Hello, never made a post here before but looking for some more information. I have been searching the forums for a while now, reading almost every thread in the first 5+ pages in addition to searching. My gf and I (late 20's) will be staying at London House from May 11-19, and I have a few questions. I apologize as this may be a fairly long post.
1. Staying at the London House, so we will be on the north end of SMB. Being there for 8 nights, we are planning to do a sort of "off day, on day, off day" type schedule, where on the off days we lay around on the beach, snorkel off shore, etc. We are planning to do our excursions on the "on days", which also coincide with days where there will be cruise ships in port (based on the schedule I found online). Is that a good idea so as to stay away from the crowds, or a bad idea as some shops/restaurants may not be open if no cruise ships are in port?
2a. As far as snorkeling, I have been reading Testudo's blog to get a better idea of where to go (very informative, great site). I have snorkeled before but with a tour (Pennekamp Park in Florida Keys), so I'm not as familiar with the shore snorkeling. Some of Testudo's guides say that the reef / snorkel areas are 200+ yards off shore - is that pretty far? I guess what I am asking is how long would it take to swim out those 200 yards + snorkel time + swim back?
2b: Snorkeling gear: we will have masks and snorkels, but no fins. Should we buy these and bring them, or will somewhere rent these to us for multiple days? Reason I ask is because staying at London House, I want to snorkel right off of the beach (and at Cemetery Beach and near the turtle farm) and most rental places look to be in George Town, of which we don't want to have to drive multiple times to rental shops.
2c: Currents / under toe: I haven't seen a lot of info on this, other than a few references in Testudo's blog about drift-snorkeling at Rum Point, and the potential current at Turtle Nest Inn. How big of a danger is this? Going back to the distance thing, I wouldn't want to be 200+ yards out and get caught in a drift, if there are any. Most research points to calm waters, but if there are specific areas to watch out for, I'd be grateful.
3. When driving to some of these other places on the island (Bodden Town, Barefoot Beach, Rum Point), what do you do with everything you bring (towels, car keys, etc.)? I've read about the waterproof bags to keep small belongings on you while you snorkel, but should we just leave the rest of our stuff in the car? Should we not bring our DSLR as we would need to leave it in the car while we are out in the water?
4. Cameras: GoPro3 vs. Sony NEX-5N. I have a GoPro3 Black edition that I will be taking snorkeling with us (as well as any other adventures). We also have a DSLR (wanna-be) Sony NEX-5N. I have seen waterproof bag-cases (DiCAPac on eBay) for the NEX-5N. Do you think I should bother with one of those, or just stick with the GoPro? GoPro will be mounted on a 2' pole and will be set to shoot video continuously, while also taking a still shot every x-seconds (5, 10, 30 seconds) to grab some still photos.
4. Best places to eat. We obviously are interested in a lot of seafood, any spots that are a "must" that we should hit? Looking to eat one day at Rum Point somewhere, also would like to grab some "jerk" style, and it seems Bodden Town is the best area for that.
5. Car rental. We are planning on renting the cheapest option, as it will only be my gf and I. Any potential issues with that? Will make sure to get a car with AC. Is parking readily available almost anywhere on the island (some of Testudo's site say to park on the side of the street, is that acceptable)?
6. Fishing. We plan to do a tour one of the days to include Fishing, Snorkeling somewhere, and Sting Ray City. I've read that you can't really go wrong with any of the outfits, but are any in particular better to cater to a couple? Definitely don't want to charter a private boat as that would be super expensive, but also don't want to be stuck with a cruise ship crowd of 50+ people. What snorkeling site do most of these "tours" take you to (I think I read on Testudo's that a lot of them go to the Rum Point Coral Boulder area).
So with all that said, looking for any helpful info. I apologize for the long post but hoping to get some beneficial info that future vacationers can search and find this thread. Thanks.