We all scroll through instagram, and read travel magazines, maybe shmooze with a friend and see those memories and moments that make our hearts sore.
Normally, I'm an extremely proactive person by nature, as is my husband, and so when we see something that looks like fun, be it traveling to a new destination, a venturesome hike, or even a new recipe or project to try, well, we do it.
Our brains start swirling and planning, going through logistics and it's always served us well.
Enter water sports. Almost any time you read about an exotic locatoin, or fun outdoor activity to do, if it's near water, snorkeling is up there.
"Check out the crystal clear water of the Bahamas, some of the clearest water for snorkeling in the world."
"In addition to fishing and kayaking, check out Bubba Simmons snorkeling and diving adventures."
"If you're heading to Mexico this year, below are the best snorkeling spots to add to your bucket list."
The problem is, that although our kids are fabulous swimmers, and we love being on the ocean and hanging out by the pool, snorkeling felt like a totally different animal. Both Dovid and myself are not the best of swimmers, we're in the category of "Won't Die if in Water".
But being that we're parents and frankly people, that love exploring, adventure, and the outdoors, as well as ocean life, snorkeling was on the our list.
And so we booked it, to the thrill of our kids, with the quote "If you can't beat the fear, do it scared." running through our brains.
What was I scared of? Really nothing more than the basic anxiety you have of something new. I knew nothing bad would happen to us. Rather...
What if Yehuda can't swim well enough and ends up having to sit on the boat and having a tantrum and now our older kids feel bad, and no one has fun.
What if I get out in the water, and the current pulls me, I get pulled under for a second, and the moment is ruined.
What if the gear doesn't fit us right?
Now this isn't based on nothing. We've been on boats plenty of times, but one of the funnest and coolest experiences we've had as a couple was swimming with the Sting Rays and petting starfish in the Grand Cayman Islands. The boat was super cool with this hammock rope thing to chill on, they served drinks, and even though it was a windy day, it was awesome.
And then they lowered the ladder into the water, and unbeknownst to us, there were lifejackets. Did we see them or know that? No. Had we ever swam in the middle of the ocean before (swum? I dunno). Nope.
And we go down, and the waves are almost above our heads, we rush back on to the boat where we see, oh thank heavens, life jackets, and then of course had the best time and pet sting rays which was super cool.
Back to snorkeling though, long story short we had an unbelievable time, it was waay more relaxing than expected and magical doesn't even begin to describe it.
Here's all the info and details as well as some facts and basics I wish I'd known:
1. This is the tour we booked on trip advisor . We used Sundiver Snorkel Tours. It left at twelve, you had to arrive an hour early, and was located in Key Largo, FL. It was about a half hour out to the reef, an hr and a half of snorkeling, and then back.
2. Due to Covid you have to buy your own snorkel at their shop, they were helpful with sizing, and we chose the snorkels that were slightly better quality and prevented water from getting inside. Our four year old Yehuda and eight year old Tehila wore the child ones, and Tzvi aged thirteen, Elchonon age 11, myself and Dovid all used adult snorkels. The cost around $25 a piece. And yes owning snorkel equipment will now be my biggest flex.
3. Fins and Masks were provided on the boat and they did a phenomenal job with sizing. They literally had all options and fit us to a tee.
4. The Coral Reef is super rare and important. Whenever you're on a boat, they give the whole environmental speech, after seeing the Coral underwater you finally see why. It was other worldy, like an underwater palace of living and breathing plants of all shapes and sizes.
5. Although they said you need to be able to swim to snorkel, you wear vests that you inflate by blowing in and can deflate if you wish to dive under and get more up close. (Our oldest deflated his within 5 minutes and saw some super cool puffer fish lurking behind the coral).
6. They give you noodles! This I had no idea about, some captains and boats are more liberal with them then others, but the mates on the boat said people bring them all the time. without realizing they provide them for you. They even said about Yehuda "Once that noodle is secure and he has his vest inflated you really don't need to worry about him Mom and Dad, go and enjoy."
7. You float around a lot more than you realize. I thought I'd be treading water or actively swimming but the current kind of rocks you along and it's super peaceful its not like you get out of breathe or anything from it.
8. If you have an issue it's okay. Tons of people went back onto the boat to have their masks defogged, flippers switched out, or just to take a break.
9. It was really something I've never done before. To see fish that up close that you can touch them, to witness something living in the middle of the ocean many people never really get a chance to see, it's just surreal honestly. It was living life to the fullest in the most beautiful way.
10. Tons of people were in modest clothing. I didn't feel weird in my swim dress, since many were wearing t shirts, bandanas or long sleeve swim shirts. And I'm proud of myself for showing up even if it isn't always easy or the most comfortable.
11. It was a gift we gave to our kids that I'm truly proud of. From holding my daughter's hand as we swam and pointed underwater to Yellow Tail, Sergeant Majors and Clown Fish we spotted, to showing our children the true power and beauty of the One Above, needless to say, we were beyond a happy family and we will be doing this all the time.
Want to know the Driven Day Resources you need to plan your next getaway?
Click below and let the exploration and adventures begin.
Comment below with your favorite destinations, snorkeling spots, and family traveling hacks.
Click Below for Our Printable that's a must for traveling without your kids and making sure all stays copacetic on the home front:
Click Below for the Printable that makes that road trip one for the books: