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New to Snorkeling....have questions.


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Just some general snorkeling suggestions. I am not sure about Bonaire, but I have been snorkeling in Belize and Puerto Rico and have suggestions. 1. Wear swimming or surfing shirts to prevent sunburn on your back- even if you repeatedly put on spf 90 sunscreen. And 2. If you wear eye glasses for distance, buy prescription goggles online. They’re not too expensive. The first time I went, I got a terrible blistered sunburn and though had a spectacular trip, I couldn’t see much without glasses. A learning experience! I love snorkeling!

 

 

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Thanks Nanface! Very good point! I am a fare-skinned redhead, and my wife is blond. We burn easily. Looks like I will be investing in some swim or surf shirts

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I cannot repeat this often enough - please wear reef safe sunscreen. Most of the stuff people buy kills coral damn near instantly.

 

. . . and once coral's gone, it takes decades (if ever) to come back.

 

Think about your place on the planet and the actions you take.

 

 

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Thanks again, everyone, for the awesome advice! After exchanging emails with Ulf Pederson at Woodwind, we've gone ahead and booked Woodwind even though we are a year away. He was extremely prompt in getting back to me with questions I had. After reading 5-star review after 5-star review, we decided we didn't need to look any further. The price was great - and far better than the cost of most shore excursions. We are doing the 3-hour tour that includes 1.5 hours to snorkel (I think this is on the main island, not Klein Bonaire), and just $55. We can't wait! :D

 

You won't regret it - as others have said, it was the best snorkeling we've ever done! They do take you to the reef at Klein Bonaire, you snorkel from the boat. They give everyone the "snorkeling basics" talk (good reminders even for those who've snorkeled before) and split up into groups of about 6, each with a guide. They also have all the equipment (including prescription masks and rash guards) if you don't have your own. Wonderful folks!

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You won't regret it - as others have said, it was the best snorkeling we've ever done! They do take you to the reef at Klein Bonaire, you snorkel from the boat. They give everyone the "snorkeling basics" talk (good reminders even for those who've snorkeled before) and split up into groups of about 6, each with a guide. They also have all the equipment (including prescription masks and rash guards) if you don't have your own. Wonderful folks!

 

WisCruiser...I know we will be pleased! I cannot believe how many different posts Woodwind recommendations appear in. Never seen anything like it. They seem to anticipate and take care of any need. I know they have been very responsive to my questions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Smokinmike...where does one find reef safe sunscreen? We definitely do not want to be doing anything detrimental to the environment. Is it readily available? Or is it a special order kind of thing??

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DENIE - I apologize for not replying sooner. I'm on an extended shore vacation on Cozumel and doing a bit of diving here - in addition to enjoying the island itself.

 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about how we can protect our ocean resources. The short answer to where you can find a reef safe sunscreen is go to your LDS (Local Dive Shop) where you should be able to find some safe sunscreen. If there is no dive shop in your area, you might use Amazon to obtain it - use their search function for "reef safe sunscreen". I use Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultralight Sunscreen Fluid - it doesn't seem to have all the bad components that are detrimental to reef systems.

 

Here is a list of some of the chemicals in most OTC sunscreens that harm coral- you might use the list to check your sunscreens.

 

Enjoy your trip to Bonaire - it's a beautiful place with some of the best diving and snorkeling on the planet. It would be nice if we can keep it that way.

 

"Between 6000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers into coral reef environments each year. Even more sunscreen pollution can reach coastal areas via waste water discharges. Up to 10% of the world's coral reefs may be threatened by certain chemicals found in most sunscreens.

 

Four common sunscreen ingredients were shown to kill or bleach coral at extremely low concentrations (as low as one drop in 6.5 Olympic sized swimming pools).

* Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3) - Sunscreen ingredient that disrupts coral reproduction, causes coral bleaching, and damages coral DNA. Oxybenzone is found in over 3500 sunscreen products worldwide.

*

* Butylparaben - Preservative ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.

*

* Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) - Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.

*

* 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) - Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching. Allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan."

 

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I burn easily and love to snorkel. I have found that a rash guard shirt is really worth the investment. I absolutely loved Klein Bonaire..it was as if you were in an aquarium, I had thousands of fish in my vision at all times. It was the most magical snorkeling experience of my lifetime. I can't wait to return.

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  • 1 month later...

You won’t be disappointed with Woodwind. We were first timers on a very windy day (40 knot) and at the dock they offered cancelling with free refunds for anyone not comfortable. We went anyway, and they found a spot we could be dropped in the water and the current would bring us to our pick up spot, the guide was in the water with us so the fear of being newbies was lessened by having a pro with you. Today we booked a cruise with a stop in Bonaire and snorkelling with Woodwind was my husbands first choice of excursions. Our first trip was also with our 12 and 14 year old first timers.

