I went on the Spirit Snorkeling trip today with my sister, brother, and mother. Sombrero reef was awesome; the fish and corals were diverse and beautiful.
However this review is of Spirit Snorkeling, not the reef. Overall the company seemed more concerned with squeezing money out of the guests than providing a quality experience.
Our trip was scheduled to depart at 1:00 pm. Most snorkelers arrived early as instructed and
were ready to depart at 1:00. Several passengers did not arrive on time and the staff seemed more than happy to push back the departure to wring a few extra dollars. We left after 1:30. (Over half an hour in a three hour trip was spent sitting at the dock waiting!)
Parking was limited, and customers were informed (in harsh words by Captain Herb) after they had parked to move their cars elsewhere.
Captain Herb was a grumpy man who seemed to bark angry commands whenever he opened his mouth. He was reluctant to engage in actual conversation and wasn't able to provide much information about the reef, even when asked.
Snorkels were of low quality without self-draining valves(which means they were harder to clear after filling with water).
Our 30+ snorkelers were forced to stay within 50 yards of one side of the boat. If anyone strayed from this zone, Captain Herb would blow an obnoxious air horn, causing all snorkelers to stop what they were doing look up and notice his angry gesturing.
People from other boats were snorkeling all over the reef outside these limits and it was not clear why these rules were imposed on our boatload.
Even with the late start, the ship made it back early! Which meant we had far less time in the water than expected. (around 1 hour total)
The dive master/first mate was the only quality employee we interfaced with. She was good at explaining the equipment to the first time snorkelers, and was quiet but friendly.
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