I have read that there are some good snorkling sites on Grand Cayman that you can walk to from the docks. I read that Eden Rock and Devil's grotto to the south has lockers at a dive shop. But at the other sites, what do people do with their valuables? I can swim with my cash, but I am thinking of my camera, mostly, and just my backpack.
Any other suggestions or tips about snorkling on our own (not with an excursion) in Grand Cayman?
Also, any tips for Roatan snorkling? I have heard mixed messages about Tabyana BEach. Some say you can't go there unless you pay for the excursion, but other people say it is public and you can take a cab there.
Here's a silly question - I have read something about a snorkling vest. Is this some sort of vest that inflates in an emergency? Should I be worried about swimming to the coral reefs a few hundred feet off shore without any type of floatation? (I am an excellent swimmer).
Are fins needed? I hear they sometimes just get in the way and sometimes damage the coral when people are careless. But if the coral is very far from shore, it would take a while to get there without fins.
My wife and I were in the same predicament. We have our own snorkeling gear and want to try the reefs close to the cruise terminal. Our solution to the lack of lockers at public beaches was a small watertight case. This would allow us to take IDs,small camera, etc. with us when we swim. The case is guaranteed watertight to 100' - more than enough for snorkeling. It has a lanyard and interchangeable belt loop/belt clip. Cost with shipping was around $25. Ordered on-line it arrived in less than 5 days.
We'll probably take an excursion with Capt. Marvin to Stingray City in the morning. The afternoon is open for sites close to the cruise terminal - Cemetary, Cheeseburger, wrecks of the Gamma & Calli and maybe Eden Rock.
On a previous cruise we booked a snorkeling excursion that provided a snorkeling vest. It didn't inflate in an emergency, you had to inflate it yourself. I didn't like it because even deflated, diving below the surface was difficult. We also opted against buying one because of price - $40 - $60.
I agree that fins are a necessity to get to reefs lying some distance from shore. Our masks, snorkels, & fins came with bags so the fins aren't a problem to carry.
Can't answer your query about Roatan but would like to find out too.
If you are going far from shore than yes wear fins - they help you to swim much better. I personaly love the vest because when you clear your mask you are treading water - when you come up to say anything to your partner you are treading water - after an hour or more you are tired! With the vest you do not have to worry. You can inflate it with your mouth by blowing in it and deflate it by opening the valve and pressing to get air out if you want to dive down. I always wear a vest even if it is only a life vest and I can always take it off.
In Cayman the ship tour goes to the Wreck of the Cali. You can do this on your own for free. Go to the left of the pier the tenders come in on - to Don Fosters Pier. About a 5 - 10 min walk. His dock is a public dock and with your own gear you can snorkel for free. We rented a locker for $2 a think and a life vest for each of us - it is a good swim out there - and fins for a total of $7 with the locker. Then we got in and snorkeled out. It was a good snorkel with lots of fish. About 25 feet deep. The snorkel off Edan Rock is about 40 feet deep and good too. For snorkeling I liked Wreck of the Cali for diving I liked Edan Rock. Both palces also offer Scuba Vacation courses for cheaper than the ship. Debbie