 

 

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We went with Woodwind on our first day on Bonaire last year. The trip was very informative and relaxing. After spending several hours with Dee and staff we felt comfortable snorkeling on our own the rest of the week. I would recommend this excursion - food, drinks and activity were excellent. We are booked again for another snorkel next week when we are on Bonaire for our two week vacation.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I hope this hasn't been asked and answered a dozen times but I have yet to see it. I have snorkel booked with woodwind and I'm a first timer. Where will we keep our 'stuff'? cruise card, cash, id?

On their boat. We've never worried about leaving our bag of things at our seat while we were in the water.

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We loved the snorkeling in Bonaire and went with the Mushi Mushi booked through the ship. Best snorkeling of my life. We were in a calm area off shore and the variety of species was amazing. Great crew too. Simple to get into the water from the catamaran which had steps in the back down to the water. I wore a rash guard and swim tights which I bought online. Loved the swim tights; they cut down on the sunscreen use and kept me warm and dried fast when back on board the boat.

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I hope this hasn't been asked and answered a dozen times but I have yet to see it. I have snorkel booked with woodwind and I'm a first timer. Where will we keep our 'stuff'? cruise card, cash, id?

 

It is a relatively small Catamaran (it might technically be a trimaran). You will sit almost anywhere along the sides of the open deck and can just put any stuff (we bring a backpack) behind you over the cabin. There is always somebody on the boat and nobody will touch your stuff. In the event of rain (hopefully this does not happen) Dee would let anyone just put their stuff below (to keep it dry). Once you experience the Woodwind you will quickly understand its a friendly (and very well run) operation. Dee does accept payment via credit card (I think only Visa and MC) or cash and she will not collect money until you are almost back in port.

 

Hank

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  • 4 months later...

Just a note, I posted earlier in this thread, I took someones advice about Woodwind... They were AMAZING!! Best excursion I have ever done! The staff was fantastic, I was a first timer and never felt uncomfortable. They can supply you with anything you need from masks to swim shirts and flippers. I HIGHLY recommend Woodwind!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

The reviews for Woodwind sound fabulous. We have a group of 8 going next February... we will be checking to see if they have openings. Two questions.... how many people do they take on an excursion? Some of our group likes to go but are unable to snorkel (lung/breathing issues)... will they still enjoy the time? Any places they can get in water even if they aren't snorkeling?

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The reviews for Woodwind sound fabulous. We have a group of 8 going next February... we will be checking to see if they have openings. Two questions.... how many people do they take on an excursion? Some of our group likes to go but are unable to snorkel (lung/breathing issues)... will they still enjoy the time? Any places they can get in water even if they aren't snorkeling?

 

 

 

When we went there were several beginners and a few that were not strong swimmers. Dee and her crew were great with everyone. I’m not sure about a place to get in the water when not snorkeling. I’d suggest emailing woodwind with any questions, they are quick to respond and very helpful.

 

Maryanne

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The reviews for Woodwind sound fabulous. We have a group of 8 going next February... we will be checking to see if they have openings. Two questions.... how many people do they take on an excursion? Some of our group likes to go but are unable to snorkel (lung/breathing issues)... will they still enjoy the time? Any places they can get in water even if they aren't snorkeling?

 

You might want to consider taking the ferry to Klein Bonaire, just off shore. That's pretty much where all the snorkel boats go too. This way the snorkelers can walk up the beach and drift snorkel back down and the others can just hang out in the water. Much cheaper also. Ferry can be picked up right at the pier basically. But, there is nothing on the island so take water, snacks, etc.

 

We haven't decided between Woodwind or just going to the beach and snorkel on our own.

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The reviews for Woodwind sound fabulous. We have a group of 8 going next February... we will be checking to see if they have openings. Two questions.... how many people do they take on an excursion? Some of our group likes to go but are unable to snorkel (lung/breathing issues)... will they still enjoy the time? Any places they can get in water even if they aren't snorkeling?

 

Not sure of the exact number, but its approximately 25-30. Her boat tour is primarily about snorkeling. But we recently heard that they are replacing the Woodwind with a new catamaran that appears to be a bit smaller then their current boat. So the numbers might drop to around 20. Keep in mind that one can stay on the surface when snorkeling so its not like the problems one can encounter when SCUBA diving. But if one prefers to just stay on her boat that is fine. There will also be times when they could just get in the water and swim in the area of the boat. We have been on her boat 4 times and there is usually at least 1 who stays on the boat.

 

Hank

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