Snorkeling: The Bucket List

DCIM999GOPRO

Diving Silfra, Iceland, between the Continental Plates

Tentative: In the illustrated dictionary of my imaginings, the word has a picture of me sitting between the Eurasian and North American continental plates, getting up the nerve to immerse myself in water that is 35 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm so ready Read More

Day trip with the Sea Lion to Paltra Sur (©photocoen)

Snorkeling with Sharks in the Galápagos Islands

"Shark!" I was facedown in the water, following a schools of surgeonfish weaving their way among the rocks, yet the word registered loud and clear. I looked up and saw my partner Coen waving frantically, pointing to something underneath his body. Read More

Pontoon at Norman Reef, Queensland, Australia (With permission: Great Adventure Tours)

Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

When we asked friends from Brisbane and Sydney what’s the best time to visit Australia, they said September to November, not March when we had planned to go. Our timing to experience the Great Barrier Reef wasn't the best either. The Lonely Planet Read More

Swimming with leatherbacks. Photo by Shannon O'Malley

Swimming with Leatherback Turtles in Barbados

Shannon was crying. I knew she would. I knew she was crying, in fact, even before she lifted her snorkel mask. She still cries, after all, every time she talks about a leatherback sea turtle nest-hatching experience we shared in Antigua a few Read More

Zipolete, Mexico

Skinny-Dipping or Snorkeling in Zipolite, Mexico

I chose it because the beach was of a clothing-optional variety, and coming from a fairly purist Southern family, I’d not seen a lot of that sort of thing: strangers’ boobs set free in nature and whatnot. I couldn’t very well tell my girlfriend at Read More

Feeding fish underwater with a tube in Moorea's lagoon.

Walking Underwater in Moorea, French Polynesia

I am staring at the eighty-pound helmet that will encapsulate my head: Will it be as weightless underwater as I am told? And the stingrays are on my mind too: One killed the Australian diver and conservationist Steve Irwin. I am only partially Read More

Belize Barrier Reef

Snorkeling Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley off Ambergris Caye, Belize

My guide makes the internationally recognized sign for shark, placing his hand perpendicular to his forehead to make a fin.Then he grabs his non-existant breasts. "Nurse shark!" he cries, with a gleeful smile. Fast as a flash, he reaches down into Read More

minke whale

Swimming With Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef

We float quietly in the water, holding onto ropes tied to the boat. One by one the whales appear, drifting up from the dark below. We’re swimming with dwarf minke whales on the Great Barrier Reef.  But this is a swim with whales program with a Read More

Sea lions love to play with snorkelers. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier, c 2012)

Swimming with Sea Lions and Dolphins in South Australia

As I squeeze into a wetsuit, one thought keeps pushing to the front of my mind: sharks. This is Australia after all, the state of South Australia to be more precise and it’s known for those nasty Great Whites of “Jaws” movie fame. From the Read More

One frisky manatee begged for attention.

Snorkeling with Manatees in Crystal River, Florida

The baby manatee nuzzled my cheek with its fleshy whiskered muzzle, and when I began to scratch under its chin, it went vertical in the water, grabbed my hand between its two rubbery fins with their five broad, flat fingernails each, and hugged it to Read More

baby whale shark

Swimming With Whale Sharks in Mexico’s Yucatan

Glimpsing the cluster of huge, spotted heads in the water, I peer closer. I'm not sure if I'm hallucinating after slouching under the intense sun and sitting on a boat for an hour. But as our guide yells out and slings on his snorkel mask, I realize Read More

Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Sailing, Snorkeling, and Watching Dolphins on Kauai’s Napali Coast

It's not often that the captain of a tourist catamaran is rendered speechless by what he sees in the course of a daily tour, but I'm here to tell you: A pod of approximately 750 spinner dolphins (his estimate, not mine) will do it. Followed by Read More

bottlenose dolphins

Snorkeling and Diving with Dolphins in Eilat, Israel

The dolphin is swimming so close that I could reach out and touch it, and it looks much larger than I had expected. I remind myself that being underwater has a magnification effect; things appear a third larger than they are. Even so, this toothsome Read More

Virgin Gorda north shore

Paradise Found in Virgin Gorda

Sitting against a massive granite boulder in the shade of a coconut palm, I watched sailboats drift by on sapphire blue waters. A foot-long rainbow striped lizard slipped past, dark scales against the bright white sand. Savoring the sea breeze, I Read More