So you’re going on vacation, and aren’t sure if you should be going snorkeling, or making that extra effort to scuba dive. Snorkeling is so much easier, doesn’t require the extra training you’ll have to do (and keep doing), and costs a lot less. But everyone makes it seem like you’re missing out if you don’t scuba dive! Well, we went to the Great Barrier Reef, and went snorkeling and scuba diving for almost a week; here is our experience!
We had a great time relaxing in Turks and Caicos. We did a lot of snorkeling, and also tried snuba which offers some of the views of scuba with none of the required training. It was a great way for us to test the waters and see if we wanted to scuba dive. There were lots of parrotfish, as well as a few other sea critters around.
In looking for a multi-day tour of the Great Barrier Reef we found that the majority of cruises are designed for scuba divers, so we were thrilled when we discovered Coral Expeditions and their ship the Coral Expeditions II, which offers itineraries that cater to snorkelers.
This was our first cruise on a small vessel (the ship holds around 50 passengers), and we were pleasantly surprised with the amenities and level of service onboard. The common spaces, including a lounge, dining room and sundeck, were clean and well-maintained. Our cabin on Deck C featured two fixed twin beds with drawers for our belongings, a small closet, and a built-in writing desk. The bathroom was our least favorite part of the room, as we struggled to alleviate the humidity and moisture that would build up after showering.
We would definitely travel with Coral Expeditions again, although next time we’d probably choose a larger room with a double bed.
We took a Caribbean cruise on the Allure of the Seas, and on our shore day in Saint Maarten we visited some of the island’s must-see locales, including the iguana farm, the French/Dutch border, Orient Beach, and Maho Beach to watch the low-flying planes.
On the Moorea Cata Jet tour, we drove a mini speedboat around the island, with a couple of stops to check out stingrays, reef sharks, and a secluded private beach.
On the second half of our Moorea Miti Tour, we enjoyed a delicious lunch on a private beach, followed by some more snorkeling in the crystal blue water.
The Moorea Miti Tour was fantastic. For the first half of the tour, the boat brought us to a shallow sand bar to swim with black tip reef sharks and stingrays. Lots of close encounters with these incredible animals!
On the Aquablue Helmet Dive excursion in Moorea, you breathe fresh air that’s piped into a large metal helmet that rests on your shoulders. You walk along the bottom of the lagoon for about 30 minutes with your guide. We loved seeing fish and coral from this new vantage point!
This was our second excursion with Reef Discovery! We had read and heard such wonderful things about this tour, we booked in twice because we wanted to hedge our bets against the rainy weather that had been hanging around the island. On this tour, the highlight was the alien looking coral gardens. Take a look at the video to get an idea of what the tour is like!
We’d heard such great things about Bora Bora Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery that we booked the excursion twice! We saw myriad species of fish, moray eels, an octopus, eagle rays, and even a manta ray. Take a look at the video to get an idea of what the tour is like! This video is of day 1.
There was a pod of eagle rays that kept going in and out of formation while we were snorkeling above them. We saw them during our first Pure Reef Snorkeling excursion, and then again during our second tour.
The tour guide spotted this manta ray from the boat. I have no idea how he saw it given that it was so far away and blended in with the coral. The manta ray was far, but quite big. It looked like a different species than the ones we’ve seen in Hawaii.
I followed this snowflake moray eel for a few minutes because it was quite cool. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was a snake on land. I’m just glad it didn’t decide to swim up to me. This was during one of our Pure Reef Snorkeling excursions in Bora Bora.
There were so many amazing fish at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui, from under the bungalow all the way to the main beach. There was also a lot of coral which was beautiful. The coral looked different in different areas of the resort, from the beach to different sections of bungalows. The 300 bungalow section looked to be the best place to snorkel to us. We saw a big octopus, lots of fish and a school of eagle rays in that section.