On a Galapagos cruise you take a journey through the archipelago, stopping at a range of uninhabited islands. You dock at coves and beaches that are inaccessible by land, which is where guests often find that the true charm of nature is entirely uninterrupted. You swim and snorkel at reefs that only the guides know about and where their knowledge directs you to hangouts for turtles and blacktip reef shark nurseries. The guides are always in the water with you. And their keen eyes help uncover the camouflage that lies below, directing you to marine wonders that you might have otherwise completely missed.
Snorkeling requires much less equipment; a mask that allows you to see the wonders of the underwater world, and a snorkeling breathing tube, typically 16 inches long, that allows you to submerge your face in the water while still being able to access the air above. Some snorkelers may want to use foot fins as well to move faster and with less effort on the surface.
After making sure your equipment works and fits, do a test run. Get used to breathing out of a snorkel. Swim around a pool if necessary. Get used to the feeling first. If you are in a beach, start by swimming around the shallow area before plunging into the deep. By practicing, you are getting yourself used to the feeling of swimming around and breathing through the snorkel. Remember to always keep the top of the snorkel afloat. If water comes in, you can easily blow the water out.
The economy of Ocean Beach is dominated by small, independent retail businesses. Newport Avenue, the main business street, featured family-owned businesses from the 1930s through the 1960s, such as a bakery, drug stores, a book and novelty shop, a shoe store, men's and women's apparel shops, and a family-owned pet store. In the 1960s and 1970s larger stores and shopping malls elsewhere in the city gradually ran the small local stores out of business. Many of the storefronts were then turned into antique stores, and the area is now known as the Ocean Beach Antique District. Also on Newport are restaurants, head shops, tattoo and piercing shops, coffee houses, bars, bike and surf shops, and an international youth hostel. In 1969 Hodad's opened on Newport, gaining national attention in 2007 after appearing on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. There are several small independent hotels in O.B., but no nationally franchised hotels.
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Snorkel design is only limited by the imagination. Among recent innovations is the "collapsible snorkel", which can be folded up in a pocket for emergencies. One for competitive swimmers is a lightweight lap snorkel; with twin tubes another is a "restrictor cap" placed inside a snorkel barrel "restricting breathing by 40% to increase cardiovascular strength and build lung capacity". Some additional snorkel features such as shut-off and drain valves fell out of favour decades ago, only to return in the contemporary era as more reliable devices for incorporation into "dry" and "semi-dry" snorkels; see Figure 5 featuring a modern snorkel topped with a splash guard.
Year-round, the 100-foot in-water visibility is enough to lure snorkelers to the reefs of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Winter only sweetens the pot: December through February, scores of humpback whales come to the Caribbean to mate or give birth, and the Columbus Passage between the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay is on their migratory route. This stretch, shallow and warm, is an ideal training grounds for momma to teach baby about breathing and other whale-life basics — making it also ideal to behold greatness underwater.
The cultural center of the Island (and the expat scene) is the town of Ubud in the interior mountains. If you like spiritual hippies and yogis, you will find your tribe here. If you want to surf (or safely watch the pros doing it) you will want to check out the southern Bukit Peninsula that has legendary breaks like Dreamland, Uluwatu and Padang Padang.
In a vast ocean dotted with infinite lagoons, perhaps the most striking of them all is to be found in Aitutaki. A short flight from the main island of Rarotonga brings you to a quiet little ‘half island half atoll’ – where nothing seems to happen and where the word ‘rush’ simple doesn’t exist. The main reasons to visit Aitutaki is to detach from the stresses of life and to explore its magical lagoon. Once you’ve completed a circle island tour on a rented scooter, head to the small motu (islets) that hug the outer reaches of the lagoon. Out here, you’ll snorkel in coral gardens and make landfall on beaches where fine white sand simply blinds your eyes on a sunny day. If you’ve always wondered where pictures of that perfect beach you see in travel magazines, posters and screensavers were taken – the answer probably lies in Aitutaki!
Do you like history and water sports? Then Appledore Star will be the breath of fresh air you needed for your Key West vacation and snorkel adventure. You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time after boarding this wooden 65' schooner. And on top of the awesome boat, the crew leads you out to the only living coral reefs in the continental United States. After snorkeling the waters that lie a few miles off the coast of Key West, and navigating your kayaks through the heart of Key West Wildlife, guests are provided with a lunch filled with fresh shrimp, fried chicken, fixings to make your own sandwiches, and a variety of fruits to refuel. On the breezy ride back to mainland, guests can enjoy complimentary beer, homemade sangria, and wine as a nice treat to end this 6 hour adventure.
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The self-proclaimed culinary capital of the Caribbean, Barbados doesn’t disappoint. For the ultimate foodie experience, travelers should time their visit to include the annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival. To understand the importance of rum to Barbadian culture, visitors will want to go to Mount Gay distillery. Founded in 1703, it has the distinction of being the world’s oldest rum producer, and visitors can learn all about its story. This magical island is also called “Land of Flying Fish,” due not only to the abundance of flying fish, but also to islanders’ mastery at deboning and cooking it. In fact, the national dish is Flying Fish and CouCou, a must-taste experience.
