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bobkamusician

"Baby" Snorkeling

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My wife and I, who are not tremendous swimmers (and that's sugar-coating it), are gonna do our first-ever snorkeling when we sail in April.

 

I'm wondering if anyone here knows of places along our itinerary that have snorkeling areas that no deeper than, say, 6 feet, so we can basically stand up if we get in trouble (can't stay afloat).

 

We'll be in Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

 

Please do not point and laugh - everybody starts somewhere! <SMILE>

 

Thanks in advance.

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My wife and I, who are not tremendous swimmers (and that's sugar-coating it), are gonna do our first-ever snorkeling when we sail in April.

 

I'm wondering if anyone here knows of places along our itinerary that have snorkeling areas that no deeper than, say, 6 feet, so we can basically stand up if we get in trouble (can't stay afloat).

 

We'll be in Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

 

Please do not point and laugh - everybody starts somewhere! <SMILE>

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

The ocean can be beautiful but unfortunately it also can be very unforgiving.My personal and professional opinion is non swimmers have no business in water over waiste deep.

 

If you can swim, I would still use an inflatable snorkel vest.As a Dive Master with over 500 logged sives,I consider my water skills to be adequate and I ALWAYS wear a vest when snorkeling.You never know when you may get a cramp or someone in distress may grab on to you.

 

The best snorkeling at HMC will be by boat in about 15-20 feet of water.Snorkeling around the rocks next to the beach is also pretty good---depths of 4-20 feet or so.

 

I have only been diving at Grand Turk but the wall is awesum and I would think they would have a snorkel boat tour.I have only dove at St. Thomas.

 

Hope this advice helps, be safe, and enjoy your cruise.

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You can snorkel from the beach in St. Thomas from Coki beach and Secret Harbor. Check out the info on the ports of call section. I've never been to Coki, but I've read where you can stand up and the fish swim all around you. Maybe this would be good for you until you become more comfortable swimming in the water. Secret Harbor would involve deeper water and swimming.

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@bobkamusician:

From one musician to another, let me give you a heads up. I went snorkeling for the first time in Grand Turk with Moby Dick Tours. It was part of the Sting Ray City adventure which you HAVE to do. The snorkeling was easy and safe. You wear an inflatable vest and it allows you to 'stand upright' in the water if you need to. The water was about 8' deep and the sights were unbelievable. One of the crew members even went down and coaxed a 4' moray eel out from under a rock and played with him while we were watching maybe 10' away. Very cool. After about 40 minutes, we headed over to the Sting Ray sandbar where the water is only 3' deep. The interactions with these gentle and loving sting rays is a once in a lifetime adventure that should not be missed. Check my YouTube video for a first hand look at this incredible experience.

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Wow, that sounded so 70s. <GRIN> That looks majorly amazing. My wife wants to know - why don't they "sting" you? Are they de-stingerized or whatever it's called? De-stingulated? Also, is your handle because you are in music education, or are you a musician named Ed?

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@bobkamusician They don't sting you because they are accustomed to humans and know that they bring food with them. There's an interesting history to this: over 30 years ago, fisherman would stop at that sandbar to clean their fish. The stingrays would gather to eat the 'waste' from the fisherman's cleaning the fish. As time went on, the fisherman would gradually interact with the stingrays and were able to approach them and get friendly. Now, the sting rays associate the sound of boat engines with food coming and have been raised to be friendly with humans as humans pose no threat to them, rather humans represent a meal to them. Over 80,000 people a year interact with them with NO incidents or injuries. They are not destingatized or anything. I even fed them a couple of times. It was a great experience and I highly recommend this to you.

 

My name is because I have owned a musical instrument store in the Los Angeles area. We were the music store featured in the first Wayne's World movie. Remember: No Stairway? - Denied!

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Thanks for the background on this. I had to assure my wife that this would be a stinger-free zone, so I suppose she will be watching me from the sidelines. <SIGH>

 

Ah, Cassell's Music. I lived at the music stores up there (I'm from behind the Orange Curtain). Hoping it doesn't hurt your feelings, my favorite store to hang out at (and buy stuff) was Nadines. And I, too was in music retail, working for Coast Music in Costa Mesa and Whittaker Music in Long Beach.

