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Snorkelling excursion

Ottawa, Canada
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350 posts
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Snorkelling excursion

I’ve looked but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to provide a review of the catamaran snorkelling excursion offered by most (all?) tour operators. Lots of reviews of other “things to do” including the dolphin swim, which often includes a snorkelling stop. But nothing for the sole snorkelling trip. So I’ll just put my review here.

We signed up through Sunwing at the Blau for the “Blue Adventure” excursion which in the brochure states - “sailing onboard a modern catamaran with all inclusive bar. Stop to do 2 snorkelling sessions at the coral reefs of the area. Lobster lunch.” - as with all tours (I think) it is provided by Gaviota Tours. We didn’t want to go see dolphins; we just wanted to go snorkelling so this is the trip we paid for.

When we got on the bus at the resort at 8 a.m. we shared the bus with a bunch of people who were going to also do the dolphin swim and show. After picking people up at 3 other resorts we were told we’d all be on the same catamaran as there were not enough people to do just the snorkelling trip – of the 26 of us, 8 wanted only the snorkelling.

So we went out and stopped to snorkel at the reef just off the Paradisus Rio de Oro resort – the same place we had an enjoyable snorkelling trip in 2011. However, this time we all had to go in with the guide who fed the fish copious quantities of bread to attract them. We basically stayed in just one area and watched all these fish congregate around the guide. I know that some people seem to like this, but we’d rather see fish and other marine species in their natural environment – not scavenging for unhealthy foodstuffs. In any event, after awhile we got out and were then informed that we were off to the dolphinarium – no 2nd snorkel stop. We were not happy! At least the lobster lunch there was very good.

The next day we told our Sunwing rep what had happened and that we were not pleased – we had not got what we had paid for. She was quite surprised at what had happened and made a few phone calls. Next thing a Gaviota rep arrived. They quickly arranged another snorkelling trip for us – without charge.

So, the next day we were picked up at 9 a.m. – this time sharing a bus with over 50 people going only to the dolphin swim and show. But we were told that a separate boat would be taking us out snorkelling. So, we offloaded at a different marina than before (the one where the dolphinarium water taxi operates from) and sure enough there was a separate boat just for us - one of their dive boats. There was supposed to be another couple as well but they hadn’t shown up.

So, with a captain and 1 crew member and the 2 of us we set out for our snorkelling adventure. Went to 2 reefs – Naranjo (which I think is the one opposite the PRDO) and Guardalavaca reef. Had a great time and stayed in the water with the crewmember (guide) for as long as we wanted. Saw lots and lots. The Guardalavaca reef was much better than the other one.

So, everything ended up being great. Both Sunwing and Gaviota came through to ensure that we were happy with what we paid for.

Edited: 11:00 am, March 07, 2014
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785 posts
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1. Re: Snorkelling excursion

so glad they made good.......I hate those tours that feed the fish like that. It is so wrong.

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2. Re: Snorkelling excursion

The reef infront of

PRO is a mess. Over the years it's getting worse. Ten years ago it was a nice reef, but the hurricane in 08 and 12 destroyed it. So there are not much fish and they have to feed them, that the TOURISTS can see them. So we are the problem!:-SS

Edited: 12:56 am, March 08, 2014
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3. Re: Snorkelling excursion

" they have to feed them, that the TOURISTS can see them."

No, they don't. They choose to do so, because uneducated snorkellers are impressed by feeding frenzies of common fish, and don't realize they are ruining their chances of seeing anything remotely interesting. Snorkelling requires patience and "quietness". Like fishing, it may sometimes be disappointing, and tourists who have paid to "see something" won't be happy with the results. So the Cubans feed the fish, and the tourists "feed" the Cubans with tips they might otherwise not receive. Unfortunate for the environment and for any experienced snorkellers who have paid in hopes of having a different experience. (I generally don't do snorkelling excursions, but when I have, my strategy is to swim well away from the boat and the crowd, which generally pays off in sightings of interesting fish.)

4. Re: Snorkelling excursion

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