We really struggled with what to do here this time around. We have been here multiple times and the last time, we had our very own personal tour guide (Kia), who used to live on the island for years, take us around to every location possible around the entire island. I mean, who can top that right? So what is there left to do?
I searched and searched and found a tour online (boating) that looked interesting and posted it on here and didn't find anyone that had ever done it. I thought that was extremely odd. While I'm very grateful for the suggestions that people on here mentioned, I had either already done it or didn't interest me. So back to checking out the boating again and decided to throw caution to the wind and blindly book. We needed something "different" to do this time around (since we didn't get a chance to do any dune buggies and I had to endure listening to Kendra the entire cruise talk about it).
This tour was called "Self-Drive Boat Tour and Snorkel from Simpson Bay" The cost was $75 a person, so not bad at all. You book it using Trip Advisor (and I will say there are TONS of great reviews on there...which is what convinced me to book). It is your responsibility to get yourself to the place however.
We caught a cab and off we went to Simpson Bay to the "Rhino Riders"
Once we arrived, we checked in (which is a building located along the water and you walk from the front of building that is a restaurant (outside) to the back.
After checking in, they gave us life jackets and fitted us with fins and anything else we needed...including giving us a bag to use to put all of our things in that we were taking with us. All items we didn't want to get wet went in totes and stored in a locked building.
We were given a quick lesson on how the boats worked and how we were to follow each other in a line in certain places, the no wake zones and most importantly the hand signals. Then everyone was assigned their boat.
Now these are "blow up" LOL boats (using that term loosely). They have a hard bottom so it's easy to get in and out of and not at all what I had pictured (honestly it was hard to picture anything about a "blow up" boat).
We had a 3 person boat (but they also come in 2 people boats). We were able to add Shawna with no problems and they switched one of their 2 person boats for a 3 person. We managed to be put in the fastest boat they had and oh was it fun!!!
We first had to do some circles in front of the place to get used to how the boats handled.
They also had us stop and pose for pictures for the paparazzi (which happened to be their photographers that sit on the second floor of their building).
Then off we went. As you can see, some of the pictures are Kendra's...which she ended up handing the camera off to Shawna at some point. Shawna took some very nice pictures of the floor, shoes, peoples legs and ....well you get the picture (well actually, you don't get the picture itself lol).
These boats could really move!
Now the 3 person boat is like this...2 people sit in the back (this includes the driver and a passenger) and then the 3rd person sits in a middle chair (which is where I sat). The only issue I had with this is that there's no back on that chair and of course the faster you go, the more it throws you back and you have to keep your balance since there's nothing to lean against. But weight distribution it is....
We came to an area that was a no-wake zone and it was really cool cruising in that area.
Kendra kept turning around looking for Billy and Brayden and they were no where to be found.
We had made it pretty far before we finally seen a spot coming up behind us. Finally, here came Billy and Brayden!!!
I guess their boat had broke down in the beginning and they had to be switched out. But, they managed to catch up to us with another one of the guides.
We took off and was having so much fun! Our boat was really moving. I did end up in Sakari's lap once when we jumped a huge wave and I had never laughed so hard. I think my jaws were hurting so much from the laughter and smiling going on that day.
Billy was jumping one of our waves and they were going back and forth trying to pass us...it just couldn't keep up with our 3 person boat.
Kendra had finally noticed that Billy was with us and was relieved.
At one point we slowed down to let Kendra pass...just so I could get some pictures. Then we felt bad for Billy and let him and Brayden pass as well.
Hey at least Kendra or Shawna managed to get one picture of us. LOL I figured giving her my camera would allow some pictures of us boating but I guess not really.
We were coming to an area that had a huge hill coming up out of the water. I guess this would be the place we were stopping to snorkel. It was supposed to be a Marine Park (I forgot to mention that you have to pay $5/pp to be/snorkel in the park and that is paid to them at the shop before you leave). <---why this isn't just added to your total booking and paid at that time I have no clue.
After pulling up, we all roped off together.
I wasn't wasting any time and grabbed my gear and jumped off and waited for Sakari.
She had an absolute fit about wearing the lifejacket but I insisted. I told her she didn't have any fins with her (meaning monofin because she refused to wear the regular fins) and it was better to play it safe than sorry.
Off we went snorkeling... it was mostly rocks in the water with some coral. I was really hoping this wouldn't be all there was to see at this "Marine Park" that I just paid $15 for.
We were headed toward the rocks where we were told the best snorkeling was.
I was not impressed...but did some of this beautiful red sponges that we seen at St Lucia.
As you can tell by the pictures, this area was pretty shallow and loaded with rocks. I decided to let Sakari "off her leash" and she removed her life jacket. I held it while we snorkeled and she was free as a bird...or a fish I guess. She was so happy but I kept a close eye on her just in case. I know she's a great swimmer but I just feel so much better when she has her fin on.
There were a lot of black spiney sea urchins all over the place. I warned Sakari not to put her foot down for anything and if she needed to rest to grab onto me.
Sakari was having a blast and diving down to explore. That child...I swear...I think it's funny that the tanner Sakari gets, the redder she looks under water. I can always spot her when swimming...just look for the red in the water.