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Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

Nottingham, United...
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Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

I'll be spending a few days in Cairns in March 2010. I want to do some snorkelling and see the Great Barrier Reef. To be honest I'm pretty scared which probably sounds stupid but I'll be 62, on my own (female) and have never snorkelled before. I really want to do it but I know I'll feel very uncomfortable on a huge boat surrounded by loads of confident younger people. Is there a smallish company who would be patient with someone like me?

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Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

I am unfamiliar with the boats out of Cairns because we always stay in Port Douglas. Out of Port Douglas is a great snorkel-only boat called Wavelength that carries a maximum of 30 people. I have been out with this company 5 times. I took a 50 y.o. friend of mine out with me on Wavelength a few years ago and she had never been in an ocean or snorkeled before. She had a fabulous time and has snorkeled again since then.

If you are interested in Wavelength, you can arrange for a pickup from Cairns. Check their website for more details. (Their FAQ's should be particularly helpful to a first-timer.)

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

As a snorkeller and diver and considerably younger all I can say is "good on you for giving it a go! Well done!" Just let the people on the boat know you're a first timer, and I'm sure you won't be the only one either.

Ask if their someone who can either come with you or keep an eye on you.

The other tip ask if they have a a floating device like a life jacket that can be worn whilst snorkelling.

My wife is not a strong swimmer and she owns one which helps her stay a float and enjoy the view.

Once again "well done for giving it a go!!!" and don't worry if someone gives you a hard time or makes a dumb or rude comment. There are idiots everywhere and I sure as heck wouldn't care what they think or said. Life is about living and experiencing and thats what you're doing! Good on ya!!!



Adelaide, Australia
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3. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

Hi Di you rager!! :) Yes you can enjoy sorkelling on the GBR, and would advise you book on one of the large GBR boats. There is a marine biologist onboard who will inform on the finer points of the GBR, lunch and soft drinks are included ( but you have to pay extra for the G&Ts). You will spend about 4 to 5 hours moored on the reef, to snorkel ride the submersive, or even hand feed the fish.

The ships crew are on watch while passengers are in the water, and make sure everyone enjoys themselves.

Your hotel can organise the GBR trip and you will be picked up at the hotel and taken to the boat.

Cairns, Australia
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4. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

If you're at all nervous entering deep water, either from the side of a pontoon or a boat, I don't think you could go wrong with Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas Cay, a motor/sailer catamaran out of Cairns - www.oceanspirit.com.au This way you can enter water from sand cay, just like from a beach, at your own pace and the crew are there to give you every assistance and guidance.

Or you could think about Sea Star out of Cairns, takes only 30 passengers maximum, spends the morning at Michaelmas Cay where you can build up some confidence snorkelling and then out to Hasting Reef for snorkelling from boat. www.seastarcruises.com.au

East Gippsland
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5. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

All good advise from all posts.We are much more senior than you are and had the best experience. . Nobody takes any notice of your age, but the crew certainly take into consideration 1st time rookies and not so good swimmers. As stated they carry 'floaties' for those not very confident in the water. We went from Cairns on 'Reef Magic' The morning and arvo tea and lunch was magnificent. . My friend was very hesitant about going in the water but was assured and helped by the crew. She was overwhelmed by the beauty underwater. Go for it! and Enjoy. You will really regret it if you hesitate.

Nottingham, United...
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6. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

Aren't you all absolutely lovely! Thank you so much - your encouragement means such a lot to me.

longhorn74 - I will certainly have a look at Wavelength - thank you very much for that suggestion - it sounds great!

howzatperth - thank you - that gave me a laugh! It's nice to know a much younger person thinks it's a good idea. I love your comment: "Life is about living and experiencing and thats what you're doing! Good on ya!!!" - that's very reassuring and I appreciate it!

Nurioopta - that also gave me a good laugh! Never been called a "rager" before but it feels good! And how did you know I'm partial to a G & T (or several!!!). ;-)

galah - Thank you also - I would feel very self-conscious and apprehensive entering the water from the boat so the idea of entering from sand cay and at my own pace sounds very good.

gardenboffin - someone even older than me - WOW!! ;-) Thank you so much for your encouragement.

I really appreciate everyone who's taken the time to help me - thank you so much!

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7. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.


Just reinforcing what others have said. My wife is very much a non-swimmer or maybe at best a dog-paddler but had the best day ever. The crew (and to some extent !) looked after herand watched how she was going & where she was. DW just started off by swim swims until she got her confidence up & then she really went for it.

Remember though to slip, slop,slap. The sun out on the reef is hot.

Nottingham, United...
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8. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

Thank you AussieJohn. It's very encouraging to hear of other people who gave it a shot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'm sure I will too.

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

Di, my 64 yo mother cant swim at all but she recently did this in Cairns ;-


Says she was terrified but really enjoyed it. She certainly looks happy in the photos :))

Mission Viejo...
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10. Re: Oldie on first snorkelling trip - advice please.

We went on Siliversonic out of Cairns. They are a midsize boat that visits 3 sites. The same company operates a much large boat that takes several hundred people out to a pontoon. That doesn't sound like much fun to me, but does offer "dry viewing" options if snorkeling turns out to not be enjoyable (but I think it will be).

Since you aren't going til March, can't you have someone get you acclimated at a local swimming pool? I'm sure some kids you know can loan you mask, snorkel, and fins....they may even give you lessons! It sounds like you already know how to swim so pool practice will make it second-nature and get past your apprehensiveness.

On our trip there were young kids, seniors, and everything between. The crew will be very helpful especially if you let them know your concerns. Last comment, besides inflatable "water wings" there are also foam "noodles" that many people were using.