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Fit in a Fun Friday – Snorkeling

We just got back from our second cruise ever and I realized that the best parts this time around were the shore excursions.  One of those excursions was with Moby Dick Tours to snorkel 5 miles off the coast of Grand Cayman.  It was amazing!  We spent a little while snorkeling near the reef and then went snorkeling and swimming with tame stingrays…it was spectacular.

Moby Dick Tours even has a floating bucket of squid that you can feed the stingrays if you want.  Plus they were half the price of the same Carnival Cruise excursion and they made sure to get us back to our ship on time.  It was the best $40 per person I have ever spent!

For anyone who doesn’t know, snorkeling requires a mask, a snorkel, and fins if you want to get around quickly.  It takes a few minutes to get used to the mask squishing your cheeks, but it ends up being totally worth it.  If you have a good seal, you can snorkel for hours without swallowing any water or getting sea water in your eyes.

The stingrays were so used to being handled and fed that they were completely harmless.  The large ones are 3-4 feet from tip to tip and are the females.  The males are about the size of a frisbee.  They all have a barb the size of a long nail, but they have been fed into a docile submission…they are 100% friendly.  I even accidentally stepped on one and he didn’t seem to mind too much, especially after I fed him some squid as an apology.  🙂

Here’s my favorite pictures from the barrier reef 5 miles of the coast of Grand Cayman and Stingray City:

 

They run their "wings" along your legs to sense your location and look for food.

 

This is the best picture of an entire stingray that I could get.

Have you ever been snorkeling?  If you have, did you enjoy it too?  I’ve heard scuba diving is even better, but it was cost prohibitive…for any of you that scuba dive, is it worth it?



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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19 thoughts on “Fit in a Fun Friday – Snorkeling

  1. Yep, snorkeling is great to do have a great dive! I’ve actually been to grand cayman also did some dives and snorkeling there. I’m have my advanced SCUBA diver license and I’m temped to go for my dive masters. If I ever get my diver master, I’ll be happy to train you BITFS!! ;-D I’ll give you a great rate too :-p Anyway, scuba diving is great, I’ve seen baby sea turtles, sharks, amazing coral, fish, and eels.

  2. JOBs Money, I’ll take you up on those scuba lessons if you live anywhere near Houston, lol. 🙂

    I want to see baby sea turtles and eels…

  3. Money Reasons, yeah, I wouldn’t have stayed out if there was even one jellyfish…I don’t mess around with those things…

  4. To me it’s like apples and oranges. Scuba vs. Snorkling. I’ve been a diver since … lets just say a long, long time. I’ve only dove in a select few places tho’ so I won’t say “Oh, this is a better place than that place.” It’s all good. Fresh and Salt, but saltwater obviously the best. We just happen to be in Cozumel at this very moment too, so I’ll comment on the subject. Diving IS very nice. can be pricey if you get all the gear, pay for the various trips to various reefs, and the transportaion et al. to get there. For many years I dove religiously. So much to see when one is down 40 to 100+ feet in beautiful waters. I haven’t went diving since I’ve been married (13 yrs. now). Wife and I go “snorkling” … she isn’t certified and doesn’t have the “want” to be … she says snorkling lets you see nearly everything you can see diving, just not in the same size/range. I agree and disagree with that. 🙂 Gliding next to a huge spotted grouper or seeing monster crabs way down below in a SeaSpace World is jaw dropping .. Corals and other structures seen deep underwater is like nothing one will ever see. But, as we are doing this week & next, we go snorkling. In 5ft. of water you can see so much and still stand up. Snorkling is great! (ex: Palancar Beach from the shore) If you know where to go, you can see everything you’d see in a Very Large aquarium. Florida Keys has so many shallow places to go snorkle … so many bridges and open water. Never seen a shark in Coz, but Florida has plenty. You can snorkle for hours and hours, diving needs a tank refill about every 20 to 60 min’s depending on your depth and breathing habits. Alot of safety habits are learned when one gets certified to dive. PADI and NAUI are probably the main 2 cert’s to get. (I’m PADI). Cave diving, wreck diving, off shore rig diving … a lot of ways to get ones fix. But snorkling (Imo) is the easiest and cheapest by far. Find the right spot and you can stay for hours … days even. No tanks, no decompression and still in shallow waters. I find snorkling in 30 ft or more of water a bit … well, why snorkle then? Just get certified and Dive. If it’s shallow, norkle, otherwise, dive.

