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swimming with turtles...which vendor?

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Hi. My family of 4 will be on the Jewel of the Seas in March. I think it would be fun to swim/snorkel with turtles, but my husband can't swim. I'm assuming most of the vendors provide flotation devices. Do you know which one would be most likely to put his mind at ease? I doubt he'd go in the water, but I don't want him to be a nervous wreck if the kids and I are. Also, what is the water depth typically like on these excursions? thanks!

 

I'm ok with skipping this all together, but if I can find something to make him calm while letting my teens have this once-in-a-life opportunity, it would be a win win.

 

thanks!

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Hi. My family of 4 will be on the Jewel of the Seas in March. I think it would be fun to swim/snorkel with turtles, but my husband can't swim. I'm assuming most of the vendors provide flotation devices. Do you know which one would be most likely to put his mind at ease? I doubt he'd go in the water, but I don't want him to be a nervous wreck if the kids and I are. Also, what is the water depth typically like on these excursions? thanks!

 

I'm ok with skipping this all together, but if I can find something to make him calm while letting my teens have this once-in-a-life opportunity, it would be a win win.

 

thanks!

 

Cruiser 123,

 

No one has responded to you so far, so here goes:-

 

A lunch cruise on a catamaran (9:00 to 2:00 or 10:00 to 3:00, approximately), which generally includes swimming/snorkeling with the turtles, swimming/snorkeling at a wreck, a general swim around near a beach, lunch and an open bar is good fun even if you don't swim. If you don't swim you can stay on board, or if you want to go into the water you can wear a flotation device or use a noodle, and the crew will look after you. A strong rum punch or three will help to calm you down, but no drinking until after the snorkeling.

 

You will be sailing in the sea so the water can get quite deep, you're likely to be in over your head. :rolleyes:

 

I don't believe that you can have a bad Cat Cruise. The number of passengers probably determines the onboard atmosphere. Check your Ship's roll call.to see if any other cruisers are looking at this activity and check Trip Advisor for other snorkeling with turtles tours. See list below a partial list of those Cat Cruises that are highly recommended on Trip Advisor and on these boards.

 

Cats that take 8 to 16 passengers are Calabaza, Silver Moon, Elegance, Good Times, Calypso, Shasta, etc.Larger Cats that take 30 to 40 passengers are Cool Runnings, El Tigre, Jammin', Tiami, etc.

 

Call or email a couple of them to check for availability, and ask them the same questions you posted here.

 

NAGooner

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A cheaper option is the Boatyard Beach club - $20 admission includes a short boat ride out to swim with the turtles (life vests are provided/required), plus chair rental, water toys, free drink and a ride back to the port. Some of the other nearby beach clubs (Lobster Alive, Harbor Lights, etc.) may also offer a similar package.

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We did Calabaza in 2016 and are booked with them again in 2018, excellent operation and only take out 12 people, they do have two cats though. Swimming with the turtles was awesome so glad my wife (a nervous one in the water) got to experience the turtles. When we snorkeled over the wrecks she choose to stay on the cat. Lunch in a nice calm cove was excellent and we just swam around in the calm water after lunch. Your husband could give the turtles a try and if he's uncomfortable could always just sit it out on the cat and watch. Good luck with whatever you wind up doing.

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We have done Shasa, It was so great!! Your Husband can probably have a life jacket, he can go in the water or stay on board. The turtle experience is amazing! We tried going from the beach, but only saw one at a distance. Go with Shasa, or this next time we are going with Silver Moon. Look them up. I'm sure you can ask questions of them and they will put your mind at ease. Even if your Husband doesn't go in the water he will see the turtles come up. Also in the salt water we find my husband who usually sinks, floats! LOL:D

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My husband is a non swimmer too. We booked with Calypso cruises and it was great! So much so, that all he wants to do now is catamaran excursions!

 

We booked thru email. I had researched them sort of last minute and reached out to the top rated ones on trip advisor. All were full, but recommended some others to check. It was $100 per person. They pick you up right outside the terminal and take you to the marina in a van.

 

I am writing about my experience only, but the others are probably similar.

 

When we got onboard, they had fresh cookies, tea and coffee waiting. There was even a small vase with flowers on the table.

 

Our first stop was swimming with the turtles. Maybe 300 yards off the beach, tops. The guide got in the water with a bag of what looked like raw chicken and then they started coming. We spent maybe 30 minutes tops swimming with them, because when the food is gone, they get out of there. You CAN touch them, but they ask that you not hang on to them, poke or grab them.

 

They do have noodles and kickboards. I'm not sure about life jackets, but I bet you could email them and ask, and they'd find one. They may have them on board anyway for safety reasons, but since I didn't need one, I didn't notice.

 

It gets crowded pretty quick with other tours doing the same thing at the same time, but there is a distance kept, so you are all together. However, at the shipwrecks, people get all mixed in. The guide will take your camera and swim into the shipwreck and take pics for you if you don't want to go that deep (I didn't).

 

After spending a little time there, then it's just you and the others on the catamaran! We sailed up the coast, found a deserted spot with a small beach and anchored. On the way up there, the guide brought around plates of snacks. Where we stopped, the water was maybe 7 feet deep there, but within a few strokes, you could touch bottom. I looked for sea glass and took some pics, and then went back out to the catamaran. Getting back out there was a little tough. I'm not a GREAT swimmer but can keep myself from drowning at least. The waves kept knocking me back towards the beach and I was out of breath when I got back to the boat.

 

While we had been spending time on the beach, the crew had been making lunch. It was SO good. We had fried flying fish, a cold pasta type salad, and some other thing. I just remember those two because I had never had either. There was plenty of food, and it was served buffet style, with real plates and utensils (that's impressive on a catamaran). After we ate, the crew cleaned up and we had a chance to play in the water some more. I got a noodle and just sat on it and floated around. I didn't go back to the beach. The snorkel guide would dive down and find things and bring them up for us to see.

 

After spending some time stationary, it was time to head back. It was a peaceful, relaxing trip back. I've done some more snorkel tours on different islands, but this one felt like first class treatment.

 

They even had magazines in the bathroom and lady products in case an emergency came up.

 

The guy that I communicated with thru email, and I guess the owner, has a wicked sense of humor. He was very entertaining. He was in near constant motion, fixing drinks, visiting with the people relaxing on the front of the catamaran, just making sure that everyone was satisfied and having a good time.

 

This was probably my non-swimming husband's favorite excursion ever.

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We did Silver Moon and are going again with them in December. However, I did not appreciate the way all these catamarans dropped food for the turtles and then the only turtle that showed up was chased mercilessly by the passengers wanting photos. We were told fewer and fewer turtles are showing up because of this, and pretty soon none will. I'm a scuba diver and see turtles all the time, and I understand you wanting your family to see them, but a catamaran might not be the best way to do it, as much as they're being harassed.

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We just got back and used Silver Moon for our catamaran trip, who I highly recommend. Our boat only had 11 people on it, we snorkeled with the turtles, over a shipwreck and a coral reef. Our guides brought us to the sites in reverse order so we weren't there with a bunch of other boats. Due to the hurricane our guide told us that the reef had been damaged so they're feeding the fish and the turtles to encourage them to come back. We saw several turtles and lots of fish.

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A cheaper option is the Boatyard Beach club - $20 admission includes a short boat ride out to swim with the turtles (life vests are provided/required), plus chair rental, water toys, free drink and a ride back to the port. Some of the other nearby beach clubs (Lobster Alive, Harbor Lights, etc.) may also offer a similar package.

 

We just came back yesterday and went to the Boatyard. No turtles at this time due to the hurricane, snorkeling was over the shipwreck instead. We had a problem with the sea lice, may want to ask about them before you go. My daughter freaked out so I went back to boat with her. I was just stung in Bonaire by the buggers back in February so I was fine not snorkeling.

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Consider takeing an excursion through the ship to swim with the turtles and also includes a beach stop.

