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Old 01/07/2008, 02:46 PM
bustcard bustcard is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Question Snorkeling dangers?

My girlfriend and I are kicking around the idea of going to Playa Del Carmen in a couple of months as an escape from the North Dakota winter.

I lived in El Paso for a few years and spent a lot of time in Juarez Mexico. Like most boarder town it was (I assume still is) a Ö.seedy joint. So my first question is kind of along those lines.

Playa Del Carmen isnít like Juarez is it? Cops donít hold you up for money and you donít need to worry about getting shanked all the time right?

The other questions are kind of embarrassing to ask on a forum of diving aficionados but; what are the realistic dangers of snorkeling around Playa Del Carmen.

I have read about undertows and strong currents; Iím not thrilled about getting pulled under or swept out to sea.

Other things Iím not thrilled about would be little things like:

Becoming part of the food chain (sharks / barracudas)
Becoming stung (jellies).
Getting Steve Irwined (rays).
Getting smashed up on the reef.

Also, what kind of fish would I expect to see? What kind of corals?

Does anybody have any advice on a specific company to book a trip with? Any advice on what company to stay away from?

Any info along those lines would be cool.

P.S. I am not a great swimmer.... OK I'm not really a swimmer at all. I know that swimming in salt water is easier then swimming in freshwater, But if I need to swim against a riptide or something it may go badly. If all it is just dog paddling around then I will be ok.

P.P.S. I would also like advice on a hotel to stay in. I don't need (want) to stay in some Sandals kind of place, and don't need 6 pools and bell hops. But I also don't need to wake up with internal parasites or unidentified kinds of skin fungus. So really, Iím looking for a kind of Sleep Inn kind of place. Clean and decent but not a place thatís over the top nice.

Last edited by bustcard; 01/07/2008 at 03:11 PM.
Old 01/07/2008, 03:43 PM
dcombs44 dcombs44 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Springfield, IL
Posts: 1,577
First of all, you're right. There are some dangers involved. Some are unavoidable, some are very avoidable. Most snorkelling outfits that I've dealt with in the Caribbean will not take you to areas where you are in shallow enough areas to crash into the reef. There is some current as most of the diving around Playa and Cozumel is drift diving, but nothing you can't handle. I'd would guess that you will have a life vest on which makes it easy to turn over and take a break from kicking if you need to. The main thing is to not get in a hurry and not use your arms when snorkelling. Use you fins to swim and kick slowly, and you'll be fine.

As far as avoiding becoming something's meal, the only advice I can give is to not wear any shiny objects in the water (watches, jewelry, etc.) and move deliberately. Don't spash around too much. Chances are very slim that you'll have any issues with "attacks". I heard that you're more likely to be trampled to death and eaten by a herd of pigs than attacked by a shark

There are jellies in that area. We saw a couple Man of War jellies when we dove last, but that can be unavoidable. Be aware of your surroundings and stay close to the guides if you feel uncomfortable. If you're overly worried about jellies, a wetsuit can help avoid stings if you do happen to run into any.

Just be cautious and have fun. You'll be fine.
Old 01/08/2008, 07:17 PM
billsreef billsreef is offline
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 12,688
Don't sweat the sharks and barracudas, they really don't want such a big meal that they would have to work at eating If they were really a danger, a lot of us in this forum would have been dinner long ago

As for rip tides/strong currents, if you get caught one do not , I repeat, do not fight it. You will tire out long before the current does. The trick for getting out of such currents is to swim at a right angle to the current till you get out, even if that means swimming away from the shore. Odds of finding such currents in good snorkeling areas are rare though. Rips are normally a feature of heavy surf, not exactly a good spot for snorkeling Avoiding heavy surf will also help prevent you from getting smashed on the reef. Dustin is also right about wearing a wetsuit or a skin, it will protect you from stings if that worries you. A wetsuit is buoyant, so if your a weak swimmer that might be a good idea also

"LOL, well I have no brain apparently. " - dc (Debi)
Old 01/10/2008, 06:00 PM
snorvich snorvich is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Barrington, Illinois
Posts: 1,819
Bill has good advice. Also be sensitive to the sunburn. Very easy to get too much such from direct and reflected sunlight. Don't worry about animals. Wetsuits are good ideas as they will keep you warm and will also be positively buoyant.
Warmest regards,

Old 01/10/2008, 06:23 PM
bustcard bustcard is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2

SUNBURNS?!?! I never even thought of that. We don't think much about sunburns in January here in the frozen tundra. That wetsuit is sounding better and better.

Anybody have advice on hotels or snorkeling companies?
Old 01/10/2008, 07:38 PM
billsreef billsreef is offline
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 12,688
Can't believe I forgot about sunburns Gotten some bad ones from snorkeling, not just my back, but the backs of my legs too

"LOL, well I have no brain apparently. " - dc (Debi)
Old 01/10/2008, 08:50 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
avoid touching the reef as much as possible as well, and especially avoid bright colors of any kind
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