TURTLE BEACH, BUCK ISLAND REEF, BBQ-     Website:

 

TOUR BY BIG BEARDS

We made it to the snorkeling spot and everyone was standing in line to go down the ladder and into the water. We decided we were going to jump!!!

Sakari insisted that I go first...so I did. Now this girl jumped off a 2 story deck at Little French Key when she was 3 years old...she did it again a few years ago. All of a sudden, she has a fear of jumping off things. Last year in Aruba, she backed out of going on this little baby zip line (IMO). Now she was afraid of jumping off a boat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But eventually she did jump and was super happy about it.

Hubby decided he would climb down the stairs. Jumping isn't his thing because of his eardrums...or lack there of.

We met up with him. I forgot to mention...you HAVE to wear snorkeling life jackets. It's the rule there (so they said). However, you don't have to blow them up. Just as long as you have them on is fine. I struggle with this with Sakari because she absolutely refuses to wear them and has such a fit about it. But, once she was informed that she didn't have to blow it up, she was good. Mermaids Must Be Able To Dive!

They had some life jackets with words wrote on it. They gave the hubby one that said Married and I got one that said "I'm his".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked down and seen this view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We were told to follow the "leaders" and they were going to take us on the "tour". I tried to stay back as far as I can. I'm not a fan of getting kicked in the face by those that kicked like they got some place to be. That's not snorkeling. You have to glide along so that you do not disturb the sealife...otherwise they hide!

There were little "markers" on the seafloor that told you things. The only problem was, it told you various types of fish...which were nowhere to be found.

 

My little mermaid was ahead of me. She decided to only wear her tail and not take the time to put the entire "getup" on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We came up and around this corner and I got this really weird feeling. Do you guys notice anything?

 

The entire seafloor looked like a dead coral graveyard. It was super weird and super spooky looking. I didn't know what to think. Did someone gather up all the dead coral and decide to dump it here? Did a hurricane destroy it? What is going on? This is supposed to be a protected area and it looked dead!!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pink bubbles? What the heck?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we kept going, we did start to see more coral, but there really wasn't many fish in the area. I was sorta disappointed at what I was seeing...or lack there of.

 

There are a lot of places that the coral is so close to the top of the water and you had to be careful. I guess that's why you needed to stay on the path.

 

But we would continue to see more stacks of dead coral in the area. It was seriously weird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"The field of the dead"

This is like a scene from a movie of a mermaid trying to find her friends in the forbidden valley of death. I'm expecting a sea monster to come bursting out of the dead coral. It was just so eerie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At one point we got near the end and they ask us if we wanted to go beyond the path and head out to the ocean...um...ok. So, we did and got about 20' out from the path and they said "ok, you can turn around now...there's no way out". What the heck? What was the point in that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey look...there's actually a fish down here!

 

And a few more parrot fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At one point, my hubs started tugging at me and pointing. I'm trying to figure out what the heck he is looking at. We came up to conversate. He said with so much enthusiasm in his voice "Did you see that blue fish???? It has TEETH!!!" I'm really not sure what type of look I had on my face at that point but I'm pretty sure I took a big gulp of water from laughing at his "parrot fish" story. Sigh. He really must get out more.

Not sure what setting my camera ended up on, but I liked this picture anyhow.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got back to the beginning, they cut us loose and told us that we were free to explore on our own. So off we went exploring with Sakari in the lead.

 

We managed to see more of those "fish with teeth".

 

Ok so...I'm thinking National Park=awesome snorkeling. I had seen a few pictures online prior to coming here and I thought they looked pretty decent. I had high expectations upon arrival and I was picturing something similar to my snorkeling experience at Rendezvous Caye in Belize. That was AMAZING! Or even our fairly shallow scuba dive in Roatan. But, I was pretty disappointed at this point. Hardly any fish and if there was any fish...it was your normal "everyday fish" like the parrot fish or blue surgeons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Check out this rock (at least I think it was a rock/coral). It looked just like a fish or eel coming up out of the bottom of the ocean. I stared at it for awhile and it didn't move. I assume it was just a fish rock. Or maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me because of the horror of a coral graveyard I had experienced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok so...I'm thinking National Park=awesome snorkeling. I had seen a few pictures online prior to coming here and I thought they looked pretty decent. I had high expectations upon arrival and I was picturing something similar to my snorkeling experience at Rendezvous Caye in Belize. That was AMAZING! Or even our fairly shallow scuba dive in Roatan. But, I was pretty disappointed at this point. Hardly any fish and if there was any fish...it was your normal "everyday fish" like the parrot fish or blue surgeons.