    est way to find out of diving is for you would be to find a friend, and a deep swimming pool. Rent a tank, get an octopus regulator so you can both breath from the same tank .. and go deep. Sometimes, mouth breathing isn’t for everyone and some even get claustriphobic (spelling?). Another thought, people swear by ‘night diving.” I’m not a thrill seeker and I enjoy living. But many swear it’s the greatest experience in the world. I’ll settle for hearing their stories as there are plenty of people who come to ZCozumel and dive and then congregate at the local eat and drinkery places to talk about their days and nights of diving. Past and present and future. But, no matter what, snorkling is still the most bang for the buck. 🙂
    Have Fun.

    Never did the stingray trip but looks like a great experience. We see them regularly but not as personal that that. Maybe one day.

  5. ODWO, you make diving sound awesome and not nearly as scary as I view it. Let me just say from someone NOT in Cozumel right now, I’m jealous as hell. 😉

    The cost is probably an even bigger factor for me. $5-$10 snorkel rentals seem like a steal compared to the hundreds I hear diving can cost. Maybe I’ll take up diving when we have a little more socked away…although diving around shipwecks sounds really cool! Night diving sounds stupid…or at least a little too risky for me.

    I think you and Mrs. ODWO have a great point, snorkeling really does give you great bang for your buck. 🙂

  6. Hello Crystal!

    Beautiful photos. I used to live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and I LOVED snorkeling. Do you know of any good spots in Galveston or along Texas’ coast? I’d love to do some more.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  7. Amanda, sadly, there is no close “good” snorkeling areas around here…the water in just too cloudy. This is why I’m probably going to keep talking hubby into cruises – activities for him all the time and snorkeling for me in the ports. 🙂

    Of course, there is also some good snorkeling further down the Texas coast in clearer water (about 4-5 hours from Houston) and in Florida (which you mentioned). 🙂

  8. Crystal, sounds like you had a great time there.
    That stingray is precious.

    You know my stance on scuba diving (woo hoo). One benefit you get when you dive deeper, the coral is still colourful. Some of the corals on shallow water are bleached because of its proximity to the surface.

    Another thing about scuba diving is the physical sensation of being underwater; since our body is 55-60% water. Renting the gears will not cost too much, but don’t go for the cheapest ones.
    Cheers.

  9. Bytta, no, you like diving in the beautiful waters over there?! Who would’ve thought, lol. 😉

    I hadn’t thought of the sun bleached coral…hmmm. I also hadn’t thought of the fact that it would feel cool. I’ll definitely go diving sometime, I just don’t know if it will be at the next opportunity or in a few years…we’ll see.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting! BTW, I am jealous of how great any of the water activities must be over there!!!

  10. Ms. BFS – next time you cruise to Cozumel, I’ll be able to poinbt you in the direction of some very nice snorkling. In fact, jujst a short walk from the cruise ship terminal/dockage. I’m assuming you pull in @ the southern terminal, not the one right in town. We snorked 100 yards from the So. Terminal today. Beautiful, lotsa’ fish, lotsa’ coral and in 4 to 12+ f. of water.. the nicest was in 4′-6′ and probably 50′ from the street. The best poart was .. they had $2/day lockers and a bar/restaurant right there. About 6 of those really … The current was easy. Someone said the deeper “dive” was better .. and it is for the most part, but this is even better than Chankanaab (and free). You can also head down to the southern end of island to Palancar Beach and snorkl right off the beach. The waiter will bring you the best Pina Colada we’ve found on the island. All natural ingredients, no mixes. ANd the water is probably 3′-7′ max. Great stuff .. but the 1st place was actually better. At zPalancar, the drive would cost and the guy @ the parking lot worked for tips. We gave a $5 to make sure opur vehicle was ntouched (I guess, he was a old Mayan guy).

