Snorkeling without a tour

Posted By: tcsax

Snorkeling without a tour - 02/20/08 07:12 PM

Where is the best place to go snorkeling on Caye Caulker off of the shore without using a tour guide? Thanks for any info!
Posted By: colomojo

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/20/08 08:28 PM

I've heard you can snorkel right at the split - we'll be back in May and will go to CC for a full day or 2
Posted By: Cooper

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/21/08 04:10 AM

You can snorkel at the split you need to check daily when its slack tide, theres a few hours daily when there is no current and its great. Spotted eagle rays, gray rays,barracuda, small tropical fish, lobster, eels.,and several nurse sharks that live under the cement pilings, but it does not compare at all to the reef, hard to beat that.
Posted By: O'Leary

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/27/08 12:56 PM

We want to rent a kayak and wonder if we can take it out to the reef, then snorkel. Has anyone done this?
Posted By: Cooper

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/27/08 02:01 PM

yes people do it but not as many as you would think, water can be choppy, its calmer at the reef. Most people kayak on other side of island. You have to keep a heads up for larger boats speeding by, especially water taxis. You will also have to pay park fees if you are asked, or seen. you cant tie off on the coral so will have to take an anchor, make sure to anchor only on sandy areas. Be strong paddlers.
Posted By: skubakat

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/27/08 05:54 PM

I've also wondered about using a kayak to get closer to the reef for snorkeling/diving. Instead of anchoring, could you maybe tie a line to yourself and the kayak and just tow it along with you?

Of course, I wouldn't recommend this method unless you were staying INSIDE the reef, on a calm day. Gotta use SOME of that brain matter that the good Lord gave you. Hon's remarks below are more akin to what I was thinking.
Posted By: nix

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/27/08 08:15 PM

I'm no expert and I have no idea what you're swimming skills might be, but I think tethering yourself to your kayak is a bad idea. My son and I just spent a week on CC (Feb 13-18) and we dove on the ocean-side of the reef. We were in a 30' dive boat getting tossed around like a Coke bottle. I can only imagine how difficult a kayak would be to control, especially if you were tethered to it and snorkelling.

The reef is about 1 mile from shore, so you're going to be paddling quite a ways to get it. If you try to go to the ocean side of the reef, you're going to experience very rough, deep waters. The waters are very calm on the island-side of the reef, but they're also very busy with other boats.

I think "biting the bullet" and paying someone to take you is a better (safer) bet. We snorkelled the swash, the coral gardens and shark-ray alley for US$25 per person (that price included the requisite parking fee). That is a common fee for the island tour companies. We were quoted US$22.50 per person by Mario's tours for the same tour, but we opted for French Angelfish Tours because of a time issue.

When you get to CC, talk to the various tour operators there. I'm sure they'll cater to your needs. French Angelfish adjusted their departure time for us, so I'm sure they'd adjust the stops, if you're not interested in the rays.

If you go to French Angelfish Tours, tell Marleni that Rahn sent you!! Also, ask if Heber can take you out.... they're a new business on Caye Caulker and they're great people!! Good luck and no matter what you decide to do, GO SLOW! grin

Posted By: Hon

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/27/08 09:43 PM

I don't have any experience doing this from Caye Caulker but I've done it several times in San Pedro. If you are a good paddler and swimmer and pick a reasonably calm day, you'll have no problem. I also suggest that you go with a buddy.

2 things - practice getting in and out of the kayak in deep water before you get too far from shore and keep the tether short or the surge may wash the kayak onto the reef...not good for the reef or the kayak.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/28/08 12:14 AM

Don't forget to secure the paddle to the boat. When I was renting kayaks there were three occasions when people had to be rescued because although they still had the kayaks they had lost the paddles.

Make sure someone responsible on land knows where you've gone and when, and when and where you're expected back, especially if nightfall isn't too far off. A cellphone in a waterproof bag is a good idea, so long as you've put the numbers you'd need to call into memory.

If all goes wrong expect to have to pay your rescuer and of course for the lost paddle.

And don't forget that current and wind can make getting back very difficult. Be prepared to land somewhere down-current/wind and travel back by land, carrying the kayak.

And never forget the air traffic controller's manta - "lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine".
Posted By: nix

Re: Snorkeling without a tour - 02/28/08 08:59 PM

No worries...just trying to help. smile


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