WEST BAY BEACH: Second half of Bodden Tours Excursion
After the zip lining, we were taken to West Bay Beach and dropped off at Tabyana. He said they always drop everyone off there because it was the “free access area”. They parked in a parking lot, so you did have to walk to the place to get to the beach. It had rained for days, so it was very muddy!
The area was nice and since we were with a group, everyone had to agree on a time to meet back at Tabyana to leave and go back to the port. Others decided that they wanted to leave at 2pm (which was a little earlier than I wanted to go since snorkeling is MY THING and could spend all day there, but I agreed and I’m not the type to raise a fuss about anything). Everyone does have to agree for the same time (unless you want to pay to get back to the port of course). We had wanted to snorkel a bit and then go get some food at Bite On The Beach, where they have Eels there to view in the water, but we knew after this that our time would be limited and we would not get to do this.
We all took off on our own.
The beach was very pretty however there were vendors everywhere hounding you about buying things, renting things, going on excursions. I made my way down the beach and out to the water just to try to get away from them. Some would actually come out into the water to try to sell you things. It got annoying after awhile.
I went in front of Infinity hoping to find the “kidney” in the water and get into some serious snorkeling. After talking to several people from the island (and seeing the water for myself), I knew it was not going to be a good snorkeling day. They had multiple days of non-stop rain and bad weather and the water clarity was not good at all. We were told the best area to see anything would be to head to the end of the beach by the rocks because the clarity seemed to be better over that way today (maybe the huge rocks protected a lot of the stir up of the ocean floor??? I don’t know).
Upon entering…yea, no clarity. We figured we’d just have to bring the fish to the surface to us…out came the fruit loops and out came hundreds of fish. It just still wasn’t easy to get pictures and this is pretty much what you seen:
***Note*** Yes, I know you should not fish the fish/marine life cheerios and it's bad for them and interrupts the biosystem of the ocean. I did not know that at the time. It's confusing to people because when on tours you'll see the excursion guide doing the same thing with various foods to bring the fish up in the water so that tourist can see them. It's all for the money. I realize that now but it's hard to expect people to do the right thing when you have the locals doing the total opposite and actually teaching tourist to do these types of things.
This was also the first time that my 3 year old had been in the ocean to swim. We were not sure how she was going to react and had figured one of us would stay on the shore while the other snorkeled and then vice versa. Nope, once again, she amazed me and swam right alongside of us. Starring down into the water at the fish and giggling the entire time. Every once in a while we would hear a screech of laughter come from her when a fish touched her legs. I put her mask on her and dipped her head under several times for her to see. But, she hasn’t got the hang of it to actually snorkel on her own yet. Maybe next year.
We did find that the more we went out, the better the clarity. Still not the greatest, but it worked.
I was really disappointed in the water conditions that day. I had hoped to see so much more, but you can't control the weather/sea conditions. We did what we could and that was that. We also had to deal with having our 3 year old with us the entire time and although she was doing a great job of swimming along side of us, her little legs did wear out often and she would just hop on our back to hitchhike a ride while we continued to snorkel. It worked out great for us, but I didn't want to go out too far to explore due to having her with us.
We came in several times to rest and explored the rock wall with all the holes in it. I ran into a photographer that had a micro lens and was taking pictures of the crabs in the holes. Wish I had my slr at that point…but oh well.
We also discovered several iguanas baking in the sun on the rocks above (famously called the Iguana Wall for a reason). It was such a beautiful site to see those huge rocks and all the flowers and greenery growing on it at the top.
Once it was time to head back to Tabyana, we decided to stop in a little ice cream store and get something to snack on before returning to the ship. We ran into a really nice guy that had just moved there 2 months ago from Nevada. He went on about how cheap things were there on the island and easier to make money. Food and rent was cheap and in several months he would be flying his girlfriend and daughter there to join him. We talked for a long time and we found most on the island to be very friendly.
It was time to head back so we all walked back to the van and it didn’t take long at all to get back to the port. Plenty of time to shop, take pictures, and look around before boarding.
You can find the first half of our Bodden tours here :
This was the second half of our "zip and dip" excursion with Bodden Tours.
The beach was pretty, but loaded with vendors that wouldn't leave you alone...and getting in the water did not stop them. They would follow you. However, we were very firm with them each time and eventually they left us alone once we made it down toward the end of the beach.
We had read and seen such good things about snorkeling at this beach and I was really looking forward to it. However, with bad rain and storms prior to our arrival, things did not work out as planned. The water was very stirred up and it was really hard to see. The further you go out, the better it is, but we didn't adventure out too far due to having our little one with us.
I'm sure under normal water conditions, it would have been a great place to snorkel and I hope that some day we make it back.
I would recommend going here for the snorkeling...as long as it is what people say it is. If we were to come back, I would book with one of the many beach clubs along there and stay the entire time instead of trying to pack 2 places into 1 day. I would definitely not come back using Bodden Tours for many reasons. (Read my first half of the review list above for many reasons why).