1st time snorkelers

Jan 13th, 2003, 03:47 PM
  #1  
xxx
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1st time snorkelers

We are taking our kids and parents to GC in March. My parents especially are hesitant about snorkeling. We enjoyed it so much (the reason we are coming back) and want everyone to have a positive 1st experience. Where do recommend we take them on the island. We're staying on 7 mile beach. Any tips to make it less scary for my slightly claustrophobic mom?
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 04:06 PM
  #2  
Sandy
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I would recommend Rum Point. Very shallow, calm water, and the reef is about 20 yards out in about 4ft of water. Perfect for first time snorkelers!! There's a nice variety of fish and an occasional stingray and baracuda. I think that would be a nice place to start and by the end of your trip, she'll be doing Cemetary Reef and Eden Rock.
Sandy
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 04:09 PM
  #3  
Robert
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Teach your kids how to snorkel before you go down. Dive ops often conduct snorkeling training sessions in neighborhood pools (at high school pools, YMCA, etc.) for very inexpensive prices, and good quality snorkeling gear is included. If the dive op doesn't have a manual to augment the teaching, get the manual "Snorkeling...Here's How" by Bob French. Your kids will learn about the buddy system, clearing the face mask of water, purge valve techniques, how to effectively use fins, etc. You can also purchase vests which easily pack into suitcases, and pretty much eliminate the danger. Your kids, and their grandparents, will be much more at ease before you touch down in the Caymans. Robert
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 07:18 AM
  #4  
xxx
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Thank you for the suggestions. Would you recommend buying our own equipment or renting there? We will be there for a full week and being so close to the beach I think the kids will use it every day.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 07:25 AM
  #5  
Barry
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I regret having purchased my own equipment and dragging it with me on vaction. It took up space in my luggage and apparently wasn't as good of quality as the equipment that was provided by the excursion operators. My mask, which was made of a stiff plastic and not rubber, kept leaking and I lost a contact!

If you know that you can rent or are going on a guided excursion then that option may be best. Otherwise make sure that the equipment you buy is of reasonably good quality.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 07:47 AM
  #6  
Diane
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My first experiences with snorkeling were not good because of an improperfitting mask which leaked. My sister and her husband also had this problem with previously used, rental masks. We all purchased masks from different Carribean dive shops. These people are true professionals who deal with this daily and their prices are competitive with state side.

Thereafter we had no further problems and have enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Reasure your mom that the water is very bouyant and divers must carry weights in order to sink to the bottom. Also reassuring is that records show thatshark attaks are extremely rare in the Carribean. There has only been one in the Virgin Islands in the past thirty years and I am not sure if there has been any in the Caymans

Pretrip course instruction is an excellent suggestion. If your resort is along the beach, I would suggest practices there for confidence building. In addition a float or vest is most beginners. Don't be embarrassed to use one. Lots of people do.

Being from the midwest, I am so glad that I persisted. I would have hated to have passed through this life and have missed the beauty below the sea.

Have a wonderful trip.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 08:51 AM
  #7  
Debbie
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Without question I would bring my own equipment. Since you will be on 7-mile beach you will probably want to use it every day. We did. Renting them each day can add up, you may get a mask that doesn't fit properly, or a snorkel that hasn't been disinfected properly (believe me, it happens).

A couple years ago we bought cheap mask/snorkel sets (didn't know for sure that my son would use it). But before our next trip we went to a dive shop and bought good sets. We're not divers, so we didn't get top of the line, just good sets that fit properly with snorkels that drain out the bottom and fins that fit properly. Your equipment can make or break your snorkel experience.

As for where to take them, Rum Point is probably the most calm place where they can see different types of fish. And for mom, if she's a little claustrophobic, be sure she's in shallow water and is comfortable with "floating" before her face goes in the water. If she's not a swimmer I'd suggest a snorkel vest. You can find one on the internet for about $40.

