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Cannel Bay and fear of snorkeling

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Oct 3rd, 2012, 01:57 PM
  #1
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Cannel Bay and fear of snorkeling

After some research and thought I've decided that Caneel Bay might be the perfect resort for our 10th anniversary next summer as it has lush grounds, offers various meal plans (I guess I still want some of the "AI" convenience); is a short taxi ride to Cruz Bay for shopping/dining and of course offers "stellar snorkeling". My husband loves to snorkel but I've never been keen on the idea. I tried it once in Aruba several years ago and quickly ripped the mask off my face in a panic-granted, I didn't try more than once. Frankly, the thought of swimming among beautiful sea creatures doesn't interest me; although my niece tells me "once I get used to it, I'll love it". I love the water....looking at it, floating on it, sailing on it, just not being beneath it. However, It seems silly to book a trip to this resort if I don't partake in this activity. For those who enjoy snorkeling and weren't great swimmers to begin with, is it something just about anyone would enjoy once they become comfortable with the gear?

I also have a deathly fear of heights but forced myself to go zipling last year over the Bavaro forest.....I'd never do it again, but it was exhilarating trying something new.

Thoughts?
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:01 PM
  #2
KVR
 
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Do you have a pool available to you? If so, practice, practice, practice. I am highly caustrophic and in the beginning I had a very hard time staying under and just breathing through the tube. What also helped is to snorkel with a life vest on. That way you can float on top of the water and bob your head in and out as needed. No pool. Try it in the bath tub. It's all about being comfortable breathing through the tube for long periods. Since I got my underwater digital camera in 2006, I have been more able to relax and stay under longer so I can take pics.

On my first and only scuba dive to date I had the same problem with caustrophobia and went to the surface several times, but I did stay under for a lot of it and loved it. I would do it again.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 04:10 PM
  #3
 
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"is it something just about anyone would enjoy once they become comfortable with the gear" YES. i'm not a good swimmer by any stretch and love love love to snorkel.
a couple thoughts -
you don't ever need to be underwater to snorkel. people do dive down holding their breath, but it's not necessary to enjoy the experience.
go to a dive shop and make sure you get help finding the perfect mask (not hubby). it should stay on your face without using the strap when you breathe in through your nose. when you use it make sure not even one strand of hair is under the seal or it will let water seep in. a baffled snorkel is best (won't let water from waves into the snorkel). any flips will do. this is an example of the vest kvr refers to: http://www.leisurepro.com/Prod/RFTSV.html?&&
get used to the snorkel at home - sitting on the couch is fine & might help you "fight" the fear since water is not an issue. then try the tub or pool. if a tiny bit of water gets into the snorkel just lift you head & blow out.
st john is wonderful. caneel is a dream resort for many fodorites so i really hope you decide to try it. you might enjoy a daytrip to virgin gorda to see 'the baths'.
ps aruba NOT known for any good snorkeling. st john known as some of best anywhere
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 09:58 PM
  #4
 
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I'm not sure I under sad. Why ca't you stay at Caneel Bay and not go snorkeling? it would be the same as you not snorkeling at any other resort.

Your husband can snorkel to his heart content and you can enjoy yourself without ever putting your head under water. Now, others here have given you some good advice on how to over come your fear of snorkeling but that may or may not work for you. My spouse doesn't like to snorkel but that's never stopped us from going to resorts where there is good snorkeling, she even accompanies me on numerous snorkel trips without ever going in the water. My point being, you shouldn't discount going to a resort simply because it has good walk-in snorkeling..

Now, if you are not a great swimmer but want to learn how to snorkel consider using a "snorkel vest". They are inexpensive (about $30US) and can be purchased at any dive shop, many sporting goods stores or over the internet. They are small, lightweight inflatable life vests which will provide added buoyancy and give you more confidence. You should then practice using the mask and snorkel in the shallow end of a pool or in knee deep water so you get used to putting your face in the water and breathing through the snorkel tube while you are either standing or kneeling in the water and without actually having to swim. If you get use to doing that you should easily be able to make the transition to swimming on the surface using the vest and snorkel gear. If you are unable to make the transition, don't worry. Many people DON'T SNORKEL - there's no shame in that. Just do what you are comfortable doing.

Anyway, I hope you decide on Caneel Bay, it's a terrific resort even if you don't snorkel.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 07:48 AM
  #5
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Thanks for all the great snorkeling advise and encouragement. Roamsaround , your post was " music to my ears". Every time I read about the greatness of this resort it usually involves some reference to the snorkeling, so I started to feel like "why pay all this money for a premier resort if I'm not into snorkeling....... Which..... Brings me to my next question. If we do choose Caneel, we'll probably wind up in a court side room to fit our budget. Looking at a map of this place, I see its quite sprawling and was wondering how long a walk from this area to the closest beach that's best for lounging, swimming and hobbies cats? (Not necessarily snorkeling) I already know this resort doesn't have beach service so bringing a cooler is a necessity, but which if not all beaches offer a stack of floaties, towels, comfy chaises and availability of kayaks and hobies Also, are there facilities (restrooms) in close proximity to any of the beaches? I get a definite feel from the "Caneel bay-ites" that the rustic, DIY quality of at least the beach area is something they really ENJOY about the resort. I'm hoping a day at the beach at least promises the amenities I listed.

