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by susan alsup
April 27, 2005
My husband, two teenage daughters, and I left on the early sail. The scenery was spectacular, although the water was very murky. I did fine until the craft stopped. The boat began to sway and bob, and thus the onset of sea sickness hit me. I even tried to get into the water, but that was even worse.
Luckily, my family enjoyed themselves, which made the trip worth it. They saw barracudas, sharks, and brightly colored fish. I will remember to take Dramamine next time we snorkel.
From journal Florida Keys Lost
South Hadley, Massachusetts
April 24, 2003
On the way to the reef, the crew gives very thorough verbal instructions on using the snorkel equipment (provided) and also offers the passengers soft drinks or bottled water. Once at the snorkeling spot, the passengers can get into the water either by jumping off the side of the boat or by using the handy stairway that drops down into the water.
Unfortunately, the water was pretty rough the first time we went, so visibility was poor. My husband went again a couple of days later when the water was calmer and got to see a lot of fish and the coral reef. He had a ball. On the way back to the pier, the party really starts. Beer and wine spritzers are served generously, the music is cranked up, and everybody relaxes in the sun for the trip back. I had a great time despite the less than great snorkeling.
From journal So Many Bars..so little time
New York, New York
March 10, 2003
It was a beautiful day, and we sailed out to a reef in the Gulf (at least, that's where I think it was). Upon arrival, we were instructed to avoid certain parts of the dive area, and where to go for the best snorkeling. Unfortunately, after going under water for the first time, I more or less lost my bearings and wasn't really sure where I could or could not go. This, unfortunately, detracted from what I was able to do.
Now, I had snorkeled two days prior so I knew what I was doing and am a strong swimmer. Since you are out in the open ocean, however, it wasn't unusual for a wave, however small, to crash over you as you breathed in, resulting in a lungful of ocean. For that reason, if you've NEVER snorkeled before, don't make this your initiation.
The good was that we got to see quite a few huge eels, fish (barracudas! don't wear a watch!) and all sorts of sea creatures if you were brave enough (and could withstand the pressure) for a 20 foot descent. Some folks even reported seeing some small sharks.
On the way back, they broke out the beer and wine, we watched the sun set, and folks partied till we got back. I must admit, though, I was so tired after 45 minutes snorkeling - all I wanted to do was sleep.
If you're an accomplished water sportsman, it's fun. Novices, not so much. Also a bit of a singles scene if you're into it.
From journal Key West