Dipping under the translucent sheen of the turquoise sea, snorkelers can glimpse a whole new dimension full of life. In this article, we highlight 10 ways you can play it safe and enjoy this underwater haven.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are home to the third largest barrier reefs in the world, the Andros Barrier Reef, which spans along the island chain of the Bahamas. The coral reefs play host to some of the world’s most beautiful creatures, including humpback whales, Hawksbill turtles, bottlenose dolphins, spotted eagle rays, and all kinds of colorful fish like grouper and horse-eyed jacks. Catching these beautiful animals in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience. Here are 10 Tips for having the best snorkeling experience:
1. Protect your skin! The sun is intense in the Caribbean, even in winter, and protecting your skin is key to enjoying your vacation. Wear a waterproof sunscreen and reapply as directed. We suggest wearing a long sleeve swim shirt during the peek burn hours (11-4), especially when snorkeling since your back is facing the sun.
2. Be safe, watch for boats: Boats are the biggest threat to snorkelers, not sea animals. Take a look around before you swim out to the reef and notice if speed boats, jet skis, or other water crafts are frequenting areas you’d like to explore. Be wary and take frequent breaks to watch and listen.
3. Gear up! You can rent or buy snorkeling gear from many places on island, including Provo Turtle Divers, but it may be best to bring your own set to the island. Be sure to find goggles that fit and flippers that can be adjusted to your size feet. For people with longer hair, it is best to tie tresses back tightly to avoid the goggles ripping it out.
4. De-fog: It’s no use wearing the goggles if you cannot see! There are many special gels which you apply evenly to the inside of the goggles to prevent fogging. If you’re in a pinch, saliva (yes, I’m giving you permission to spit on the inside of the goggles!) works all right for preventing fogging, and many swear by dog drool. I like to keep a few drops of water in the goggles to de-fog the interior, though you have to be careful not to get it in your eyes.
5. Clean the hose: Sea water is great for sanitizing the mouth-piece and hose; make sure to remember to dunk and blow water out several times. Be sure the hose is free of water, and simply exhale strongly to blow any water that splashes into your hose.
6. Flippers are your friends: The first few times I snorkeled, I went in without the flippers, which I found cumbersome. Once I used flippers, I realized how much they help you to stay horizontal and float in the water. They also help you move much faster! Tip: After making sure the fins fit , carry the fins into the water and put on once you’re about waist deep. (This works well in calm water.) Once you’re in the water, keep your knees and ankles straight while moving from your hips to avoid cramping in your legs.
7. Look, don’t touch: Please respect the coral and the animals that make the reef their home by not breaking or touching the coral. Not only does the coral take years to grow, but some types of coral can sting you and leave annoying (though not dangerous) rashes. Fire Coral is a common type of coral found in the Caribbean which causes rashes when touched or brushed up against.
8. Be aware of your location: Know how far away from the shore or boat you are at all times, and maintain space from coral and rocks. A passing boat’s wave or tide surge could push you into coral, so be sure to position yourself well.
9. Pace Yourself: Swimming is hard work, so take breaks and be sure to stay hydrated. Know your limits, and don’t swim too far offshore if you’re growing tired. If it’s your first time, be sure to test it out slowly. Practice breathing in the hose before you get in the water, then again in shallow water.
10. Take pictures: An underwater camera is such a joy, especially when that sea turtle cruises by! It may be a good idea to tie the camera to your wrist to avoid dropping and losing it. Try to leave all other valuables on dry land or zipped in a pocket.
There are many beach-front villas and cottages located within a short walk the the marina. You can find our villas at www.tcvillas.com. Contact TC Villas at at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your perfect beachfront vacation villa! You can also reach us by phone from 9-5 EST at 1.877.467.4858.