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Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

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Irvine, California...
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Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

My dilemma is that I am a bad swimmer and I am a little afraid of being in the big ocean. I have got gone out to the ocean to snorkle before, but I had to hang on to a big lifesaver :-). I do not want to miss the experience of seeing the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Where, or with which tour, would your recommendation go for snorkling?

Adelaide, South...
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1. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

Hello Lu2006

I understand your problem. It takes an honest person to admit that they don't swim very well - the rule of thumb is that if you can only swim 20 metres in a swimming pool then you can probably only swim 20 metres in the sea!

I would suggest that you take the Quicksilver cruise out of Cairns or Port Douglas. The trip I would choose is to the outer reef area (Agincourt Reef) as they have fixed pontoons there. They have ropes set out from the pontoon, which are anchored to the floor below with weights, so that those who are not strong swimmers can pull themselves along on the rope while floating in the water, and use their snorkel and mask to see the coral below. There are fresh water showers on the pontoon for use before the journey back to land, so you don't have to feel sticky and uncomfortable. The price includes lunch and trips in semi-submersible (commonly known as glass bottom) boats, so you can go out further and see more without even getting wet!

They have life vests available for people to use, and have staff on the lookout for any passengers who are getting themselves into difficulties in the water. The boat crew they always do a head count before leaving the reef to make sure that nobody is left behind.

Quicksilver is a big operator, and is in the Hall of Fame for tourism awards in the area. They were host to the Great Barrier Reef section of the Olympic Torch Relay in 2000.

There is information about them on http://www.divingcairns.com.au/daytrip15.html

Their website is at http://www.quicksilver-cruises.com/

The day we went out, it was particularly overcast, and it started to rain before we returned to Port Douglas, and yet we still saw amazing colours in the coral.

So please, don't miss out on our amazing Great Barrier Reef just because swimming doesn't come naturally to you!

Anita

Irvine, California...
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2. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

Wondering Aussie Anita, THANK YOU for such great advise and for letting me know that Quicksilver can take care of poor swimmers like me. Would you recommend I book this cruise on-line or wait till I get there to see what the weather is like? I'll be in Cairns on Oct 24th.

Adelaide, South...
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3. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

We booked before we went and then fussed about the weather!

You can generally book the day before with Quicksilver - you might want to give them two days notice rather than just one, to be on the safe side. Even when the boat is full (as it was the day we went) you really don't feel like part of a huge group!

Just a note - we bought disposable underwater cameras from the local shops (available in any of the photo shops in the area, along with chemists and some supermarkets). They come complete with rubber band that you can put around your wrist so you don't have to worry about dropping it in the water (!), and we had fantastic photos despite the overcast day.

I would be inclined to decide about the weather when you get there - I did here from someone there that they cancelled and rebooked for free because of rough weather the day they were due to go out, but I don't know whether that is for real or whether it is an urban myth!

There are school holidays in Australia in October, so there is a chance of being booked out on some days. I guess it depends on whether or not you are the sort of person who would worry if you couldn't get to go out on a particular day.

Have a great trip and enjoy yourself! (perhaps do a bit of upper body work before you go so that you don't get tired too easily, or maybe have a few swimming lessons before you go!)

Sydney Australia
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4. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

My husband is a weak swimmer even though I teach swimming as part of my job! I took him firstly out on a half day trip to Green Island where he could have a go in shallow water. Then I took him out on the Quicksilver and even though he didn't stay in too long he saw the coral all the other ways. The next year we went out to the Low Islands and that was not so good as it is a National Park and they kept telling us not to stand on the coral and he found it difficult to snorkle without standing up!! (Green Isand had much more sand where he could do that)

So definitely one of the trips with a platform. They are more expensive but worth it. I teased my husband about me having to take him on a trip with all the non-swimming overseas tourists.

You must not miss out-it is so beautiful and it is my very favourite sporting type activity. Just dont forget to use precautions against sunburn.

Hobart, Tasmania
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5. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

Following on from the above post, you might want to look at GreatAdventures.

www.greatadventures.com.au/Default.aspx…

They have a full day trip, that stops at Green Island for about 2 hours, before travelling to an outer reef pontoon.

so you can have a go at green island first, and see how you feel. then on the outer reef they have a number of non swimming activites, such as an underwater viewing area, semi submersible sub etc.

they also have flotation devices for non swimmers, and they string out bouys on ropes from the pontoon that people can hold onto to take a rest.

We are going to do it in December, as neither myself nor my fiance are strong swimmers, and we have never snorkelled before.

to me, it sound like it might be the perfect solution for you as well??

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

Don't book before you go as the weather could be bad. Should be fine to book when you get there a day or two before. Ask the tour desk to look up the weather on the computer and they will be able to tell you the best day to go out.

As for snorkelling if my 5 year old can snorkel than so can you. Hire a wetsuit on the boat (about $5.00) which will help you stay afloat really well. Also they have floatation vests which will keep you well and truly floating. You cannot sink!! Just need to relax and breath naturally and you will have a great time. It can be a little disconcerting when you are in really deep water but if you have a wetsuit and vest then you just need to remind yourself that you can't sink and then you can enjoy yourself.

As I say my 5 year old and 9 year old went snorkelling on the reef recently and they were fine. The older one freaked about abit with the fish but otherwise no probs. Have fun.

7. Re: Where can a poor swimmer go snorkling?

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