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Snorkel VS Scuba

Bradenton, Florida
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24 posts
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Snorkel VS Scuba

It's not really in our budget to become scuba certified at this time in our lives as we are raising three children. Can you fully experience Grand Cayman with only snorkeling or do we need to sell some of our household belongings to make scuba happen while we are in Grand Cayman? My next question is, once we are certified to we need to try to make scuba trips frequently so that our skills remain current? Thank you!

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1. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

No, you can fully enjoy Grand Cayman without scuba diving. My wife enjoys it and she doesn't dive. She loves the beaches and the water.

Plenty of great places to snorkel right from the beach. Make sure you take a trip out to the Sting Ray Sand bar. You stand in a couple feet of water with Sting Rays swimming all around you.

You could also try a discover scuba course. This is for non-certified divers. Most dive operators provide this course at a reasonable price.

I generally do one vacation a year to scuba dive to keep my skills up to date.

Edited: 05 June 2014, 23:53
chicago suburbs
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
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2. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

check out this great snorkel guide


Annapolis, Maryland
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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3. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

Enjoy the many wonderful snorkeling sites in the blog noted by caymanshelly and save venturing into diving when you can afford It. A rental car will get you to many great spots on the island.

Grand Cayman
Destination Expert
for Grand Cayman
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4. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

You have the rest of your lives to look forward to scuba if it is something you want to pursue. In a place like Grand Cayman where the snorkeling is so awesome you don't need to do scuba, however, it is a different experience and while you see marine life with both skills, the level of interaction is very unique. I started when I was in my mid 30's and absolutely love it. It is now a passion that my whole family could share. Could we have enjoyed holidays without it? Absolutely. I think the idea of taking a Discover Scuba or Resort Course is a great idea so you an judge whether or not it is something you might want to pursue, but to take such a big step as selling your belongings is totally unnecessary. You do need to dive every 12 months or else do refreshers to keep your skills current. It is not necessarily a cheap hobby even after you have done the cert. Wait until it fits in to your life naturally to get the full enjoyment.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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5. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

Hopefully your "do we need to sell some of our household belongings to make scuba happen " was a tongue-in-cheek question. There are many athletic endeavors that are not cheap - golf, skiing, scuba, to name a few - but I could never see myself taking up any of these if they're not currently in my budget. As Retrip said, there's plenty of time to pursue this later but for now an intro course would be perfect, with GC an ideal place to do it. Being from Omaha, your access to places you would want to dive is probably pretty limited without considerable travel, so waiting to get certified until you have a budget where you can do dives on a regular basis probably makes more sense.

Edmonton, Canada
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6. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

Enjoy the snorkelling, but definitely try to do a discover scuba!!

We did a discover scuba in St Martin when we were both 47. That was 10 years ago and I was hooked!! My wife certified with her open water and advanced this past year so you can always pursue it later when the children are a bit older and the budget is less restrictive.

And yes, you'll want to keep your skills current but don't get too worried about that for now.

RobynLUVStravel...I'm thinking you'll enjoy a few diving trips so enjoy the trip to Grand Cayman!!

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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7. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

I agree with others. There's wonderful snorkeling on Grand Cayman and the vast majority of visitors to the island do not dive so it's hardly a must. I grew up diving but prefer to snorkel if that means anything.

On a related note, I don't think it's necessary to sell your belongings for an activity you've never tried nor do I think many of the sports listed above need to be prohibitively expensive. Just because there are people that spend thousands on equipment and dive a handful of times a year doesn't mean it's required. As a teen I was serious about diving. At 3-4 tanks a day 6-7 days a week, it was fairly easy to rack up 1000+ dives in 12-18 months. Once a dive master, I rarely if ever paid for anything more than a few dollars for a tank of compressed air for shore dives and the occasional servicing of my equipment.

It's the same case with skiing as well. Trophy homeowners here spend $3-5K every year or so on new ski gear and clothing and might only ski only 5-10 days a year at most. So a day on the slopes for them is a $500-1000/day adventure. In contrast, I ski 50-60 days/season, service my own equipment and, since my season pass costs only $500, a day of skiing for me costs about $9. Plus there's a steady flow of barely used 1-2 year-old ski clothes and gear from trophy homeowners that wind up in the dumpsters or at the goodwill so finding cheap gear is never an issue.

Apologies that this is only tangentially related but I don't think anyone should feel like they need to go into debt to pursue a leisure activity.

hudson valley
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8. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

You may not get quite the same experience, but snorkeling can be very good. Some fish (as well as corals and other critters) aren't found close to the surface, but there's a lot of pretty stuff that is. Scroll through this list of postings and look for a few about snorkeling pictures:


Taking a resort course is definitely a good way to get a taste, and may be the best choice right now given your budget and other expenses. OTOH, if you can swing the cost of getting certified and buying masks, fins, and snorkels, you don't need to run out and buy all the other gear or splurge on regular dive trips. The cost of a resort course and going on one dive is typically comparable to taking a refresher course and going on one dive. The big difference is that with the resort course every subsequent dive will be limited to 40' and 30 to 40 minutes. After that first refresher dive you're a real diver and the only limitation is your comfort and judgment, and perhaps the policies of the dive op. Even if any of those still limit your depth your dive can last as long as you have enough air (though boat trips almost always have a time limit). Of course, staying shallow isn't much of a limitation. There's more light and your air (and therefore the dive) lasts longer.

As for staying current, my experience is that most people need to do something frequently and/or regularly to maintain their skills. Those 5 day per year skiers that smushie mentions are a good example. Infrequent skiers typically get a little bit better over those 5 days, but then they start the next season at the same level they started the previous season and they never progress beyond intermediate. Those who ski 50 days per year typically start the season at about the level they finished the previous season and are much better skiers. I think it's easier to be a very good diver than to be a very good skier, but the same concept applies. If you get certified and then do just a few dives on each annual vacation you'll start each vacation regaining skills, and you may need to review your knowledge. OTOH, if you get certified and can manage to do 50 to 100 dives over the next 2 to 3 years you'll build a strong base that may let you retain your skills. Depending on how well you retain skills, your comfort level, and the policies of the dive op you want to use, you may be able to grab a tank and do a shore dive on your own to get up to speed or you may need to take a refresher course.

"nor do I think many of the sports listed above need to be prohibitively expensive."

Other than the initial outlay, diving can be very inexpensive.Some people really enjoy diving in lakes, quarries and rivers, and almost everybody has some that are fairly close by. Of course most people prefer saltwater, and many limit themselves to diving in warm water. That means that for a lot of people getting to the place they want to dive that requires a lot of money. Unfortunately for the OP, it's a very long drive from Nebraska to saltwater. On the upside, a week of good diving in Florida is a lot cheaper than a week of better diving in GC.

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9. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

I say do it. Life is short and scuba is one of the things that can change your life.....

IMO the snorkeling in Cayman is good but the diving is great. In this area of the world, lots of places have good snorkeling but not many have great diving. Just my $.02

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
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10. Re: Snorkel VS Scuba

If diving is as far out of your budget as it sounds. Stick with snorkeling. Although SCUBA is amazing snorkeling can be just as rewarding. GC is also an expensive destination for SCUBA. Places like Roatan are much cheaper on a per dive basis.