Hi all! I'm brand new to this, going on my first cruise in a few weeks (just a little 3 day-er). My question is (and sorry if this has been answered, i looked and didnt see anything):
Can I go snorkeling on my own, without a tour or pre-booked "excursion"? I have my own gear and everything already, I've been snorkeling a ton of times (in Maui), but I don't want to break any rules, or end up paying a bunch of unexpected fees.
In a word, no. Most of the isand is protected widlife habitat. Plus, the only access to the water from the downtown area is a heavily used and murky beach. The harbor is crowded with boats and ships. The only way to snorkel is via a tour. And they have a limited number of the small diving boats so sign up in advance.
All snorkeling is done from the waist of the island, which is only accessible by boat. There used to be a beach inbetween where you might be able to snorkel, but I don't know if it is still there or if there was anything to see. I would google the island to find out.
Also, the Arctic current flows down the coast and heads out to sea near there. The water is COLD. You will definitely need a wetsuit. They rent them...do it. But, the boat ride out and back can be a lot of fun. I have some old photo's of a pod of dolphins playing with us in our little rubber dinghy, on the way back home.
aw bummer. Thanks for all the info though! Do you think it's colder than the rest of the west coast? I live on the central coast of CA, and our water's never been what I would call "warm". I will definitely do some more research. I checked out a Catalina tourism site a few days ago, and they were bragging about their high visibility and everything, but I guess that's a ways out, and not right off shore. . .
I hope that works out for you. Just remember not to go alone....buddy system always! And, if you don't have a wet suit, see about renting one. Have fun and say hi to the fishies for me. Catalina is one of the things I miss most about Calif.