Does anyone have ideas for the best snorkeling places for diver who now can't dive.
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Does anyone have ideas for the best snorkeling places for diver who now can't dive.
I am looking for suggestions for the best places to snorkle. After making 594 dives over the last 20 years I suddenly discovered I have breast cancer that has metastasized and that I have tumors in my lungs as well as bronchitis - all a huge blow. I still love the water and hope to be able to do some snorkeling following treatment. We are familiar with the best dive sites in the Caribbean, but have never paid much attention to the best places to snorkle. (Sites with coral you can see from the surface, no surge, good vis, possibility of boat excursions, ect.) If anyone has ideas please let us know.
I have just returned from Hawaii having dived a fair bit of the South Pacific, Greece, France Thailand over the years and I have to say the Manta Ray dive we did 100 yards off shore from the Sheridan on the "Big Island" is one of the best !!!! AND THERE WAS MANY SNORKELING IT AT THE SAME TIME.
This was a BUZZ - Snorkel or dive, you enter the water via a dive boat at dusk, the lights from the Sheridan hotel (no need to stay there as there is no real way to get to the waters edge and shore dive as it is steep and not easy entry) These lights and those place in milk crates by the local dive operators on the bottom (approx 25ft deep with 70ft viz) quickly bring in between 3 and 8 manta rays to feed on the plankton attracted by the light - the thing is , whether sitting on the bottom or snorkeling on the surface, these huge 8ft to 14th wide graceful gentle giants cruise within inches of you, mouths gasping open big enough to swallow you whole then sail off into the dark and then sore back like a fighter jets doing dozens of barrel rolls, within arms length of the snorkelers and divers miraculously missing themselves and all us land lovers. We were all given torches and briefed not to hold our torches too close to our faces as we could well end up with a big Manta Kiss !!! The trick is to hold the torch away from your body and they will come within 6 inches of it to sweep up the plankton. The boats moor only 20 yards from the site which has so many lights, it is more like midday rather than a nite dive (dusk). They say it is one of the top Ten dives in the world ... and I don't doubt it !!! I have some footage that I will try to post. We were there the day after a distant tsunami, so it was a bit surgey, BUT OH WHAT A DIVE !!
For something sheltered, shallow with spectacular reef and visibility, go can't go passed the Maldives.
I'm sorry that you have to go through that. Wish you strength in your fight and that you feel well enough to snorkle and enjoy life as much as you can.
My husband is a non-diver and often snorkled while I went diving, and he had some favourites as well as other people I know.
Bora Bora in the South Pacific was great even for the swimmers - the manta rays were coming right up to the beach. The snorkelling was excellent too for my husband and there was lots of life to see. It is different in that it is mostly hard corals and not that colourful, but it is very healthy and has an abundance of larger sea life. While diving in Raiatea, it had an incredible number of sharks, especially black tip, grey and lemon sharks. Diving in Moorea was fabulous too, again with lots of healthy life and lots of eagle rays. Not sure about the snorkelling in Moorea or Raiatea, but they could be great too. Bora Bora for sure is fabulous for snorkelling. Tonnes to do on all of the islands as well.
My husband loved Belize for snorkellling. The further you go from the mainland, the better. The atolls have amazing, colourful healthy coral and abundant sealife for diving and snorkelling. The Aquarium at Lighthouse atoll was incredible and very shallow. Turneffe atoll at the elbow was incredible too. While diving, I saw multiples of all the sea life imaginable, it was so healthy and abundant. Tonnes to do all over Belize as well.
Cozumel is apparently still pretty good for snorkellers, although perhaps not like it was before the hurricanes. It is recovering though...
My snorkelling experience is in the Mediterranean, the swimming lakes in Germany's capital city of Berlin, La Jolla Cove in Southern California and most recently in my own backyard, the North Sea, eight miles away from where I live in the North East of England. I can't advise, therefore, on locations featuring coral formations, but I have benefited from the therapeutic effects of snorkelling, because five years ago I learned I had prostate cancer, underwent a radical prostatectomy and vowed to pay more attention to my physical health by taking regular exercise and savouring the simpler joys of life to the full. The tranquillity of snorkelling, encapsulated in the glorious morning sunrise on the horizon accompanying my swim, helped me get through the mental and emotional roller coaster that began when my consultant delivered his diagnosis. Continue to think positively and all good wishes for your upcoming treatment.
