Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Questions and comment about scuba diving and snorkeling
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Susie Berlin

Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Susie Berlin » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:47 am

We are first time visitors to Tobago, and are spending a week in Castara in ealry January. Should we try to rent snorkeling equipment for our family of five, or purchase masks, tubes and fins here in the US? Appreciate your suggestions.

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Steve Pitts
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Steve Pitts » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:52 am

Hi Susie

I would imagine that snorkel gear is relatively cheap in the US, maybe the larger stores like Wallmart would be the cheapest of all, so buying would be my first choice.

Also - not sure of the availablility of rental gear outside of the tours operated by Alibaba and King David etc. If you buy your own sets, then you have them with you whenever and wherever you wish to snorkel and once you've done it, you'll want to do it a lot more too!

With you needing 5 sets though, maybe buying a set each for the adults and renting for the kids would be an alternative - subject to availability. Depending on how old yours are, they may grow out of the fins and masks in a year or two (at least the tubes are 'one size fits all').

Some good tips on snorlelling in the Out & About tab at the top of the page. Select Activities from the drop-down, then Snorkelling - just up from the bottom of the list, including - I've just noticed - a section on renting gear.

Have fun

Steve
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Joanne Green
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Joanne Green » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:24 pm

I agree with Steve that your best bet is to bring them with you. One of the best snorkeling sites is right there in Castara, at the right side of Little Bay. It's a small reef, but the variety of critters and both hard & soft corals & fans & sponges is amazing. There's no place in Castara to rent equiptment, so you really need your own. Places like Wal-Mart sell a reasonable quality set or sporting goods places like Dick's are even better. If you're going to be snorkeling more than one year, you (the adults) might want to opt for a better set. One of the best bargains is a US Divers set that is sold by Land's End. the fins are compact, but according to the reviews, are quite powerful. The set comes with it's own bag and it's (if memory serves) only $79. Check it out. The beauty it that the fins don't take up much room in the luggage.

By the way, you're going to LOVE Castara! It's a unique place! Enjoy.

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Bill B
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Bill B » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:17 pm

I agree with Steve and Joanne that you should buy in the states where you will have a good selection and can try on the masks to be sure they fit properly. As Joanne says the fins don't take much room and the foot openings are perfect protective covers for bottles or breakable items. With the new 3oz. rules on carry-on liquids it's always a concern being able to pack them to avoid breakage and a mess.

You'll enjoy Castara and the snorkeling is great, an easy wade out from the beach.

Bill
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Gary » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:18 pm

Without a doubt I would say "BUY" & if you are going for fin's as well then make sure you try them on in the shop, an ill fitting pair of fin's can make the snorkeling miserable, if your going to do a fair bit go for booties & open heeled fins for even more comfort, do yourself a favour & don't skimp on comfort.

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Jill M
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Jill M » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:41 pm

I would also agree that you should buy rather than rent, but if this is your first time snorkeling don't even consider wearing fins, until you and the children are used to the snorkeling. Just the problem of putting them on, on the beach and walking into the sea or putting them on in the sea, is enough to put anyone off.

You don't mention if you are all good swimmers or how old the children are, but life vests or snorkeling vests make it very easy as all you need to do is float, both for the adults and the children. It also makes you more visable should there be any boats around. I personally use a SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) as a floatation aide. I can swim, but don't feel too confident when in deep water. I lean on the 'noodle' like SMB and when a boat comes near, I raise it to a vertical position to make sure they see me.

Jill

Susie Berlin

Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Susie Berlin » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:58 am

Thanks SO much for everyone's input regarding snorkelling, and renting snorkelling equipment in Castara. It sure seems to make sense to buy the equipment here in the States. We will check out Dick's and other sporting goods stores, as well as Land's End.

By the way, the "kids" are 21, 18 and 13, and all are good swimmers, and accustomed to the Atlantic ocean and big waves.

Best-
Susie Berlin

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Brian Taylor
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Brian Taylor » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:31 pm

since I don't know where you will stay and too many guest house owners do not inform their guests about little bay, I would like to say this:
PLEASE! enter the water on the left side of the bay (facing the water that is) where there is a single rock. on eiter side of this rock it is sandy and nice and you can walk in far. it is not very far to float over to the right where the reef starts IMMIDEATELY when you enter the water, it hurts me to see how people walk right out on the reef below our balcony every day and frown about me when I am trying to warn them (don't like a white lady to tell them what to do in tobago I assume).

if you walk in on the right you will hurt the reef and the reef might hurt you back!

by the way if you are good swimmers the reef is not small...it stretches on and on around the next cornner and the next into the next bays, but be sure to only attaempt such longer tours as a group only and check for the currents that day! have a great time snorkelling in castara!

steph
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Dr Stefan Rustscheff
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Re: Buy or rent snorkeling equipment?

Post by Dr Stefan Rustscheff » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:38 am

To Stephanie,
Thanks for putting up this important notion.Unfortunately many people carelessly destroy the reef and forget that it is a structure made up of living creatures! =D>

Give my best greetings to Brian. I am unfortunately heading in the "wrong" direction tomorrow, e g Georgetown and Langkawi, Malaya.

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