Belize is home to the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, and second in area only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
I, not being much of a water person - which, let me digress. It's not so much that I don't love being on the water. I really like boats, I just don't love being in the water - between fair skin, extremely light sensitive eyes, and the fact that I cannot see AT ALL without my glasses or contacts (and wearing them isn't really conducive to being in/under water)....well, I'd really rather be on the boat than alongside it. So anyway, back to the original point - I obviously needed to visit and see the reef, but I really wasn't into snorkeling along the reef. So, I booked an excursion that was in a little submersible mini-sub. And that is how I packed and prepared.
However, our first night on board when I got all my shore excursion tickets, there was a note saying that particular one had been cancelled. I was super pissed. I know that they had to have cancelled it a while before the cruise and the fact that I wasn't notified until I was already on the boat... that is just really shitty customer service. I would've have prepared completely differently if I had known. For example, I would've gone to my eye doctor and gotten a temp/disposable pair of contact to wear snorkeling, I would've brought water shoes (yes I wear water shoes - I've been river rafting several times!), and I would've brought an underwater camera.
Unfortunately, because I didn't get the opportunity to properly prepare a couple of things (on the range from annoying to really bad) happened. The annoying was that I was so worried about my contacts that I had a hard time relaxing in the water. And because I didn't have water shoes, I ended up really injuring my foot (as in there-was-a-giant-actual-hole-in-the-bottom-of- my-foot-and-I-could-barely-walk injured). Injuries and worry aside I actually had an okay time, and would maybe (if given the opportunity to prepare properly) try it again.
Cort and I bought waterproof cameras on the ship. Cort ended up taking all the pictures.
I love how the camera decided to focus on the background instead of the tiny shell right in front of it.
That is Anthony, our guide. He told me that he is in the water every day, and can't imagine anything else. He loves it because it feels like he's flying.
Cort and I both went in the "beginner" group. We both know how to swim, but had never been snorkeling before. I had not been swimming in probably 20 years, but I wasn't ever worried about actually drowning - until we actually got in the water that is. So they strapped life jackets around our waists like belts instead of vests. Anthony, our guide, reassured all of the group that we absolutely, positively would not sink, with those around us. My actual problem wasn't being worried that I would sink. It was that I would drown face down on the surface. This is about to be a TMI moment so stop here if you don't want to know that boobs float and mine are ginormous!
This meant that they were working like a flotation device of their own, and with the jacket around my waist I couldn't get my boobs up out of the water. Which meant that they just kept trying to roll me onto my back. Every time I tried to sit back and get my face out of the water my boobs would act like they were an alligator in a death roll, and roll me right back around under water. It was so scary. I kept asking Anthony to take off the jacket and let me hold it in front so it acted like a kickboard, and I could get a little leverage to sit back. I don't think he really understood what the boob physics were so that was a no-go. Instead I had to hold on to the rescue float the whole time so I seriously didn't drown on the surface.
Approximately one second after this I was pulled over on my back and then my boobs went sideways into the death roll. (Why don't they make swimsuits with proper bras?!)
All in all, though, I was really proud of myself for making it through the adventure. Several people really freaked out at the beginning and had to go right back in to the beach. I saw what I came to see dammit, and like I said, I would (given proper preparation) try it again.