I lived for a month one winter at Las Piramides in the mellow village of San Marcos de la Laguna. At this incredible spiritual retreat, you get to live in your own glass-tipped pyramid in the jungle. They offer excellent programs in yoga and meditation that start with each full moon and run for the entire lunar month. The spectacular main pyramid where classes are held is along the beautiful shore of the lake.
All the above tips are mostly about taking care of yourself. Give back to the ocean by taking care of it also. Do not touch corals, fish or turtles. The only thing you can touch safely is sand and rock and water (that means with your fins also). Read our snorkeling etiquette page for learning how to develop skills for taking a break in the water without having to stand.
A 4,000 m² children's play area opened in 2007. In mid-2007, a sauna and spa facility with six separate areas was added, the largest tropical sauna complex in Europe. The design of the saunas is inspired by UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South-East Asia, including a cave temple on Elephanta Island in India and the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. The bathing area includes a 27-metre high water slide tower with four slides, a children's play area and a crazy golf course.
This temperate Dutch island is beloved by divers for good reason. It lies outside the hurricane belt, and it was the first Caribbean island to designate its coasts and reefs a marine park sanctuary. Together, these protections have preserved the surrounding corals, resulting in reefs that remain the most colorful in the region. Moreover, of Bonaire’s 89 dive sites, 63 are reachable from shore. The sites on the northern half of the island are preferable for snorkelers, as there are fewer surges, and the reef plateau starts between 2 and 10 feet deep. Top snorkel sites include Andrea I, Witch’s Hut and 1,000 steps — so named for the staircase to the water. Fear not: It’s really just 78 steps, but the name keeps the crowds away.
Hi Kyle, thanks for sharing such valuable information, it is exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I are considering spending a year in 2 beautiful destinations. He picked Ambergris Caye and I picked Lombok. We ‘just’ need affordable accomodation and a decent Internet connection. I see you have visited both places. How was Internet in Caye Caulker? Do you think it will be a problem in Lombok? Thanks so much!
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During the late spring and summer, San Francisco's characteristic foggy weather frequently envelops the beach. The average temperature for the last 5 years has been 13.2 °C (55.8 °F) However, the beach is popular with surfers and participants in bonfire parties. More beach-friendly weather occurs in late fall and early spring, when fog is less prevalent.
When snorkeling on or near coral reefs, care must be exercised to avoid contact with the delicate (and sometimes sharp or stinging) coral, and its poisonous inhabitants, usually by wearing protective gloves and being careful of one's environment. Coral scrapes and cuts often require specialized first aid treatment and potentially, emergency medical treatment to avoid infection. Booties and surf shoes are especially useful as they allow trekking over reefs exposed by low tide, to access drop-offs or deeper waters of the outer reef - this is, however, ecologically irresponsible.
One of my first stops during my trip to San Diego, Ocean Beach has a phenomenal view of the Pacific located off of Nimitz Blvd. and Sunset Cliffs Blvd. The place was packed with surfers, sunbathers, happy retirees, yoga groups, and tourists from all over walking on the white sand. Parking can be a tremendous hassle and we were hard-pressed to find a parking spot until a lady saw us waiting and motioned over to us as she was putting away her surfing gear. We eagerly took the spot which was next to a grassy area filled with local college students performing gymnastics and acrobatic moves. It was really cool to watch them as it reminds me of some of the moves performed at a Cirque du Soleil show.
A third type of volcanic oceanic island is formed over volcanic hotspots. A hotspot is more or less stationary relative to the moving tectonic plate above it, so a chain of islands results as the plate drifts. Over long periods of time, this type of island is eventually "drowned" by isostatic adjustment and eroded, becoming a seamount. Plate movement across a hot-spot produces a line of islands oriented in the direction of the plate movement. An example is the Hawaiian Islands, from Hawaii to Kure, which continue beneath the sea surface in a more northerly direction as the Emperor Seamounts. Another chain with similar orientation is the Tuamotu Archipelago; its older, northerly trend is the Line Islands. The southernmost chain is the Austral Islands, with its northerly trending part the atolls in the nation of Tuvalu. Tristan da Cunha is an example of a hotspot volcano in the Atlantic Ocean. Another hotspot in the Atlantic is the island of Surtsey, which was formed in 1963.
Ocean Beach City Beach is the main beach in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach. This is a wide sandy beach that has formed at the south side of the San Diego River mouth. Looking north you can see the neighborhood of Mission Beach on the other side of the rock jetties that protect the Mission Bay Entrance Channel. The southern view from City Beach is dominated by the Ocean Beach Pier which extends about a half-mile out into the Pacific Ocean. If you are visiting here for the first time you should walk out to the end of the pier to take in the view of the city. Below the pier and south of it you’ll find extensive tide pools that are exposed at low tide.
Unlike its luxurious Caribbean neighbors, here you’ll only find more budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses. Everything needs to come by ship or airplane, so it’s not super cheap. However, since no non-natives can own property there is no influx of overdevelopment, keeping the island simple but beautiful. For a more rustic, non-touristy getaway, this might be the island for you!
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