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Safe Snorkeling on Grand Cayman!

(This video titled, “Snorkeling Rum Point, Grand Cayman,” was taken by Joshua Turner and posted on his “Snorkel Blog.”)

You don’t have to scuba dive to see and experience Grand Cayman’s plentiful ocean life and coral reef formations. Hands down, Grand Cayman is one of the best islands in the Caribbean for snorkeling!  The water is so much clearer than other islands.

Although you don’t have to take classes or become certified to snorkel, you’re still swimming in open water and it’s imperative that you have good equipment and know a few skills.

I personally recommend purchasing a well-fitting mask and snorkel from your local dive shop before flying.  Red Sail Sports and White Sands Water Sports both rent snorkel equipment, however, they generally carry only one brand of masks and snorkels and that brand may not properly fit the shape of your face.  Not only is a leaky mask uncomfortable, but it can also be unsafe, causing you to feel panic and requiring assistance from your boat crew.  Even if you hate to spend the money on what you think will be a one-time experience, you’ll never outgrow your mask and snorkel and the benefit of being comfortable in the water is worth every penny and will enable you to make wonderful memories of your adventure.

Except when swimming with the stingrays, fins are a must when snorkeling anywhere in Grand Cayman. The high salinity of the Caribbean allows you to easily float on the surface but there may be subtle currents, even near shore.  Fins give you power and allow you to swim with ease.  If you don’t want to spend the money on fins or pack them in your suitcase, it’s easy to rent a pair of fins once you’re on island.   Just make sure you get a good fit.  Fins should fit snugly on your feet, almost tight but not uncomfortably so. Don’t get into the water with loose fins.  Once in the water, fins will loosen a bit on your feet anway.  You don’t want to lose a fin in the ocean.

Now that you have well-fitting equipment, you’ll want to practice in your villa or hotel pool before getting into the ocean.  Most of our Grand Cayman Villas and Condos rentals have pools so that shouldn’t be a problem.  Make sure your mask doesn’t leak.  Make sure your fins feel good.  Get a handle on what it feels like to have water in your snorkel and to calmly blow it out.

There’s so much more to safe snorkeling.  The website, Tropical Snorkeling has a great article titled, “First Time Snorkeling, Essential Tips for Beginners.”

We also recommend a private snorkel charter for groups of 12 people or less.  Not only is it cost effective, but you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and take your time on the reefs.  You’ll be able to enter into the water when you’re ready and not be rushed by strangers waiting in line to jump in behind you.  You’ll see so many more fish by more going in a small group instead of with the masses.  You’ll also be able to stay for as long or as little as you like on a snorkel site – floating along and taking it all in.

There are many locals with boats who advertise private charters but not all private charters are equal in quality.   Silver Thatch Charters is our sister company that offers a 27 foot new Boston Whaler and an Australian Captain, George, who knows all of the best spots.  Captain George is a certified SCUBA instructor, CPR certified, and has a great personality. He will tailor the charter to your personal requests and make you feel at home.  George also knows all of the best snorkel sites and will take you where other groups can’t go. To inquire, email reservations@silverthatchcharters.com

You don’t have to SCUBA to experience Grand Cayman’s crystal blue waters, but you do need to take some time to read about snorkel safety and  practice with your equipment in order to be safe and get the most out of your snorkeling experience!