First and foremost, I am so sorry to hear of your condition, and I wish you all the best. I love snorkeling in Cozumel. For the last 5 years, my wife and I stayed at a condo called Condumel that is located in the northern part of the island. Every morning I would walk out our rear door about 20 feet, and the water was right there. I would snorkel for hours right behind the condo, and believe me when I tell you, I saw just about everything I saw as when I went diving.
But to be perfectly honest, I do not really care where I go snorkeling, as it is the art of snorkeling I love. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have the visibility. But I just love to snorkel, and will do so just about any where. I feel closer to nature when I snorkel than when I dive, and I find that experience to be religious for me. No tanks or regs or heavy weights, just me and my surroundings. I love to go to Rhode Island which is the next state over for me with just my mask finns and snorkel. It makes for a very inexpensive day trip.
I started when I was 5 because I had polio. For a lot of obvious reasons, it was just better for me to be in the water.
Curacao - starting with the Tugboat, one of the best shore dives on the east end of the island. It sits in 20' of water. Divers can go deeper around the point while you snorkel. Moving west: at Varsenbaai - while not a great snorkel spot - I did find about 200 squid just off the dive dock and 3-4 turtles feeding on sea grass in 6' of water about 100 yds. east. The owner said they're always there - it was May 2007.
At Habitat Curacao the "beach" has some coral just offshore. I snorkeled there one afternoon - found a barracuda, a bunch of flounder just off the beach and an octopus hole - marked by coral rubble. All in water you could stand up in. The top of the reef there is only about 30' deep a short swim out.
At Playa Jeremi there was good snorkeling all along a rock-face that bordered the cove. The dive was out past it.
There are countless other sites - most with nice beaches also, Porto Marie was one - like you we were diving so oblivious to them. A divebuddy lives in Hitchcock so leaving IAH at 7AM we were on Curacao by about 1:30 - CO thru Miami.
Another option is Maui. Snorkeling is good at: Wailea Beach, Old Airport Beach, Black Rock and probably a dozen other divesites. Shore Diving Site Listing for: Maui lists divesites that would also be good snorkels.
There wouldn't be a 1/2 dozen Snorkel Bob rental stores if the snorkeling wasn't great there...lol. And you could snorkel off Molokini Crater while others dove. Either with one of the dive operators out of Kihei or one of the big Cats like Pride of Maui or Trilogy - they run combo snorkel/dive trips daily out to Molokini.
Third choice might be the British Virgin Islands - esp. Virgin Gorda. We dove a week with DiveBVI with a snorkeler as part of our group. So we asked them to find dual sites several days of the week. At a couple of them I think he saw more than we did. Several divesites were pinnacles or other rock formations that broke the surface with good snorkeling at the base. - very low current diving also - I don't actually remember any current except at one divesite too deep to snorkel. Around the Indians, Norman, Cooper Islands etc. we often saw snorkelers in the water off private yachts.
Also on Virgin Gorda you've got the famous Baths - one of the more interesting snorkel sites I've seen - it's too shallow to dive though.
To get to Virgin Gorda, fly to St. Thomas - they have fast ferries that run interisland daily - a five min. cab ride to the port and you can be on Virgin Gorda a couple hrs. later.
Last edited by diversteve; April 4th, 2010 at 10:48 AM.
so sorry to hear about your health issues! The answer to your question is Bonaire!!!!
Clear water, very little current and surge if any, tons of fish, just walk out into the water anywhere on the westside of island and you can do fantastic snorkeling. Reefs are very, very close to shore and tons of fish. I think it is exactly what you are looking for! I have had some health issues recently and considered the fact that I might not dive again - so I have considered where I would want to go and only snorkel. Bonaire is where I would go!!!
There are direct flights on Continental to Bonaire, through Houston, on Friday nights arriving on the island at breakfast time.
I have videos of our dive trip there a few years ago but you should watch them as I show how easy the sites are to access and you can see the surface in many shots. One of my most exciting moments diving happened there in Bonaire, at the end of a dive - we had a school of squid ranging in size for 2" long babies to 8" long adults come and join us in water less that 10' deep! We were ending our dive heading to shore and they showed up! We stayed there with them for 5-10 minutes and they put on quite a show for us. We finally headed to shore and 2 adults came with us. When I stepped up on shore one was by my foot in 1' deep water!!! It was one of my favorite dives of my life!!!!
I second Ayisha's opinion for Bora Bora. I went 3 years ago, and the snorkelling where i stayed was so good I only did 2 dives....didn't see the need to spend the money on a dive to see the same stuff I could see with a snorkel around the motu.
Bonaire and Maui also.