Monday, November 3, 2008

Galapagos - Day 4 Snorkeling Orientation

Monday (Day 4) morning was action packed starting with the 7 AM Circumnavigation of Kicker Rock, followed by breakfast, and then immediately followed by a Dry Landing at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno at 9 AM.

Monday afternoon began with lunch in Darwin Restaruant upon return from our morning excursion. Following lunch, it was time to pickup snorkeling gear which would be used for the remainder of the cruise. As you may have noticed, excursions thus far have consisted of dry landings and hikes or Zodiac rides around islands. Tuesday would be the first opportunity of several to snorkel.

Celebrity Xpedition staff was on Deck 6 starting at 1:30 PM to assist the passengers in selecting their snorkeling gear. Each passenger selected their snorkeling equipment which included snorkeling mask, snorkel, fins, wet suit, mesh bag, and optionally a life vest. The naturalists were on hand to make sure the equipment fit properly.

Even though we have our own snorkeling gear that we use on cruises, we opted to use the equipment provided by Celebrity Xpedition. Doing so kept our weight down for our baggage. The equipment was fine although by the end of the week, I did notice that my snorkel was showing signs of wear. You'll want to check your equipment carefully to be sure it is in working order. I'm assuming that they periodically replace defective equipment.

After selecting our gear, we checked it out with one of the naturalists. You are responsible for the equipment from that point on. Everything goes into the mesh bag which comes in quite handy when disembarking the Zodiacs.

Most snorkeling outings include a wet landing and hike around the island before swimming and snorkeling. Once on shore, the bags are lined up and the hiking activity takes place. Following the hikes you get into your snorkeling gear and head for the water. The bags have plenty of room for storing cameras and other personal items that you don't want while snorkeling.

Following a snorkeling activity, all equipment goes back into the mesh bag. Every attempt is made to keep sand off of the Xpedition, so the gear never goes beyond the aft deck. Once back onboard the ship, you remove your personal items from the mesh bag, take out the towels and wet suit and leave in the snorkel mask, fins, snorkel, and life vest. You then dunk the wet suits in sanitized water and return to a naturalist who hangs them up to dry. The mesh bags are also dunked and hung up. Each bag has the cabin number on them, so you simply pick up your bag the next snorkeling activity.

The entire snorkeling operation is very organized. By the way, there is an orientation on Monday afternoon but it mainly is about how the snorkeling gear will be handled. The expectation is that you already know how to snorkel. So, if you've never snorkeled before, you might want to get some instruction prior to your cruise.

We'll discuss snorkeling activities in detail in future posts. Snorkeling is an integral part of the Xpedition, so I suggest that you plan on attending the orientation and picking up your gear.

No comments: