Your USVI Snorkeling Fears: Debunked!
As the top kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling tour operator in the US Virgin Islands, we meet a lot of people coming to join us for tours on both St. Thomas and St. John. And while most of our guests are excited to get in the water and see some fish, we also meet guests who are… decidedly less enthusiastic about it.
Then why would they have signed up for a snorkeling tour in the first place, you ask? Well, it’s often one member of a couple or group; they’ve been convinced to join in, but once they arrive, their snorkeling fears are heightened as the hopping-in-the-water part gets closer.
If you’re one of these people with a fear of snorkeling (or perhaps you just have a few concerns), know first and foremost that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Plenty of avid snorkelers started out afraid. Our team is here to make sure you not only feel safe and comfortable during your USVI snorkeling experience, but also that you enjoy it!
Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions we receive from guests with a fear of snorkeling:
Is it safe?
Snorkeling in the USVI is incredibly safe and a lot of fun. We have been leading snorkeling tours on St. Thomas and St. John for over 23 years and pride ourselves on our safety record. All of our friendly, experienced guides are CPR qualified and First Aid trained. We stick to protected snorkel spots for our tours, and provide life jackets to all of our guests.
How will I breathe?
If this is one of your first times snorkeling, we understand that the mask and snorkel can feel a little bit awkward. We recommend that you practice while sitting down in the shallows. Just start by putting your gear on and breathing in and out with your head out of the water. Focus on breathing in and out of your mouth, as breathing through your nose will fog up your mask. Once you’ve slowed your nervous heart rate down, lean over and stick your head in the water, just barely beneath the surface. Breathe in and out of the snorkel for as long as it takes to calm yourself and feel confident that you’re getting air. After that, you’re all set! You can float/swim with your snorkel out of the surface of the water and breathe easily while you enjoy all of the scenery below.
Is there anything dangerous in the water?
Here in the US Virgin Islands, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by mostly calm, relatively shallow, protected seas. This means that nothing too big or scary tends to venture into the areas we go snorkeling. Sure, there are some “scary-seeming” sharks, eels, and barracuda that you may see, but remember – these creatures are more afraid of you than you are of them. If anything you’ll be lucky to spot a small shark, likely a harmless nurse shark. If you keep to yourself, they will too. And our guides will be by your side to reassure you should you see anything that you have questions about.
What if I’m not a strong swimmer?
You don’t have to be a great swimmer to be a great snorkeler. We provide life jackets to all of our guests, which means you’re able to float more than you even need to swim. Additionally, we tend to stick to calm, protected areas on our snorkeling tours, so you won’t be fighting any strong currents or waves.
Will we be floating in really deep water?
Nope! We keep our snorkel tours in relatively shallow waters. Because you have to stick near the surface to breathe out of your snorkel, we want to show you places where you can see marine life that’s not down too deep or too far away to view properly. Also, the waters of the USVI are incredibly clear – it’s like a swimming pool! – so you will easily be able to see the bottom and won’t be floating in places where there’s any dark depth beneath you.
We hope this post makes your feel more confident about joining us for a snorkeling adventure. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. And remember: we’re here to help you have fun. When you arrive, feel free to let your guide know you’re feeling a little apprehensive and they’ll take extra care to help you relax into the water.