 

If ya wanna take this offline, reach me through http://bobknight.info/

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We took the "Ultimate Snorkeling" excursion at Grand Turk last summer. They REQUIRE EVERYONE, regardless of your swimming ability, to wear a vest. The guides specifically asked if there were any weak or non-swimmers in the group, and they took those people aside to specifically make sure they were okay in the water. The first spot we stopped was about 8'-10' deep, then we went out to "The Wall", which was about 20'-25' (or 7000', depending on which side you swim on). Yes, the water is over your head, but with an inflated vest, you should have no problems, and they will keep an eye on you. As someone else noted, "The Wall" is something special to see. My DW, who is a timid swimmer, and had never really snorkelled before, enjoyed enough that she agreed to go back and do it again this summer. :D

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Hoping it doesn't hurt your feelings, my favorite store to hang out at (and buy stuff) was Nadines. And I, too was in music retail, working for Coast Music in Costa Mesa and Whittaker Music in Long Beach.
Hey Bob - Doesn't hurt my feelings at all. Those stores are all gone now and I'm in my 35th year of owning a music store that has been in business for 65 years. :D

 

BTW, when is your cruise? And, your wife should not be afraid to swim with the sting rays. My wife even did it and she was dead set against me booking the tour.

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Relax--great snorkeling in St. Thomas for a newbie at Sapphire Beach or Coki Beach or take the ferry to Trunk Bay in St. John. It is easy and you will love it. Buy a disposable underwater camera for about $10 for memories

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Many trips require them, for liability, safety and ease of spotting reasons and, even if not required, they are good for weaker swimmers--and not bad for anyone

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I can swim fine, but the vest made it so much more enjoyable. You can just float at your leisure without having to worry about staying afloat. The vest does not feel cumbersome and I definitely recommend it.

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I am not a strong swimmer either but thoroughly enjoy snorkeling. You are going to have a great time!

 

My husband and I try to find places where we can either walk in from the beach- I can stay close to shore and he can go out as far as he wants or go with a reputable vendor and let them know that I can swim but will not be in the olympics any time soon!!

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I can swim fine, but the vest made it so much more enjoyable. You can just float at your leisure without having to worry about staying afloat. The vest does not feel cumbersome and I definitely recommend it.

 

For what it is worth, conversely, I prefer no vest, but the excursions require them. They do not however, require them to be inflated. You can deflate if like I do, you prefer to be able to dive down. Once caution. Some simply strap around the waist, some have a strap that runs down between your legs and up your back. If you have one with the strap between the legs, beware of it causing your swim suit to cause chaffing :eek:, so don't snug it too tightly.

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I actually felt like I floated too well without the vest. No problem staying up. Then again if you have a snorkel and mask there isn't much need to since you can lay face down and breath just fine. Even 20ft underwater you still float really well and have to put forth a bit of effort to stay down (the further down you go the more you sink due to your lungs being compressed). How much you float does does depend on the person though. I personally wouldn't wear a vest, but it wouldn't hurt.

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If we are shore snorkeling we always rent a vest and just wear it without inflating it. Believe me, I float very well, and am an ok swimmer, but it just gives me peace of mind. I can always inflate it if I get into trouble. The other thing I just learned through a very stupid mistake was to wear fins. Not only did I not have a vest on but no fins. I swam out to be with our group and they decided to head back in. Well, I got caught in a current that I was having a real hard time swimming against. No one was around me and I was just trying not to panic. Finally my son came back to tell me it was time to come in and ended up towing me in. Really! I held on to his foot. (though he didn't have flippers either-just VERY strong) He was a swimmer for 14 years....it paid off. Sorry, I got off on a tangent, and I don't want to scare you...just want you to be smart and it will be the most wonderful experience you can imagine.

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I am pro vest... You have youre attention focused in the water and dont realize where you are headed. I had quite the swim back to shore last time I snorkled lol. Just inflate to your comfort level.

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@bobkamusician They don't sting you because they are accustomed to humans and know that they bring food with them. There's an interesting history to this: over 30 years ago, fisherman would stop at that sandbar to clean their fish. The stingrays would gather to eat the 'waste' from the fisherman's cleaning the fish. As time went on, the fisherman would gradually interact with the stingrays and were able to approach them and get friendly. Now, the sting rays associate the sound of boat engines with food coming and have been raised to be friendly with humans as humans pose no threat to them, rather humans represent a meal to them. Over 80,000 people a year interact with them with NO incidents or injuries. They are not destingatized or anything. I even fed them a couple of times. It was a great experience and I highly recommend this to you.

 

 

While on a marine biology research assignment in Baja (Bahia de Los Angeles) during my last year in college, I stepped onto a tiny stingray very early in the morning that was under the sand near the shore - it's barb went all the way into the middle (fleshy part) of my foot and came back out. Being we were not near any medical facility, I was treated locally by a nurse and it took months to get better. At the time my professor, a well known marine biologist explained that seldom will stingrays sting while they are swimming - their barb is exposed in a downward angle while they are actively swimming. Their anatomy is such that the barb is ready to react when something is coming at it from above when it's under the sand like a foot- not usually when it's swimming.

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