Reef Oriented Vacations.

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Reef Oriented Vacations.

Postby Darb on Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:05 am

Does anyone have advice on a place to vacation where one could get up close and personal with a reef?

This is still in the fantasizing phase, but was more well received by the spouse than I expected. My wife and I have never taken a vacation that wasn't camping somewhere in WI.

Any tips or shared experiences would be helpful.

Thanks,
-Brad
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Postby Cow086 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:45 am

well if you dont want to get your feet wet there are plenty of aquarims across the nation. I went to the one in Denver which was pretty good. But my brother went to the one in Boston and said it was 10x better than the one in Denver.

I havent gotten wet to see a reef yet so i don't know any good spots for that.

Paul
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I would recommend Cozumel.

Postby Madison Jeff on Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:57 am

I stayed at Plaza Los Glorius, and there was a lot to see just off their pier. Cozumel has lots of big, BIG coral heads and lots of different dives (wall, swimming, etc.).

I heard last year it was hit by the hurricanes pretty good....but I imagine the reefs bounce back (afterall, hurricanes aren't a new event).
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Postby Slakker on Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:46 am

I've also been to the New England Aquarium in boston and I loved it. In fact, I love the entire city of Boston...it's a really great city, lots to see, the transit system is great, and it's really clean.

I've been snorkeling at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park down in Key Largo, which was really cool. I didn't see much of anything you would find in our tanks though, but I guess it would depend on what area your boat goes to. Did see some sweet barracuda's though.

Let us know what you decide!
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Postby SilverSurfer on Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:37 am

We're heading to the GA aquarium next month for a seminar near it, will let ya know how it is :D -M
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Postby Sula on Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:13 am

The Georgia aquarium rocks, although I was sad to hear that the second male whale shark recently died... :cry:

Many moons ago I went to the Bahamas and did some snorkeling there, it was really gorgeous.
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Postby stevenliu on Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:35 pm

depends on your budget you can go (from low to hight)
Florida Keys
Hawaii
Bahamas
Jamaica
Belize
Australia
Phillipins
Vietnam
Thailand
Bali (indonesia)
Fiji
Maldives
Egypt (red sea)
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Postby meisen on Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:21 am

Belize is the best spot in the Carribean as far as price/preservation/fun IMO. Their are probably other good spots too, just have to work harder to get there.

Most of the rooms on Caye Caulker go for less than 30 USD a night and you can get by on 50-75.00/day for everything once you get there (including trips to the reef, beer and food).

There are enough shallow reefs in the small area around the Caye that you can go out a dozen times and not see the same thing twice.
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Postby Darb on Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:36 am

Cool Meisen, that's exactly what I was looking for. Actually you are the second person to recommend Belize.

Did you scuba or are they shallow enough that snorkeling is worth it. My wife and I are not scuba certified. Other friends of ours have gone to Mexico where they give you the gear, a half hour of training and send you on your way.
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Postby stevenliu on Wed Jun 20, 2007 1:56 pm

I lived in Belize for 6 years and went to high school there, I go to Caye Caulker or San Pedro almost every other week to snorkel. You can charter your boat and scuba very cheap, but as a hs student I rather stayed close to the beach to browse girls in bikini.
Anywho, From Wisconsin you'd probably be transiting via either Houston or Miami depends on the airline (Continental via houston, AA via Miami), Belize is kinda like a U.S. colony no business would reject U.S. currency. In fact, Belize has the largest CIA headquarters in Latin America for drug trade control.
The country actually bans industry with the exception of agricultural industry like sugar cane or rum. Therefore the natural habitat is very well preserved. Aside from all the diving, snorkeling, and shopping you can also experience rain forest, caving (largest and deepest cave in North America in Cayo district), and lots and lots of Maya pyramids. Do bring tons of Off though. Mosquito is the prime turn off for tourists.
The best season to visit is actually in spring break time when every seafood product is in season ( they ban individual items based on their breeding season), and also it's the driest and not the hottest time. Summer is ok but you don't want the risk of trapped in a hurricane.
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Postby stevenliu on Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:00 pm

oh, forgot to mention, watch out for hooks when you go diving :P
almost half the Americans who go down to Belize are there to charter fish.
I am actually kind of heart broken when our supplier began to list livestock caught from Belize.
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A few misconceptions....

Postby Madison Jeff on Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:58 pm

When I went to Belize, it was via Dallas on the way back and via Miami on the way back.

Dallas is a much better airport, coming back was an awful experience (no signage...and more focus on incoming than natives, a complete pain in the arse so to speak.

As far as the fish hooks, the entire reef area is a sanctuary, there is no fishing allowed. In fact, they discourage the use of gloves while scuba-ing, to assure dumbasses don't harass the wildlife (my personal petpeeve....I hate seeing people harass reef critters).

Not sure where anyone would have come across hooks, maybe in the deep waters like the blue hole. But I wouldn't bother to make that boat trip. The barrier reef, cayes and atolls have so much to see, including huge walls to swim along.

Anyone caught fishing or trappign fish/life in the waters of Belize would have had a tough time. How do they transport? Every province is guarded by machine gun to address drug issues....I don't see how anyone could or would try to move livestock which is protected across/thru/out of Belize.

Maybe it happens on rare occurences...but there is no way divers would need to worry about hooks, etc.
Last edited by Madison Jeff on Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby meisen on Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:47 am

I think that Belize has recently begun allowing limited commercial collection....I dont think that so many suppliers would be advertising illegally collected wildlife though I guess its possible. Anyone know what the deal there is? When I was teaching there, they had to get special permits from the government to collect. I wanted to go with them on the trip but they mandated that only the government person (I forget what they call their F&W bureau) could go. It was like Christmas though, I gave her a list of species I wanted to use for the classes and she brought every one of them (and more) the next day. They are protective of the resource though. She catalogued eveything in the tanks and recounted and returned stuff where she got it at the end of the week. I had to sign some forms that I wouldnt injure or kill anything intentionally in the course of teaching too.

As for snorkleing, yeah its great! I snorkeled almost every day when I was there and I saw so much stuff! I dont imagine you would ever need to scuba there if you didnt want to. I went in late May and it was great, no crowds and cheaper rates on everything. One of the days I went out to the reef with some guys on a good-sized sailboat. There were just three of us and a couple of locals on board so they were willing to take us to some extra places and just hang.

Also, it apparently coincided with the Norwegian break.....not a bad thing either :lol:

Steve, any plans on going back for a visit? I am seriously thinking about taking the fam for a week next year.
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meisen's experience is what I'd have expected

Postby Madison Jeff on Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:24 pm

I haven't heard about the government collecting and then returning specimens...but it makes sense if there is a need. As long as they control all aspects, including the safe return of the specimen, I think that would be a good compromise...better than anyone poaching.

There is a lot beyond diving in Belize. I learned a lot on the medicine trail, as well as one of the Mayan pyramids.

Lots of cool fish, corals, sponges, crabs, conch, etc. on the barrier reefs. Definitely recomended diving!!
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Postby SilverSurfer on Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:03 am

Hopefully Belize weathered the storm well, was looking at making my trip there next summer.
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