Here’s 5 reasons why I’ve had a great year leading snorkel tours for Snorkel Venture. Below you’ll find a collection of my favorite photos and video segments of my year in 2019.
5. The Reefs
Just about every one of our tours we spend a lot of time around reefs and the life that buzzes around these phenomenal underwater structures. Regardless if it’s Raja Ampat, Alor, Komodo, or Belize there’s nothing like exploring the world’s most pristine reefs.
4. Komodo’s Mangroves
Before I joined Snorkel Venture I used to work on a liveaboard that transitioned between the Raja Ampat and Komodo seasons as they are opposite of each other. In the five years on board, I dreamt of exploring the mangroves that fringed several of the islands in Komodo, but I was just never able to do so as it was a diving boat and the mangroves can only be snorkeled. One I joined Snorkel Venture, and with the help of our friends and Komodo resort we were finally able to make it into the mangroves on several of our Komodo Snorkel Venture safaris, and the reward of doing so was well worth the long wait.
3. Local Communities
Alor is an extremely special location as it’s still really quite off the beaten track as far as tourism is concerned. Not only are the reefs exceptional, but the coastal villages still function more or less as they always have prior to technological advancements. One of the most amazing and unique things to witness in Alor, outside of the mind-blowing marine life, are the local fishermen who fish with hand-made wooden spears and wood goggles. These well-seasoned fishermen will dive down to incredible depths on a single breath to hunt right in front of us. Upon surfacing they graciously display their catch and handmade gear, clearly proud of their unique abilities and pleased with our interest in them.
2. Blue Water Surprises
Our snorkel safaris typically run anywhere from a week to just over two, depending on the itinerary. In this time we spend the majority of the day on the water, either snorkeling, moving between sites on the comfortable boats, or just sipping cocktails on any one of the resort’s beaches. Regardless of the tour, when you spend that much time with your eyes focused on the liquid blue horizon you’re bound to witness some amazing surprises, outside of the typical reef inhabitants. Some of the big surprises that came out of the blue in 2019 include super pods of dolphins, blue whales, giant ocean sunfish, mantas, whale sharks, and dugongs.
1. A Manta Tornado
Mantas are pretty routine in Komodo. They are all over the park, and on certain sites you can see anywhere from a couple to several dozen in a single snorkel. However, on a snorkeling safari to Komodo in September we were all bombarded by about forty of these gentle giants as they frantically flapped and spiraled through the water in an adrenaline-fueled courtship ‘dance.’
A Quick Video Showcasing Just Some of the 2019 Season Highlights