I officially no longer like snorkelling.
I never tried snorkelling until my first cruise, a cheap and cheerful one over ten years ago that took us to Mexico. On that cruise I did a trip (and it was amazing) to Tulum, where we saw some absolutely incredible pyramids, and a national park called (I think) Xel-ha – something like that anyway – where you could snorkel in a freshwater lagoon. Apart from a minor panic attack when I first dunked my head and had to learn to breathe through the tube, I loved it. The fish were amazing, you walked in from the side rather than jumping off a boat, and the water was clear… plus you could stop whenever you’d had enough. Since then I’ve snorkelled on every Caribbean holiday, always trying to feel that way again, and always failing. In each case I was on a boat, taken out in water too deep to do anything but swim, sea water of course – each time, I swallowed sea water and felt sick, and each time I saw less fish than I needed to to believe it was really worth it. Strike that – there was one exception, when I snorkelled off the Champagne Reef in Grenada, that really was amazing.
On the Sunday I went on a trip which, though snorkelling in the sea, involved walking in from the beach in a place called Coral Beach. Afterwards we were supposed to go and snorkel in a freshwater pool inside a cave, and to be honest that’s the only reason I went on the trip – in fact I intended to sit out the sea snorkelling bit and just take photos from the beach. But when we got there we quickly realised that if I did stay on shore I would be constantly hassled by some Cuban children and vendors, so I decided that was a bad idea, left my camera (not waterproof) in the bus, and joined the snorkellors. I was already regretting the decision before we started as they explained how we’d have to swim in pairs through a narrow channel in the coral to see the fish. I should explain, I’m a rubbish swimmer, heavily dependant on the life jackets they give you for snorkelling, and without my glasses I’m very. very. very short-sighted. So – formation swimming in the sea, in a big group, when I can’t really see where I’m going, and I’m afraid of damaging coral or myself by touching fire coral – not really my scene. And I hated it. And I panicked and prayed for it to be over from beginning to end. Literally. Even the walking into the sea bit was nightmarish with an uneven sea bottom and flippers to contend with. So unless we go back to Xel-ha I doubt if I’ll ever snorkel again. Oh yeah, and I didn’t bother with fresh-water bit either as it turned out nothing lives in that pool, its really just a natural freshwater pool that happens to be inside a cave – and you walk into the cave rather than swimming into it, so you see just about everything without getting wet.
And that was my only off-resort trip!
Because we’d had rougher seas since the storm, I checked how the sea was looking before deciding to go on the trip – smooth and beautiful was the answer
Lunch: more buffet! Including another wonderful crepe…
Dinner: Back to the beach grill to see what the food was like when it wasn’t cold and wet ;-)
Surf and turf, and the ubiquitous chocolate cake
looks very familiar doesn’t it? The desserts (excluding the crepes) were one of the major food disappointments on this trip, by the end even if we had been in a restaurant for a meal I also went to the buffet – for dessert!