Have fun!
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 08:53 AM
  #8  
anon
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When we first got started snorkeling we practiced in a swimming pool. Have your mom take the snorkel and flippers in the pool where you are staying and swim around. She will get used to the equipment and sensations,which will make her first trip easier.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 01:06 PM
  #9  
Amy
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Basic, definitely buy own equipment here or there, have the mask/fins fitted for you will truly make all the difference in the experience. And practice does make perfect. My boyfriend is not a great swimmer, and fist snorkel experience in the Keys, not the most wonderful. Got him the right equipment, practiced in the pool (with a noodle) and now is a pro (but did get him a vest for our trip to GC this spring as we want to hit all the spots and not just on a guided excursion). Enjoy, it truly is a beautiful, peaceful experience.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 01:18 PM
  #10  
susan
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Hello,
We just returned from grand cayman over new years. We are a family of 6. Kids ages 15 to 5. We stayed in the rum point area and I can say its quite a hike from seven mile beach. We love to snorkel, bring our own equipment and searched the island the whole week for good snorkeling spots. You can search the internet and print out certain snorkel spots. With your mother I would not try eden rock, located by the eden rock dive shop in Georgetown. You need to use a ladder to enter and it is very slippery. Smiths cove was very rough when we were there and to murky to see anything while snorkeling. The best snorkeling we found was not listed in our maps. Go north out of town past the cemetary to church street. Turn right to a nice sandy beach. Reefs are 10 feet out with all sorts of marine life. We have a 300 gallon salt water fish tank and my teens thought this snorkeling site had the nicest variety of fish. Rum point has great snorkeling to but a real hassle toget to unless you use the ferry. Good luck and have a wonderful vacation.
Susan
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 03:20 PM
  #11  
Mary
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To XXX, Don't let Susan scare you off. Rumpoint is the perfect place for snorkeling, and it's not a hassle to get to. You can take the ferry from Seven Mile beach and there's only one road from Georgetown to follow. It's not hard at all. Our kids loved it there and it's very different from the other side of the island. Also, smiths cove is a nice snorkel site. It must have been a bad time of year when Susan was there.
 
Jan 15th, 2003, 03:48 AM
  #12  
Robi
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I was there twice last year and I am not a swimmer but I did learn to snorkel.
I started with a trip to Stingray City with Captain Marvin. He had a guy named Eric that was fantanstic for teaching me - by the end of the trip I was in the 35' deep waters in Devils grotto. Just make sure that she has a vest and that the vest has a strap that also goes between the legs to keep the vest from floating up around her head and she'll love every minute of it. As she becomes more comfortable in the water she can let some of the air out of the vest but just make sure she has that extra strap. Have fun.
 
Jan 15th, 2003, 07:27 AM
  #13  
MARY
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WE BOUGHT OUR SNORKLE GEAR BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT WE DID MOST. THE MASK WAS 90.00, BUT FIT WELL. THE REST WAS A GOOD FIT TOO. DO GET SOME SORT OF FLOTATION DEVICE IF YOU ARE NOT A STRONG SWIMMER. CEMETARY REEF WAS CHOPPY THE DAY WE WENT AND WE DRANK THE OCEAN. TURTLE BAY WAS BY FAR THE MOST PEACEFUL AND INTERESTING. NOT MANY PEOPLE GO THERE TO SNORKLE SINCE IT IS KNOWN FOR SCUBA HAS A LADDER ENTRANCE WHICH I FIND NICE. KIDS AND ELDERLY MAY NEED SOME HELP IN AND OUT BUT IT IS GREAT. EDEN ROCK IS BEAUTIFUL TOO. BOTH OF THESE SITES GET DEEP, A LITTLE INTIMIDATING TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT BIG SWIMMERE. THE LIFE VESTS WILL GIVE THEM CONFIDENCE. YOUR FOLKS MAY HAVE FUN JUST WATCHING YOPU HAVE A GOOK TIME. DON'T PRESS THEM. IHE INTERNET HAS A GREAT DESCRIPTION OF THE DIVE AND SNORKLE SITES. I DON'T RECALL THE WEBSITE, BUT IT IS THERE. HAVE FUN. TAKE LOTS OF MONEY. ITS WORTH IT.
 
Jan 15th, 2003, 07:24 PM
  #14  
Vicki
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I have my own equiptment. I bought it at a dive shop years ago and it was the best investment I have ever made. Definitely don't buy your mask at a sports warehouse type store but fins and snorkel from a sports warehouse will be fine.

Carrying the gear is not that bad either. I have a small backpack and I can fit the mask and snorkel in there and I can fit my fins and dive gear bag in my suitcase (24" roller).

One other plus to having your own equiptment - you know how sanitary it is. I have been on cruise ship excursions where they simply put everyone's snorkel in a bucket of water at the end of the trip. Eewwwww!!

 
Jan 16th, 2003, 03:59 PM
  #15  
jim
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If you plan to snorkel a lot, I woud take my own. Snorkeling in the ocean is really different than in fresh water, you will float more easily. I would wear a vest however, since your experience appears limited. The kids will love stingray city and the water is only 4 to 5 feet deep on the sandbar. Don't worry about the stingrays, they are docile as long as you respect them and their territory. With a little experience, you and the kids will start enjoying the water and the beauty beneath, both at 7 mile beach and stingray city.
 

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