Not a massive fan, but rarely is there an escape and traveling to Antarctica is no exception. In fact, there's possibly more paperwork than you'd expect ...
The initial booking form was quite basic with all the usual suspects: name, DOB, address , confirmation of what you wanted to book etc.
Then came the online profile with a sign-in which lets you re-visit the profile to add and complete it - here I filled out my medical history, a full dive history (including any cold water diving), it details what you need to have accomplished and what you were required to prove it. I found cards I hadn't seen in decades – it was fun but photographing and uploading them did take time.
Details included how you're travelling, where you will be staying - these can all be completed nearer the departure, especially useful for flights and hotel, which I left until only a few months before I left.
Next, a Personal Information Form Polar Diving from the actual boat operator and here they really did drill into detail:
- A Polar Diving Checkout Skills List
A list of skills reminiscent of your Open water course with the addition of drysuit skills like ascents & descent without the use of a line, donning & doffing, trim & adjustment in a drysuit.
This quite substantial list had to be signed off by an instructor,- thankfully I had completed the GUE Fundamentals (in my drysuit) with Dive Centre Bondi in December and Duncan, my instructor was able to sign off the paperwork for me.
- Participant Divers Medical Statement
For me to fill out and sign
- Doctor & Divers Medical Statement
This one came with copious notes and had to be signed off by a doctor. It did not need to be a specific diving doctor - but, none the less, I was made to go through a complete check by my own doctor before she was willing to sign the form (far enough) ... so give yourself time to get this done.
- Liability Release Form
No surprise there, even the statement in bold 'there is not hyperbaric chamber in proximity to the dive sites'!
Waterproof Expeditions has been very patient will all my questions. I wanted to see the regulator configuration, which is specific to Polar diving.
I needed know the best way to transfer safely across Buenos Aires (which actually got sent with a sackful of information on the whole trip - Excellent!)
Some questions may seen trivial - What plug sockets do they have on the boat? But actually, it turned out they were European & I had assumed they would be American ... well, you know what they say about 'assume'. It would have been very disappointing to arrive and realise I wouldn't be able to plug anything in!
Get your information as early as you can. Getting a doctor or an instructor to sign off documents can take longer than you think. Rushing to get these things completed is just added stress you don't need!
I'm as organised as I think I can be ... now I just have to remember to pack it all.