"Set me straight" please
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Oct 4th, 2012, 07:54 AM
  #6
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Thanks for all the great snorkeling advise and encouragement. Roamsaround , your post was " music to my ears". Every time I read about the greatness of this resort it usually involves some reference to the snorkeling, so I started to feel like "why pay all this money for a premier resort if I'm not into snorkeling....... Which..... Brings me to my next question. If we do choose Caneel, we'll probably wind up in a court side room to fit our budget. Looking at a map of this place, I see its quite sprawling and was wondering how long a walk from this area to the closest beach that's best for lounging, swimming and hobbies cats? (Not necessarily snorkeling) I already know this resort doesn't have beach service so bringing a cooler is a necessity, but which if not all beaches offer a stack of floaties, towels, comfy chaises and availability of kayaks and hobies Also, are there facilities (restrooms) in close proximity to any of the beaches? I get a definite feel from the "Caneel bay-ites" that the rustic, DIY quality of at least the beach area is something they really ENJOY about the resort. I'm hoping a day at the beach at least promises the amenities I listed.

"Set me straight" please
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Oct 4th, 2012, 09:30 AM
  #7
 
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I love Caneel and am not big on snorkling....one of my favorite activities is to just float around on one of their rafts. The water is so clear that you can often see many creatures (including turtles). We've primarily stayed at courtside (across from the fitness center) and it's about a 10 minute walk to our favorite, Scott Beach. You can also wait for the jitneys that circle around the property. You don't need to bring a cooler -- there will be one in your room and they'll bring ice every day as well. Depending on the time of year, there's also service on the beach (for drinks and things to eat). There are restrooms in the area of all the beaches. If you're on a budget, one suggestion is to go into town early in your stay and buy sodas, beer, etc. at the grocery store.....much cheaper than buying at the bar/mini-bar.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:50 AM
  #8
 
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A truly beginner snorkeler can enjoy snorkeling at Caneel. If you can float, you can snorkel. From any of the beaches at Caneel, you can wade into the calm water (wear water slippers) and put your face into the water where you are only waist deep and begin to see the fish. Buy a well-fitting mask and water-purge tube before you leave home. The single most important factor is the mask, so you don't get water inside it. If, in the beginning, you snorkel next to, but not over the coral, even if something happens, just stand up and start over. Once you get used to it, you can venture further. It is magical to be in the environment of the sea life.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:53 AM
  #9
 
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P.S. Caneel is paradise on earth. Sprawled over 170 acres and 7 tree shaded white sand beaches within the National Park, so there is no development to be seen anywhere.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 02:03 PM
  #10
 
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I truly hope you can over come your fears and get comfortable with snorkeling. I always say that a lot of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in the Caribbean are underwater....

I brought my GF last year to the Akumal area of Mexico. She is not a strong swimmer at all. We rented her a life jacket so all she had to do is put her face in the water and get use to breathing through the snorkel. It really is quite simple once you do it a few times. After she swam next to a large turtle, she was hooked.

Good luck, and enjoy Caneel....
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Oct 4th, 2012, 06:58 PM
  #11
 
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We went to the area last year for our ten year.
My husband is a big scuba diver and I am so so on the water.
Felt just like you. The thing that helped me was wearing a vest. Not a snorkel one bc you have to blow them up- just a regular ski vest. It made all the difference being able to float and staying on top of water.
I became very hooked and we went out multiple times. Even have another trip planned to another island to check out.
Beautiful area. Enjoy! Practicing close to shore, pool etc might help.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:30 PM
  #12
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Xkenx, I guess that's my problem, I've never been able to float, I sink like a brick..... Probably a combo of anxiety and too little body fat. Mamamo, I think you're right about the vest- will probably make all the difference; Will I be able to use one from the resort(?)
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:32 PM
  #13
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PS. When I said I love to "float" on the water, I meant on a raft ,
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Oct 4th, 2012, 11:06 PM
  #14
 
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JLBRN - you can easily snorkel while floating on a raft. Simply position yourself face down on the raft so that (only) your head extends over the front edge of the raft. You'll be able to put your face (of course you'll be wearing your mask and breathing tube) in the water and see everything below. The rest of your body will be on the raft, high and dry.

Not sure if the resort has snorkel vests but they will probably have regular life vests you can use. The drawback with using standard life vests is they are design specifically to keep you head "out of the water", while a snorkel vest is specifically designed to give you the added buoyancy you'll need and at the same time let you put your face in the water. Do yourself a favor ad get a snorkel vest. They are inexpensive (about $30), take up no more room in your luggage than a tee-shirt and they last for years. Here's a link you may find interesting and will give you and idea what they look like: http://www.snorkelingonline.com/snorkeling-vests.html

If you do a google search for "snorkel vests" you'll find hundreds of links and tons of information.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 05:57 AM
  #15
 
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Also keep in mind that the salt content of the water down there is totally different. In a pool, I sink like a brick. Down there, I don't have to move a single muscle, and I float like a cork. So if you wear the vest, you will be in great shape.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 08:08 AM
  #16
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Thanks so much everyone for sharing your experiences and offering great suggestions, I definitely will get a snorkel vest!
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Oct 8th, 2012, 11:45 AM
  #17
 
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I find the snorkel vest just adds to my claustrophobia; I regret spending the money on it. I can (sort of) tolerate snorkeling with a noodle, and right from the beach...but that's about it. We go out on a charter trip every time we are in St John and the captain always says, some people just won't ever like snorkeling. No big deal!
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Oct 8th, 2012, 11:48 AM
  #18
 
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P.S. If you really want privacy, rent a villa with your own pool and hot tub.
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