Snorkeling photos

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Testudo

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USA & Grand Cayman
Moved on on-line album and erased the links to the Flying Gurnard images:

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Dave C

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The Roatan shots are very impressive. I was in Roatan about 5 years ago, and your shots are better than what I remember seeing. It definitely wasn't bad, but the number of fish was rather disappointing. I did most of my snorkeling off West Bay Beach and in Half Moon Bay. Where did you go? The highlights were the two day trips we took by boat to the Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands) and to Utila. I'm tentatively thinking of going to Utila in 2013.
 

Testudo

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The Roatan shots are very impressive. I was in Roatan about 5 years ago, and your shots are better than what I remember seeing. It definitely wasn't bad, but the number of fish was rather disappointing. I did most of my snorkeling off West Bay Beach and in Half Moon Bay. Where did you go? The highlights were the two day trips we took by boat to the Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands) and to Utila. I'm tentatively thinking of going to Utila in 2013.

Dave,

I had read your trip report and was expecting very little in the way of abundant fish and other marine life. Turned out I found the fish counts to be quite high and similar to slightly less than Grand Cayman. I have never seen so many fish cleaning stations. The wrasse where cleaning Parrotfish at what seemed like every 15-20 feet or so. Any rain also seems to have a significant negative effect on visibility from sediment run-off for a day or two until it flows through the reef.

Most of my snorkeling was done in the area half-way between West Bay and West End off the property we stayed at. The reef areas from there up towards West End (specifically the area known as Blue Channel) where phenomenal in terms of coral and marine life health and diversity. I tried to avoid the heavily visited cruise ship snorkel stop locations like Half Moon Bay and West Bay. Did briefly check out West Bay, but quickly ventured around the point to Smuggler's Cove/Lighthouse Point and found much better and solitary conditions.

Also went up to Pristine Bay and over on the other side to Port Royal. Pristine Bay was good, but lacked abundant fish and the water was a bit choppy. According to people on our charter, Port Royal has also been decimated by the cruise excursions in the three years since their last visit (specifically Cow and Calf), but actually got some of the better shots there. The Port Royal trip was intended to go to Pigeon Cay, where I understand the snorkeling is supposed to be primo, but rough seas caused a change of plans.

We enjoyed Roatan and will probably head back once a year or maybe every other. With the sand flea/fly situation supposedly being worse in Utila than Roatan I may have to skip it. That is unless you come back with some amazing images.

Have you looked at any of the outer Cays/Atolls in Belize like Turneffe, Glovers or Southwater?
 
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altarose

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On Roatan we found some great snorkeling from our house rental in Caribe Pointe Bight, they were building a big resort when we were there, so it might be over-run now.
on Utila there was decent snorkeling at the public chepas Beach, but much better farther down the road at Blue Bayou.
We had a great half day trip with Ben, a local fisherman, for $20 ea he took us to Jack Neil Bight, and Water Cay, the best we saw on Utila.
We didn't have a problem with sand flies, use bug spray and rinse off asap, however I did get Degue while on Roatan
 

Dave C

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Testudo,
Glad to hear that the fish population in Roatan appears to be better than when I was there 6 years. There definitely are more fish in Grand Cayman than what I saw in Roatan back then. The scarcity of fish in Roatan surprised me, because the area off the western end of the island was supposed to be a marine park. There was even a fancy enforcement boat going around to enforce park rules. Maybe as time has gone on, the marine park status has had more effect.

I went to Glover's Reef in Beize about 15 years and stayed at a place called "Manta Resort". The snorkeling was really good there, but you are confined to a tiny island of only 14 acres, so there is not a diversity of sites to snorkel. The sheltered snorkeling area was small. There was one day when the open Caribbean calmed down and you could snorkel to the outer reef, which was spectacular. Generally I think Belize has the best snorkeling I have seen in the Caribbean, but it's from a boat or on one of the offshore "atolls" or cays. I prefer snorkeling off the beach in a locality where I get to different sites. This typically involves going to a place where you can rent a car and drive around. An exception to this was Roatan because you could move around by water taxi and so you didn't need a car.
 

Testudo

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Dave,

Conservation efforts may actually be working, shocking! Not much of a boat to snorkel guy myself, also prefer from shore sites. I had initially planned on trying Turneffe or Southwater in Belize, but wasn't sure if the conditions for a week would be up to snuff for the non-snorkeling better half. Figured the size of Roatan would provide more options top-side. Thankfully she loved it. Will definitely try to get to some of the Cays in Belize one day, though.
 

avoska

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Thanks everyone for the comments. Before 2007, I used an older Canon S30 3 mgp camera. Since then, I have been using a Canon A630 8 mgp. Photos #1, 2, 5, 8, and 9 above were taken with the 3 mgp camera; the others were from the newer camera. Although I got some good photos with the S30, there was definitely an improvement in quality with the newer camera, especially in terms of cropping. I use the regular Canon housings, which are much cheaper and less bulky than other housings such as Ikelite. One other thing I consider essential for snorkeling photography is a weight belt. Otherwise, you can't get down with the fish. Snorkeling photos from the surface looking down almost never turn out very good.

Hi Dave,
I was thinking about weight belt for sometime. I am wondering how hard to swim with weight belt? How heavy it supposed to be? Could you please tell more about this?

Thank you
 

Dave C

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avoska,
I have absolutely no problem swimming with a weight belt, although I have used one for so long that it is second nature to me now. You just have to be sure to not have so much weight that you are negatively buoyant at the surface. If you are wearing a shorty wet suit, or if you do not have super-low percent body fat, I'd suggest starting with 8 lb on your weight belt. I've gotten a little fatter in my "old age", and if I am not using a wet suit, 11 lb of weight now works best for me. I am still positively buoyant at the surface with this much weight.
Dave
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

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