I have been a hard core snorkelling fan for decades, so when the opportunity to take part in the 3 hr ‘SNUBA off the beach at Pigeon Island Fortress Park ‘ in St Lucia arose during my recent Celebrity Eclipse Caribbean cruise, I jumped at the chance.
Having embraced my inner mermaid long ago thanks to countless family summer holidays spent in Ibiza, I honestly thought that I would take to this ‘SNUBA lark’ like a duck to underwater.
In actual fact, I was pretty shite and if I am to be really honest, its not something I would do again.
Now, let’s just be clear this had absolutely nothing to do with the facility or the fantastic, award winning team at Pigeon Island, this was all about me. (Isn’t it always?!)
I guess I am just more comfortable bobbing along on the surface of the ocean, rather than being weighted down and sinking below it. Which is of course the whole point of both SNUBA and Scuba. You dive deeper so as to see more marine life, and in order to do that, you need weights and an underwater breathing apparatus. Neither of which I was particularly comfortable with.
My loss apparently!
We were a group of 6. A honeymooning couple who, like us, were total newbies to SNUBA but, who unlike me, LOVED it. In fact the first words of the just-married-husband as he waded out of the aquamarine waters were, “Awesome – I don’t care what it costs, I just want to do it all over again!”
Meanwhile the other couple in our group were enthusiastically enjoying their fifth (yes, fifth!) SNUBA experience at the very same facility, on the very same cruise itinerary, with the very same cruise line…
Now, if that’s not a glowing recommendation for both SNUBA and Celebrity Cruises, then I don’t know what is!
So, I’m not going to dwell on my own personal lack of enthusiasm and ineptitude for what is clearly a very popular and enjoyable aquatic activity. I just need to work on that inner mermaid thing if I am ever going to be able to do it again.
But what exactly is SNUBA? Not to be confused with helmet diving, its basically its a cross between snorkelling and scuba diving (hence the name), but let’s zoom in and take a closer look to see what the website says:-
SNUBA is easier and much more accessible; so much so that after a quick (approx.) 15-minute briefing and practicing a few easy skills, you’ll be suiting up and finding yourself water bound. The basics are as follows:
- You breathe through a regulator that is attached by a line to your air supply, which rests floating on the surface in a raft as you dive. This means no heavy air tanks to weigh you down!
- SNUBA works in two feet of water or as deep as 20 feet. The point is that you are not bound to the surface like you are with snorkelling. While you SNUBA, a certified and experienced guide will always be on hand.
- SNUBA is so easy that kids can do it. We welcome anyone ages eight and up, and offer a rare opportunity for children to explore the ocean up close that scuba and snorkelling simply can’t.
I must say that the location at Pigeon Island is really nice – gorgeous beach, with white sands and swaying palm trees (sigh…) There is also an opportunity to climb the nearby Fort Rodney, an 18th Century British fort that was used by the British to spy on French Ships from neighbouring Martinique. Needless to say the surrounding views from the top of the tower are nothing short of spectacular.
The Celebrity Cruises in-room Shore Excursion Order Form states that potential Snuboids will have an opportunity to ‘spot Flounder, Blue Tang and Parrot Fish, Spiny Lobster, Arrow Crabs, Octopus and an assortment of colourful coral’ during the dive – so be sure to bring that waterproof camera!
Fellow tour participants claimed to have seen heaps of marine life, including a seahorse which, I must admit, I was very sorry to have missed.
Unfortunately, I was otherwise occupied dealing with such personal issues as trying to defy underwater gravity at the time. Something I am going to have to make an effort to address as, judging by the reviews, I am missing out big time!
All in all a great underwater adventure that comes highly recommended.
With HUGE thanks to Stingray and the team at Pigeon Island Fortress Park SNUBA©