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Non-boat based snorkeling tour

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Non-boat based snorkeling tour

This may well be a strange request, but I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for by researching on my own. I am a strong swimmer, and grew up swimming in the Atlantic, and working as a lifeguard and swim instructor. I have never been snorkeling. My husband, on the other hand, is not at all a strong swimmer, and can't even float. (Physically, he can't float. I've been teaching toddlers to float for years - my husband doesn't have the body fat to float.) He also chills very easily in the water. (Again, serious lack of body fat. Would that I were so lucky.)

My husband would like very much to go snorkeling while we are in Maui in May (staying at the Sheraton in Ka'anapali), but he would much rather go WITH someone who knows what they're doing, on a guided tour of some kind with a person trained in water safety, who knows about currents and rip tides. However, since he's not a strong swimmer, he wants to do this off a beach somwhere, not as part of a boat trip where the water will be deeper. (Remember, I've never been snorkeling, so if I'm misunderstanding something basic about the natire fo snorkeling, please educate me.)

Does anyone know of a company that does this sort of tour? I had assumed that we would just rent gear and snorkel off of Black Rock, since we're staying right there, but we would be willing to go anywhere on the island (though closer to the hotel is better) in order to make this happen for my husband.

Thanks in advance.

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1. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Actually, boat based ones are easier since entry/exit is not complicated by rocks or waves. And the crew of a good boat like Paragon or Trilogy has flotation aids/vests, fits the gear, keeps an eye on you. That said, Ann Fielding does land based tours that seem to be of high quality (have not done one myself) http://www.maui.net/~annf/

Frankly, for a nonswimmer, going in yourselves off shore is in my opinion the least safe way. Go with somebody or go on a boat.

If the issue is deep water phobia, then go off the shore with Ann or some other person. Black Rock is not the easiest spot--the good stuff is in deeper water there, there can be wind and currents at the point, Plus people jump off the top, a hazard.

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yfunk3
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2. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Definitely try Ann Fielding. I took her tour just this past September, and she was great, patient, willing to explain everything, points out things while snorkeling you might miss, has all the equipment you would need for every skill level (including extra wetsuits and flotation vests), just very thorough and informative all around. I had never gone snorkeling before and am not a great swimmer either (and seemed to have LOST my ability to float! ), but it's really easy to float with the flippers on anyway. After just one tour with Ann, I wouldn't feel at all uneasy about going out snorkeling without an instructor or a tour. She gives discounts if there are 3 or more people and includes a nice lunch after the tour. Just Google her name and you will find her website.

Not so much a warning as a heads up, though: Ann was saying to me and the couple that was on the same tour as me that she was thinking she would slow down the tours and water activities a bit (I think she is in her early-60s), so she might not be giving out too many tours from now on? She did mention that her daughter helps her with snorkel tours and goes on dives with her as well, so maybe you will be able to get a tour with her daughter. In any case, I would definitely plan ahead for a tour with Ann. It's not something you want to wait until the last minute to set up.

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3. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Honu_ohana mentioned the one shore guided trip I have heard about and have read nothing but good reviews about.

Next thing is our experience with Black Rock. It's the place my wife and I learned to snorkel. And it's the first place we took our boys to learn. That being said I do not recommend it for first timers especially if it isn't almost completely flat there. It has a very quick drop off from the beach and can be a little unnerving to someone new to snorkeling. And the good snorkeling is close to the rocks and if there's any wave action it can be a little scary and even dangerous. I always recommend Kapalua Bay. It has a gentle slope from the beach and doesn't get very deep until you get out a ways. Plus there is fish in quite close. And you will find it calm when many others are not. And Kapalua is a short drive from Kaanapali.

As for the "rock" condition your husband has, my oldest son had the same issue. Get a wetsuit. They help tremendously with flotation. They have several other benefits also. We never snorkel anymore without them even in the summer time. I think some shops rent them if you don't want to buy one. The link below is where we get our gear and they usually have some great prices on shorty wetsuits.

leisurepro.com/Cat/…982.html

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4. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

You have gotten some sound advice. Except I'm not for taking a person on a boat snorkel until they learn how to adjust mask, breath through a snorkle which they can learn standing in a pool.. One problem with trying to float in the pool is, as you know, you don't float.. so just get him to stand or squat and practice breathing throught the snorkel with a mask.

More of my opinion for you to "chew on"..

Some guys don't float. Our friend doesn't but loves to snorkel. Last time he used a boggie board with a wrist strap to hang to. But he liked the snorkle vest the best. You can inflate for your own level of need. That's what his wife wears.

When we have newbie snorkeling friends visiting my choice of places to snorkel for thie first time is Kapalua Bay (conditions permitting..which they usually are).The bay is small, the newbie doens't feel like he has been thrown into the open ocean lol..

I also make it mandatory for them to have a floatation device until they feel confident. If they are real new to ocean water I even take a noodle with me in case I need to assit them.

Kapalua Bay to the right has great snorkeling and the water isn't to deep. I have never found strong currents in the bay (doesn't mean they don't exist! but if they are there, the ocean is way to rough to be in the water).

Water is calmer for snorkeling before noon. We are usually in the water around 8 out by 10.

You can rent wet suit tops which will help your hubby with body warmth. Snorkel Bob, Maui Dive Shop..check their web sites. Wet suit tops $15 per week, boggie board same..don't know what rental of snorkel vest

is..

If you can't get with Ann, I'd go to Kapalua Bay, give it a try yourself while hubby watches. You don't even have to go 10 feet from shore to pracitce.Rent a boggie board with wrist strap, a vest and buy a noddle for yourself. go prepared to see what helps he him feel secure.

Don't go to Black Rock in the beginning. after Kapalua the second place would be Old Airport beach on the north side of Black Rock.

Send me a PM if you would like.

Edited: 12 January 2010, 23:11
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5. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Thank you all! I am going to e-mail Ann right now. I see from her website that she offers wetsuits as part of her package: I think that's exactly what my husband needs.

Thanks again! (I'm still open to other advice if other have more to offer.)

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6. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Hey BB:

Here's my opinion. We went to Maui on our honeymoon in 1992. At that time we did the Trilogy tour where we snorkeled off the beach at Lanai. They made us wear flotation devices (you go out in deep water) and the tour was definitely worth it. We are going back this summer and will definitely be doing this again with our kids. I'm not sure if the set up is the same, but what we did at the time was leave Lahaina early in the am on a catamaran sailboat, and arrive on Lanai. They gave us a tour of the island and afterwards went snorkeling. Then we had a great bbq lunch, then sailed back to Lahaina. Don't forget your underwater camera (if you have one).

They also offer snorkeling off Molokini.

sailtrilogy.com

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7. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

Bbridge..I was wrong, just checked with friend. He liked the belt type floatation the best. ..like the old ski belts. a few years ago you could rent them at the snorkel shops. First his feet start dropping , then his legs and before you know it he's almost straight up and down in the water. The belt kept his hips floating...

We found it funny to watch him from underwater, but then we understood why he said snorkeling exhausted him. He was fighting to keep his legs and hips up.

Good luck helping your DH feel safe and enjoy. We never get tired of snorkeling, so many great places to just walk in and enjoy..20 trips, at least 8-12 days of snorkeling each trip.

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8. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

We went snorkeling in St. Thomas last year, and my father in law can't swim due to a sholder injury. So he has never swam anywhere except a shallow pool much less ever snorkeled. Out boat tour gave him a noodle to use and a snorkel vest, and he was everywhere. He never dove down to see anything but saw plenty from the top! He liked the noodle best, and he even snorkeled several more times during our cruise!

9. Re: Non-boat based snorkeling tour

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