Swim capris or shorts for snorkeling in French Polynesia

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#1
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I'm booked on a cruise to French Polynesia next March. I have very fair skin and burn easily.

I've snorkeled many times in the Caribbean, but those have been 3 or 4-hour trips, with most of the time spent in the shade on a boat or under a tree. On those trips, I've used a short-sleeved rash guard over a one-piece suit and SPF 50 sunscreen on my arms and legs. I haven't burned on those trips.

We've booked all-day multi-snorkel-site excursions in French Polynesia. I'm thinking that I should take a long-sleeved rash guard and either swimming board shorts or capris to cover more of my skin.

For those of you who have experience with snorkeling near the equator, how likely would be that I need to cover the backs of my knees or more? What would you wear?

Black would match the color scheme best. Will black swim capris be way to warm in the sun when I'm not in the water?

Do you have experience with any particular brand of swim shorts/capris?

Thank you for your recommendations.
#2
Greeley, Colorado, USA
85 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Definitely cover up! I have worn (and would again) a full body-suit dive skin for snorkeling, something like this one, worn over your regular swim suit:
https://smile.amazon.com/NeoSport-We...ive+skin&psc=1
The last thing you want is a sunburn that ruins your vacation.
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#3
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by aqua2
Definitely cover up! I have worn (and would again) a full body-suit dive skin for snorkeling, something like this one, worn over your regular swim suit:
https://smile.amazon.com/NeoSport-We...ive+skin&psc=1
The last thing you want is a sunburn that ruins your vacation.
That is definitely "full coverage"!

Was the black too warm when worn out of the water? I'm thinking that I might need coverage between snorkel sessions and/or during "beach time," but wouldn't have the cooling benefit of the water.
#4
Missouri
1,457 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Look for rash guard leggings on Amazon. They work great and, like the shirts, are cool and comfortable out of the water.

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Robin
#5
Greeley, Colorado, USA
85 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
My full-coverage dive/snorkel "skin" is very lightweight (not neoprene like a regular scuba suit), and no not too warm at all. The front zip allows for taking your arms out for a cooler feel while on a boat between snorkel sites or on shore if you are going back in the water in a while. Mine is not black, I think it is royal blue with yellow accents. In any event, when we were snorkeling in French Polynesia, and also the Caribbean, I was very glad I had it. For scuba, needed neoprene for warmth. This is rash-guard weight.
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#6
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Thank both of you for your suggestions.

I tried the full body suit (in black) in Bonaire last November. The tour operator had zero shade, but offered the full suit as part of the excursion package. It was nice when in the water, but was very warm in the sun. I wasn't sure if it was because it was black or just lots of coverage, which is why I was thinking that I might want separate bottoms. My DH stuck with swim shorts and a short-sleeved rash guard. He had a light sunburn on his legs---I remained my unburnt "white."

The reason I was looking at separate bottoms is that I've switched to a two-piece bathing suit for snorkeling, since it is a nightmare to use the restroom on a boat with a two-piece. The one-piece body dive suit presents the same problem, as well as being more awkward when I want to cool off. My top burns faster than my legs.

The bottom line appears to be that I should have my legs entirely covered.

NemoCrownie: what leggings do you use?
#7
Missouri
1,457 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Cruizer Diana
Thank both of you for your suggestions.


NemoCrownie: what leggings do you use?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2AC1LO...07BWNC4TX?th=1

These are thin, comfortable, relatively inexpensive and have held up well. I wear a long sleeve rash guard shirt (Bare) with them and can remove either easily. They aren't hot and I have never felt like I needed to remove them except to use the head.

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Robin
#8
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by Cruizer Diana
Thank both of you for your suggestions.

I tried the full body suit (in black) in Bonaire last November. The tour operator had zero shade, but offered the full suit as part of the excursion package. It was nice when in the water, but was very warm in the sun. I wasn't sure if it was because it was black or just lots of coverage, which is why I was thinking that I might want separate bottoms. My DH stuck with swim shorts and a short-sleeved rash guard. He had a light sunburn on his legs---I remained my unburnt "white."

The reason I was looking at separate bottoms is that I've switched to a two-piece bathing suit for snorkeling, since it is a nightmare to use the restroom on a boat with a two-piece. The one-piece body dive suit presents the same problem, as well as being more awkward when I want to cool off. My top burns faster than my legs.

The bottom line appears to be that I should have my legs entirely covered.

NemoCrownie: what leggings do you use?
I meant "nightmare to use the restroom on a boat with a ONE-piece swimsuit."
#9
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by NemoCrownie
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2AC1LO...07BWNC4TX?th=1

These are thin, comfortable, relatively inexpensive and have held up well. I wear a long sleeve rash guard shirt (Bare) with them and can remove either easily. They aren't hot and I have never felt like I needed to remove them except to use the head.

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Robin, Thank you for the link.

The vote is two to zero. Long is better than short on the legs.
Diana
#10
Missouri
1,457 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Cruizer Diana
Robin, Thank you for the link.

The vote is two to zero. Long is better than short on the legs.
Diana
Enjoy, French Polynesia is on my bucket list!

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Robin
#11
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by NemoCrownie
Enjoy, French Polynesia is on my bucket list!

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It's been on ours for along time, too. We've been reading reviews and looking at the trip photos. Can't believe how clear the water is.
#12
Greeley, Colorado, USA
85 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I checked out the link for the swim leggings - they look good! I would go with "separates" … a two piece swimsuit (your point about restrooms is so true) and two piece cover ups using a rash guard top and leggings. Then you have great sun coverage as well as comfort and convenience.

Our trip to French Polynesia was a winner! It was our first ever cruise after years of island-based diving vacations, and a great experience in many regards. Hope yours is too!
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#13
Seattle, WA area
476 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by aqua2
I checked out the link for the swim leggings - they look good! I would go with "separates" … a two piece swimsuit (your point about restrooms is so true) and two piece cover ups using a rash guard top and leggings. Then you have great sun coverage as well as comfort and convenience.

Our trip to French Polynesia was a winner! It was our first ever cruise after years of island-based diving vacations, and a great experience in many regards. Hope yours is too!
Thank you for your suggestions. I purchased a turquoise Hang Ten spf 50 long-sleeved rashguard at Costco in May. I plan to wear it with the swim leggings.

One of our friends is limiting her snorkeling on this trip, due to some past skin cancer. I want to get all of the snorkeling time in that I can--without the sunburn consequence.

Our best snorkling experience was in Roatan and Bonaire.

What was your favorite snorkel/dive in Fr Polynesia?
#14
Greeley, Colorado, USA
85 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by Cruizer Diana

Our best snorkling experience was in Roatan and Bonaire.

What was your favorite snorkel/dive in Fr Polynesia?
Oh, Bonaire! and oh, Roatan! Wonderful snorkeling and diving. In French Polynesia, we did a two-tank dive at Bora Bora. One inside the reef was just so-so, and the shark dive outside the reef was one of my all time favorites. For snorkeling, we did a guided snorkel trail where we saw clown fish (yay!!) but I can't quite recall which island. I'll come back and post again if I think of it, or if I marked any of my photos.
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#15
Greeley, Colorado, USA
85 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Cruizer Diana, I looked at the photo album from that trip (in 2005). The best snorkeling that we had was at Taha'a, and from my notes it looks like we were docked at Raiatea to do the excursion to Taha'a. We also snorkeled at Huahine and Rangiroa, and the scuba dive I mentioned before at Bora Bora. At Moorea we did a dolphin encounter.
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