UNEXSO's Video Snorkeling Adventure
FAMILY FUN IN THE BAHAMAS
by Bonnie J. Cardone
Last August I was invited by the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) to check out its brand new Video Snorkeling Adventure. Thus, on a Saturday afternoon I boarded one of the company's very stable, roomy flattops just before it headed out for a shallow reef off Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island.
Bret Vance and his two daughters, Brina, 8 and Megan, 6 were on my trip. In the shade of the boat's canvas canopy on the way to the site, UNEXSO instructors Veronica Niebur and Tony Ciampa showed the girls and their dad how to use the UNEXSO supplied equipment. Brina and Megan tried on their masks and the straps were adjusted to fit them. They put their snorkels in their mouths and breathed through them while Veronica showed them how to clear water with a puff of air. They put on their snorkeling vests and practiced blowing them up and deflating them. Then the snorkelers were given a little waterproof container filled with fish food (when the food is gone, use the case to keep small things dry at a pool, beach or on a boat).
We were at the reef site about 15 minutes after we left the dock. The reef was only about 15 feet deep; you could see the bottom clearly. The girls and their dad were in the water shortly thereafter.
Brina was a natural, taking to the water immediately. Within minutes she was finning joyously all over the sea. As she kicked here and there she stopped frequently to exclaim excitedly about what she was seeing. When she decided to feed the fish, things really got interesting! Sergeant Majors and Yellowtail Snappers came in eagerly and snapped up the proffered pellets. (Since the food is dropped into the water, there is no fear of little fingers being bitten.)
Meanwhile, Veronica was working with Megan, who was a bit apprehensive about having a mask covering her nose.
While the guests were snorkeling and freediving, a UNEXSO videographer was recording their actions, cutting occasionally to the reef to film what was happening there. Within minutes after we returned from the trip, a copy of this tape, included in the cost of the trip, would be available. It's a nice souvenir that can be shared with the family and friends who couldn't make the trip with you, as well as providing a visual record that will be enjoyed for years.
The UNEXSO Snorkeling Adventure is a great way for nondivers to while away a couple of hours and it's inexpensive. For just $35, adults get use of snorkeling equipment, waterproof container with fish food, a video of the adventure and the roundtrip transportation to the reef. Children under 12 can go on the trip for $15 (everything except the video is included), a nonsnorkeling guest can ride along for just $10. There are several trips available each day, one of which is bound to fit into your schedule.
For more information, or to schedule your snorkeling adventure, contact the Underwater Explorers Society at (800) 992-DIVE (3483). You can also write to P.O. Box 22878, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33335; phone (954) 351-9889 or fax (954) 351-9740. On Grand Bahama call (242) 373-1244 or fax (242) 373-8956.