I had lost all hope...and then...Sakari and daddy spotted this beauty!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HE WAS HUGE!! Like the biggest I have seen so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here's a video...while some may claim my photographs are good, I have never claimed to be good at taking videos. Actually I suck. LOL
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And once again, somehow I ended up with a green video. My hand goes back and forth changing the settings all the time and sometimes I forget which setting to put it on and end up with the wrong one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband kept tugging at me and made me go up for yet another conversation. He said he was worried that we were spending too much time around the eel and it was going to piss him off and he was going to come after us and eat us alive! He wanted to go and get out of that area. Sigh. I must have taken about 20 pictures or more of it and about 10 videos. I wanted to make sure I got this picture!

So, move along we did and then the next big surprise came along...

 

WOW, there was a huge group of blue surgeons everywhere. Sakari thought she could blend in and swim as one of them.

 

It was amazing. They went on forever. I have only experienced this once and that was our scuba diving in Roatan 4+ months ago. It's definitely an amazing site to see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Continuing on with the snorkeling...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something crawling, inching along like a caterpillar, caught my eye...it was one of the fire devil worms from hell. We have learned our lesson about them years ago. It's not a cute little fuzzy caterpillar. It's the devil.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another field of never ending blue surgeons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A school of yellow striped grunts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were signaling us to come back to the boat and we started to head that way.

 

According to my camera time stamp, we were snorkeling for about 40 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back on the boat where I was confronted by another guy that said "Hey, you're mine!" and pointed at his jacket. His jacket said I'm hers and mine said I'm his. I was almost sure they had told me mine went with the hubbys that said "Married". I would leave the boys to battle it out for my love and take a seat in the back of the boat.

Now one thing Big Beards does is count and count again. They make sure they have everyone. There's 3 staff members and they all have to count everyone on the boat. They all have to count the same amount of people. If it's not, they recount again and go looking for those that are missing. We had 2 missing when they thought everyone was on the boat. They were still in the water. I guess it's a good thing they count.

 

Then it was time to head to their private beach for a BBQ.

 

We zoomed off and across the island we went.

 

There was an "extra" guy on the boat with us. He had came with the other morning group that was the 1/2 day sail. After they were done, he took a group of ours to do the snorkeling (I guess we had more people on our sail).

So he sat on the very back of the boat and we went through this little channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then he did this...(video-sorry, at this point my camera was fogging from being in the cool water and now the heat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea where he was going.

They served rum punch on the ride back. I swear every rum punch I have had taste different and looks different. Why is rum punch such a big thing in the Caribbean. Every excursion I have been on serves this stuff. It's not really my favorite I have to say. Maybe it's just very cheap to make for everyone.

(Sakari doesn't appear happy back there...she's never happy when we have to get out of the water).

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at the Big Beards private beach, which is actually a place called Coakley Cay. This is back on the mainland and not actually an island (contrary to what some people think when they take the tour).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read my next review of our private beach BBQ at Coakley Bay Beach.

 

You can find this review located HERE

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I'm on the fence about this National Park snorkeling area. Basically because there's so much damage to the reef (either by hurricane or whatever) that there really wasn't much to see as far as fish. A few parrot fish, grunts, surgeons, but that was about it. OTHER than the awesome green moray eel and the schools of blue surgeons. So...that made it totally worth the trip for me (not the full day sail, just the snorkeling itself). Any time I see something new, no matter where it is at, it's worth it! But the corals, yea there were some big ones and decent things to see. But, maybe I've just snorkeled so much that I just didn't get that "wow factor" I was expecting.

 

For me, I probably won't return to this snorkeling area again in the future. It's on my "been there-done that" list and definitely not the "gotta go back again" list.