Drunk Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

With my face in the water I can hear nothing but the sound of my own breathing.

I am enveloped in a peaceful, tranquil, blue world.

One filled with sea turtles.

Sea turtles in Barbados

Sea turtles in Barbados

A lot of people talk about what a fantastic experience it is to swim with dolphins. Admittedly, the idea of it appeals to me but every time I’ve looked into doing it I notice a few things about it that seem to be common to just about every dolphin swimming experience:

  1. It’s very expensive.
  2. The dolphins are captive (and far too often not treated well.)
  3. Timing and location of your time in the water with the dolphins are rigidly controlled.
  4. Dolphin swimming experiences tend to be very touristy. Even including professional photo ops and gift shops. It has risen to the level of being practically a tourist stereotype.

So it was that I started looking around for other activities that would be just as awe inspiring but more in keeping with my sensibilities. Something a bit more outside the norm and that was less exploitative of animals and nature.

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

When I learned of the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles in the waters around Barbados, it immediately struck me that this might fit the bill.

The turtles are free. They come to the waters in and around Carlisle Bay voluntarily. (Granted they come because they know there will be food since all the tour operators throw food into the water to lure them but they are perfectly free to swim away if they choose.)

The catamaran ride to Carlisle Bay was relaxing and fun. The crew at Action Charters offered the dozen or so of us on board unlimited rum punch.

Warning: rum punch is delicious!

I found that it’s very easy to drink several of them without even realizing it. Luckily I was keeping an eye on my daughter, who was of drinking age in Barbados but not in the US so she was unaccustomed to drinking more than a few stolen sips here and there.

Even at that, I think I had finished my third rum punch by the time we reached the bay and dropped anchor among the 3-4 other tour operators who were already there.

Despite there being something like 40-50 snorkelers in the water, we were spread out over an area the size of 2-3 football fields so it was not at all crowded.

Other snorkelers and fish in Carlisle Bay, Barbados

Other snorkelers and fish in Carlisle Bay, Barbados

So it was that I was face down in the water, breathing comfortably through my snorkel tube and feeling a sense of awe at the grace and majesty of the fish and sea turtles swimming around me.

Naturally I was very glad to have had a waterproof camera with me. I wasn’t even in a rush to get back on the boat to another rum punch.

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