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Quality of Snorkeling Grand Turk vs. St. Lucia vs. Tobago

Quality of Snorkeling Grand Turk vs. St. Lucia vs. Tobago

Old May 25th, 2010, 08:29 AM
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Quality of Snorkeling Grand Turk vs. St. Lucia vs. Tobago

We will be on a cruise and will stop for a day at a number of Caribbean Islands aferthe ship leaves the Amazon, It goes toTobago, St.Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, St. Barts and Grand Turk . We have snorkeled around Provo and Pine Key in the T&C but not around Grand Turk and do not remember the snorkeling off Barbados 25+ years ago to be very good other than seeing turles. Right now my standard as the best in the Caribbean and Bahamas are St. John, Norman and Cooper Island in the B.V.I.'s, Tobago Key with Grand cayman then the WEST End of Curacao and Andros Island..
If you are avid snorkels can you give me your recent experience and if you remember the company that you used at these locations we are stopping at so we can contact them..
Thanks.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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Before the cruise ships starting coming, Grand Turk had some of the best snorkeling and diving in the West Indies. Right up there with Belize and Andros. With a 7000 foot wall just 50 yards off the beach on the west side of the island, plenty of reefs, and a healthy environment, snorkeling and diving were very vibrant. I don't know whether it's changed since then (I was there in 2002 or 2003).

We used Oasis Divers for our various excursions.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 09:27 PM
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Callaloo; Had you also gone out to Salt Cay which is 8-9 miles away. From what I have read the snorkeling there is said to be tops. If you did, how did it compare with the wall snorkeling even if it was 8 years ago?
Thanks.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 04:09 AM
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Sorry, haven't been to Salt Cay.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 05:43 AM
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StanKase, the snorkeling in Salt Cay is superb, some of the best I've done. (Which includes Provo, St. John, Belize, etc) Unfortunately, even though it's only about 6 miles away, no way from a cruise ship to get to it. It's hard to day trip to Salt Cay anyway, and it's only on Fridays, 1 flight at 7:30 AM, returns at 4pm (after the ships are gone.) Other days are only 1 flight per day, at 7AM, which require over night. You can try to find someone to take you over by boat, but expect around $500 for the round trip--and that's if the private party is willing to take you, as everyone in Grand Turk is tied up with the cruise ships.

Again, unfortunately, you have only 2 options in Grand Turk--
1. Ship sponsored excursion for snorkeling. All excursion companies in Grand Turk have an agreement with the ship companies, and if you're on a ship cannot book independantly.

2. Snorkel around some of the closer reefs in front Oasis Divers, but it's just okay. The terrific scuba is closer to the wall, and while you can see it from shore, still far out to swim to. So while I hate to tell you this, you'll have to do a ship excursion.

How many hours are you off the ship? Gibb's Cay excursion is pretty cool-like a mini Stingray City, and there's a little bit of snorkeling on the side. You'd still have time for other snorkeling, as GC is only 2 hours rt.

Email Mitch at Blue Water Divers. He's super to deal with. While he can't take you out himself (he'll be tied up with the ship) he can tell you the best snorkel spots, and maybe suggest a way to reach them.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 09:02 PM
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blamona: It appears you are correct. i have contacted 5 firms including blue water and most are tied up with the cruise ships. I have one firm that is licensed that has a 36 ft. power boat that will take us to Salt Cay weather permitting for $520 for 3.5 hours and 2 stops for snorkeling 1 hr. at Salt and aniother for 40-45 minutes. That is high but at least we get the best there is. It turns out it is just under 9 miles from most marina slips. because the Ultimate snorkel excursion on Oceania is $110/person for 20 people piles into a 32 ft. boat going to Gibbs. we saw rays in indomesia in Match that were said to be 8-10 ft. in width and the smaller ones in Sting ray City so gibbs is no attraction.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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At Gibbs they were small on my last visit. (JAn 2010)
My best Gibbs expierence was Aug 2008, just myself and the boat captian. I had about 20 rays all to myself, what an exciting time! Jan I had to share with 50 other people, wasn't the same. (but still an excellent excursion from a ship compared to other ports of call)

I did snorkel in Bali myself, but for me it was just okay. (maybe where I picked?) You really need to snorkel Fiji and Maldives, they are superb!

See if you can eat lunch at Island Thyme on the trip to North Beach, it really is a quirky island with character (or filled with characters?) like true living in the Caribbean untouched. I enjoyed Salt Cay much more than Anegada.
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Old May 27th, 2010, 03:10 PM
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Blamona; Bali snorkeling was poor IMO. But not far away in Komodo and Bunaken and around Sulewesi we found it to rival the Malaysian Peninsula (Redang Islands) or maybe exceeds it. It definietly beat out Fiji IMO but we have not been to the Maldives.
The Charter will take me along the wall just off Grand Turk. I have a bit of time to decise but I think the depths are 20 ft.+ and I prefer not having to skin dive down each time just to see a fish or eel.
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