Your husband will not be the only one who stays on the ship for the turtles stop and would enjoy the sail and the beach stop. :D

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We just came back yesterday and went to the Boatyard. No turtles at this time due to the hurricane, snorkeling was over the shipwreck instead. We had a problem with the sea lice, may want to ask about them before you go. My daughter freaked out so I went back to boat with her. I was just stung in Bonaire by the buggers back in February so I was fine not snorkeling.

 

 

Did you get to see some colorful fish by the shipwreck? Was hoping to see turtles in January; are they expected back?

Can you tell me more about the sea lice? I haven’t heard of them. Is there a way to avoid them?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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We just returned from our stop in Barbados last week. We chose Cool Runnings for our tour. The staff was funny and quite good.

 

We were required to use the floatation devices (you can blow them us with as much air as wanted). We swam with the turtles, I think we saw 2 or 3. We then swam above a coral reef & shipwreck. Last we anchored near a beach where we could swim to, if wanted. Here we were also fed a great lunch. We could also jump off the side of the Catamaran, which might be something your teens would be interested in (we all did it at least once).

 

We could never touch the ground, but the water was calm and with the lift vests (and swim noodles while anchored near the beach) even my reluctant 10 yr old had a great time.

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Cruiser 123,

 

 

Cats that take 8 to 16 passengers are Calabaza, Silver Moon, Elegance, Good Times, Calypso, Shasta, etc.Larger Cats that take 30 to 40 passengers are Cool Runnings, El Tigre, Jammin', Tiami, etc.

 

 

Super helpful list, thank you!

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We booked through Viator for the Pirates Coves plus Snorkeling. It included short, easy snorkeling trip to see "baby" (2 foot) turtles and a sunken ship. The turtle part was actually in a marina anchorage area. Water was perhaps 12m; but completely flat. Gear was excellent. They had snorkeling vests or life vests. Second snorkeling stop had tons of fish over shipwreck in 5-10m water.

 

There's a separate thread on Pirates' Cove -- a number of ways to get there. Whatever you choose, both their snorkeling trip and the beach break are excellent.

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We booked through Viator for the Pirates Coves plus Snorkeling. It included short, easy snorkeling trip to see "baby" (2 foot) turtles and a sunken ship. The turtle part was actually in a marina anchorage area. Water was perhaps 12m; but completely flat. Gear was excellent. They had snorkeling vests or life vests. Second snorkeling stop had tons of fish over shipwreck in 5-10m water.

 

There's a separate thread on Pirates' Cove -- a number of ways to get there. Whatever you choose, both their snorkeling trip and the beach break are excellent.

How long was this excursion and can you give a price point? Thanks

 

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Forums mobile app

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Did you get to see some colorful fish by the shipwreck? Was hoping to see turtles in January; are they expected back?

Can you tell me more about the sea lice? I haven’t heard of them. Is there a way to avoid them?

 

 

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Hello, I specifically went to the Boatyard in December 2017 to do the Turtle swim. I can tell you, you will not see any Turtles. We were only taken to the shipwreck site. I was lead to believe by the Boatyard website we would go to a second site to see the Turtles, but this was not the case. The day at the Boatyard was good value but I was very disappointed to be misled into believing we would visit the Turtle site. If you just want to snorkel and see some nice fish, then this is the place for you. If you want to see Turtles, go elsewhere.

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We booked through Viator for the Pirates Coves plus Snorkeling. It included short, easy snorkeling trip to see "baby" (2 foot) turtles and a sunken ship. The turtle part was actually in a marina anchorage area. Water was perhaps 12m; but completely flat. Gear was excellent. They had snorkeling vests or life vests. Second snorkeling stop had tons of fish over shipwreck in 5-10m water.

 

There's a separate thread on Pirates' Cove -- a number of ways to get there. Whatever you choose, both their snorkeling trip and the beach break are excellent.

 

I just looked this up on Viatour and it looks great (and reasonably priced)! I was trying to decide between the beach and a snorkel trip and this hits both.

 

Can you tell me a little more about the excursion itself- Viatour seems to indicate from their timings that you go on the snorkel tour straight away and then enjoy the beach afterwards, is that correct? Also, could you choose your own return time? It only says the duration is 'flexible' and doesn't give a time for the return transfer. Thanks for your help!

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