excellent swimmer but suffers from
> vertigo and panic attacks if she gets too far over her head - similar to
> claustrophobia. That's why she snorkels and my dad does the scuba and
> caving trips.
> I am intrigued about the vests, do they offer the ability to snorkel
> with the security of not "getting over your head"?
Vests have been long accepted as a cross-over swimming aid. They are in the
snorkel programs because people do use weights, not only to counteract their
body fat- but flotation provided by neoprene wet suits. Certification
agencies can not call flotation vests anything like a safety device, it's a
whole legal thing.
So- certification agencies (like PADI, NAUI, etc) allow themselves wiggle
room to recommend flotation vests. Whether you use them as recommended- or
just as a safety float device- it matters not. Many people have sufficient
flotation from thermal protection wetsuits so they bob along pretty well.
Pick your float vest wisely- look for comfortable and well formed seams-
they can be abrasive. Maybe wear it over a t-shirt.
With your recently added criteria, I would now recommend my favorite (easy)
dive destination in the Caribbean- Roatan's CoCoView Resort at
http://www.cocoviewresort.com 800 282-8932. This resort offers excellent
shore diving that begins literaly at the steps of your room, plus the best
boats in the Caribbean. The shore dive can be done so shallow that it is
indeed a snorkel opportunity.
It is the resort that www.seaforyourself.com uses quite often, and although
CoCo View shares the same channel as neighboring resorts, it has a much
better shore dive and snorkel. Taken in with their other likes/dislikes- I
would bet CCV would work for them!