    … Chankanaab is nice, we have free passes for that – going tomorrow – but it’s a depper snork .. but still very nice. There’s many more places too .. I’ll fill you in later on where.

    Hope Mr. BFS has a fun BD party. 🙂

  11. ODWO, you better let me see some pictures when you get back! That sounds amazing! We would LOVE to find better snorkeling than at Chakanaab since they cost nearly $20 a person just to get in the gate. I also love the locker idea…I just feel safer having the key around my neck. I am so jealous of you and your wife right now. 🙂

    Hubby had a great party! Last guy left at 3:30am, lol. We’re having another board gaming party August 14th to celebrate his grad school graduation. We’ll be using our new propane grill (bday gift from his parents) to grill up some chicken. If you two ever come back from Cozumel, you are more than welcome! 🙂

  12. We’ll plan to be there! Gaming party.

    We went to a few different places yesterday & today for snorkling. All from right off the street/shore (here in Cozumel). We could see the cruise ships parked 100 yrds. away. Walked in, right off the boulevard. Ernesto’s Fajita factory to the (new) pier they are building (w/lighthouse) .. all within a 1 mile stretch. Almost all have lockers, we asked, and all have easy water access – walk in, walk out. And most have sa bar, restaurant to get a drink, etc. safterweards. We felt planty safe leaving our things in the locker (too). Beautiful rock formations w/corals growing on it. Saw urchins, anenomies sea fans, fier coral, brain, elk, etc…. Took two cameras worth of pix’ (54) too, will develop and post on FB once back home. 🙂 Not as nice as being @ 80′ of water (no doubt) but still worth the price we paid.

    And … we got free passes to Chankanaab. FREE. But still would’ve had to rent a floatation device (BC) just to get in the water. We ended up walking thru’ the eco-sections and looked at the flora and fauna there (instead). Then, we drove to one of the above locations and had access to all we needed. We have mask, snorkle, fins already. As much as you and hubby go on cruises, you might want to think about buying your own. Snorkling Fins .. make sure they fit right, are relatively cheap. Buy a GOOD mask tho’. Good fit means leakage or no leakage (worth the extra expense! And it’ll last years and years. Cya’ll soon!

    Unless we decide to never ever come back to civilization again. Hmmm, retiring in Mexico? Pesos are 13 to 1 now … hmmm. Cheap!

  13. ODWO, you are not allowed to stay in Cozumel. I forbid it because I’d have to hate you and your awesome snorkeling!

    It sounds like you two are having an excellent time! Have you made it over to Xcaret yet? I look forward to seeing your fb photos.

    I’ll see you when you’re forced to come back and work for a living. 🙂

  14. You took these photos? Really good! Looks like you saw some cool activity.

    We did some snorkeling while in Belize – the highlight was Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Saw turtles, rays, plenty of fish, barracudas, nurse sharks, and even a moray eel!

    Glad you had such a great time & thanks again for the guest post. It’s currently the most popular article!

  15. @FinEngr, oooh, I want to see turtles! Yep, I took all these photos with a few of those disposable waterproof cameras from Walmart. 🙂

    I’m so glad my post is being liked! I’ll have to check it out when I get home (our blocking software at work is particular and I can’t get to your site…).

  16. My family and i are considering taking a Carnival Vacation cruise in Progresso, Mexico, as well as Cozumel. It is a 5 Day get-away going out of Mobile. Anyone have any experience with this type of voyage? I cannot come across much information about Progresso

  17. Me and my wife always wanted to go to a place where we can not only enjoy the vacation but also our kids as well. After a number of discussions, we have finalized plans to go to Cayman as our next vacation destination for a week. What I like about this place is the idea of going Snorkeling in Grand Cayman.

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