including an annotated checklist of birds and mammals that indicates the probability of any given species being seen during the tour and detailed information about such matters as visas, customs, currency, health, insurance, luggage, clothing, climate, bird books, maps, optical equipment, joining and leaving the tour, flight times and tour routine. A detailed tour report is sent out to everyone after the end of each tour. If you are considering joining one of our tours, you are welcome to contact our office and ask for a copy of the most recent tour report.
It is extremely disappointing, after months of looking forward to a well-earned holiday, to find that a tour has been cancelled due to insufficient interest. Ocean Adventures has an outstanding record for reliability, since the great majority of our tours operate as planned.
What do Ocean Adventures Group Tour Prices include?
Our aim is to provide birding tours that are unsurpassed in quality. Ocean Adventures tours have well-rewarded professional leaders of great ability, carefully crafted itineraries, good quality accommodation and transportation wherever available and no ‘hidden extras’. On an Ocean Adventures tour you can enjoy your holiday without any worries that you will suddenly be faced with extra, unavoidable and perhaps unanticipated expense simply in order to take part in the day to day activities of the tour. Ocean Adventures group tour prices are truly ‘all-inclusive’ and include all field excursions, meals, service charges, tips (including those for local drivers and guides), entrance charges and airport taxes. We also provide unlimited bottled water on all appropriate tours and a limited quantity of soft and alcoholic drinks on all tours. Obviously such a philosophy does not make for temptingly low brochure prices, but we firmly believe that total quality and convenience for our clients is all-important.
Financial security is a vital part of any holiday arrangements. It is a legal requirement that all United Kingdom tour operators protect their clients’ money in full. Birdquest Ltd holds an ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence), No. 2937, issued by the Civil Aviation Authority. This means that we are fully bonded against financial insolvency through this government licensing and bonding scheme and anyone booking an air holiday with us can do so with complete financial security.
If after reading this account you are still uncertain about the nature of Ocean Adventures tours and of Birdquest in general then please get in touch – we will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Photograph courtesy of Quark Expeditions
Magnificent Royal Albatrosses at the nest