packing tips and snorkling

Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:54 PM
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packing tips and snorkling

I know it seems to be a strange combination, but I am hoping for more info. than I saw so far. We are a couple in our mid fifties. We will be gone 10 days and don't want to do laundry or wear the same thing every day. Our tour company(Caravan) says smart casual for evenings. Besides clothing what else is essential. For snorkling we are going to bring our own masks and snorkles, should we bring our fins or can we rent them easily? Anything to watch for good or bad while snorkling?
steffek is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:06 PM
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tully is offline  
Jul 24th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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I will happily send you my packing list and snorkeling advice. Please post a reply to this message with your destination and a few more details or email me at [email protected].
TC is offline  
Jul 24th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Sorry I wasn't more specific , beach areas seem to be Tortuguero and Jaco. Thanks for any help.
steffek is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 02:31 AM
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TC, would you please be so generous and post your snorkeling list and advice here. many posters could use your help. TC, was that you who a few years back posted a great list, advice and report after your trip to Kenya? That was very helpful to us and if I never thanked you before I would like to do it now. Thanks
Incognito is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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Yes, that was my packing list for Kenya. So happy to hear that it helped you. This is a great board. I've received so much wonderful advice from other travelers and am always happy to hear that my bit has helped someone as well. Thanks for the note.
TC is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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Here is my advice on snorkeling. We go to Cozumel Mexico every winter and this is what I've learned over 12 years snorkeling there:

-If you love to snorkel, I highly recommend that you consider buying your own snorkel gear.  In Cozumel, many reefs are very accessible from shore.  The cost of renting gear is high in any resort area ($7 - $10 per day for mask & tube only) and I worry about the cleanliness.  The quality of rented gear isn't the greatest either.  It's very important to get a proper fit and seal on the snorkel mask otherwise you'll have salt water in your eyes all the time and will hate the whole experience.  The current can be somewhat strong in some areas, so fins are usually a good idea.  SportMart (or other equal quality sporting goods store) has adequate sets of snorkel equipment (mask, tube, and fins) in the reasonable price range.  I've even seen them at Target at times.  Quality equipment is a good investment.  In dive shops you will pay more. Masks will start in the $50 range, tubes are $20+.   A good bet is a silicone mask.  This is the softest rubber with the best seal.  You want it to fit snug but not tight.  The mask should never leave deep marks on your face after you wear it.  Test the seal by placing the mask on your face (without the strap around your head) inhale through your nose and hold your breath.  If the mask stays on your face, its good, there are no leaks so water won't get in.  Make sure that the snorkel tube mouthpiece is also made of soft silicone rubber.  It will be in your mouth and rubbing on your gums, you want it to be as soft as possible.  A good Internet source for snorkel equipment, one we've used for many years isnbsp; Divers Direct at

-If you're not a great swimmer or are a bit nervous about getting into the water to snorkel, consider using a water skier's belt.  It is a simple floatation device that fits around the waist.  It adds just enough buoyancy to let you feel really secure, yet doesn't hold your head up at the exaggerated angle of a collar style life vest.  I'm not a good swimmer but I used one for years and it worked well.  Now I use a shorty wet suit.  These can be rented at dive shops for about $10 per day.  This gives me the added buoyancy and added warmth.  Even though the climate is tropical the water can be very cold if you stay in for more than a few minutes. I just can't say enough about the beauty underwater.  Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel secure enough to enjoy the spectacular sights. 

-If, like me, you are blind without your corrective lenses consider a dive mask with correction (much like "cheater" drug store reading glasses) or consider contacts for snorkeling.  The water gives a bit of magnification, but not enough to make things clear if you're dependent on corrective lenses.

-Try night snorkeling.  You can rent large underwater flashlights from most dive shops for about $10.  Many reef creatures only venture out at night - like amazing blue octopus.

-I suggest that you purchase an underwater guidebook for the trip.  A good, inexpensive one is "Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas" by Paul Humann & Ned DeLoach.  It is a small (80 pg.) paperback book that costs about $12 in the US.    This book has great color photos for the fish, coral and sea creatures that you will encounter.  Being able to identify the underwater inhabitants really increases the fun.  ISBN #1-878348-10-8 published by New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida.   Phone: 904-737-6558. Also available at for $10.47. The "look inside" section of the Amazon listing is a bit misleading. Most of the book is photographs like the "excerpt" on page 13. The look inside part makes it appear that the book is mostly drawings. Not so.

-If you want to take underwater pictures, those one-use cameras work pretty well with these caveatsnbsp; only use them on very sunny days, don't try to take pictures of things more than 10 feet down.  Light is lost underwater very quickly and the further down the object the darker your picture will be.  More than 10 feet and its just not worth the effort.  The cameras are much cheaper at K-Mart in the states, than at souvenir shops on the island.  Kodak will develop your photos with a special process for underwater photos.  It restores a lot of the color.  You have to ask for it when you drop your film.
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