So how do you begin to look for that expeditionary experience?
You can start from scratch and plan your own, or you can join up with the increasing numbers of dive operators and organisations offering adventurous expedition-style dive trips.
The DIY approach
Unless you're Ms Allrounder Extraordinaire with a small voice inside that repeats 'I vant to be alooooone' you will need a team.
Most expeditions will require a range of different tasks and skills - researching the location, handling equipment repairs, sorting flights and accommodation, approaching sponsors, dealing with nasty insects...
If you're lucky enough to be part of an existing dive team then you can work out what need doing and agree who's going to do it. Though putting yourself in charge of sunbathing will probably not go down too well when the rest of the group are wrestling with gas fills and equipment transportation.
Know your stuff!
The more ambitious your expedition, the more involved the planning will have to be. 'Its a good idea to take a Dive Marshalling and Planning course' advises Clare Peddie, BSAC's expeditions officer. BSAC skill development courses cover just about everything you'll need from chartwork and position fixing through to first aid and compressor operation. Though sadly the course in 'Persuading someone else to lug your equipment' seems to have been overlooked.
'Make sure you really know your stuff' advises Clare 'because there will probably be moments when you need to stand your ground' Oh yes, the dreaded washing-up rota...
If you like the idea but aren't quite sure what you're letting yourself in for, then a top tactic is to find out from people who already organise expeditions. Look out for talks by the Britannic 98 team, Kevin Gurr or Gavin Newman... and ask for advice.
But keep some perspective: top expeditions will involve years of planning by an established team, but the huge majority of expeditionary dives are nowhere near this involved. If you're already feeling overwhelmed and in need of a double cappucino, just go to Plan B...
Join up with a professional expedition
Mad Dog Expeditions
Christine Dennison set up her company Mad Dog Expeditions six years ago and has the following top tips for women in search of adventure:
1. Set yourself a goal for your expedition - anything from discovering the ship's wheel on a wreck to advancing your diving skills, having a goal will make the expedition more exciting
2. Organize yourself and your gear. Take what is appropriate for the kind of diving and conditions you're likely to meet
3. Decide where and when you want to go
4. Research the local area, the best way to get there and the best time to go. Work out where you can get supplies, talk to any dive shops in the area and any divers who may have been there before
5. Plan on being as self sufficient as possible: never assume you can find what you may need.
She also recommends leaving your boyfriends phone number behind 'You can do this ALONE!! And besides it will be good for him to listen to your diving tales instead of his buddies'.
Mad Dog offer expeditions to destinations such as the Arctic, the Amazon, Bikini Atoll and Grenada.
'Our trips are formed around the idea of taking divers into realms that had been previously reserved for scientists and explorers. We believe that people love to partake in more adventurous divng if led by experts and trained to the level required to make it happen safely'.
Contact Christine at Mad-Dog Expeditions, 132 E. 82nd St., New York, NY 10028 * Tel 001 212-744-6763www.mad-dog.net
Or get involved with expedition organising through a dive training organisation
Clare Peddie, the British Sub Aqua Club's Expeditions Officer sees expeditions as a fantastic way to develop your personal skills and advance your diving abilities.
"Being on a BSAC expedition gives you a chance to do some advanced diving, often with very skilled and experienced people. Its almost impossible not to learn - its a real fast-track: tremendously rewarding and great fun. People come back with a sense of personal achievement."
BSAC offer a popular programme of expedition diving to suitably qualified BSAC divers with destinations such as the Phillipines, South China Seas, the Red Sea, Cote D'Azur as well as adventurous diving off Ireland, Scotland and the South Coast.
They are also on the look out for divers willing to organise expeditions.
Clare's top tips:
The relationship with the skipper of the boat is paramount
Research and plan - you'll be taking responsibility for making the decisions
Overfill your expedition by 150% - there will be drop-outs
Never lose your temper - its far better to just take the piss until you get what you want
Email Clare on Clare.email@example.com or write to her at BSAC HQ, Telfords Quay, Ellesmere Port, South Wirral, Cheshire
Details are also on www.bsac.com/world/expeditions/expeds.htm
Is it you?
So, at the end of the day is it really for you? Christine Dennison sees many advantages for women interested in going that bit further 'I highly recommend expeditionary travel, it is a very rewarding and life enriching experience, and you never know who you may meet along the way!'