Seriously. I had been hoping that these updates would be unnecessary by this time. I asked my editor two months ago to tell me when these postings would be irrelevant. Unfortunately, they still are relevant.
It is challenging to continue to be restricted in our movements with no clear end in sight. It may sound cliche’, but it is times such as this that reveal what we are made of.
We must continue to hope for the best, be grateful for the progress we have made, and know that there will eventually be an end to the ever-changing restrictions currently in place.
As we have in the past, we look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization for advice on how to navigate these rough waters.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and their travel advisory lists regulations and requirements for travel to various countries.
As of September 21, 2021, these countries have a listing of Level 4: COVID-19 Very High. Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling.
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Virgin Islands, U.S.
It turns out that Australians are just as tired of staying home as the rest of the world is in being kept out of the land down under. Australia is on track to allow borders to reopen by Christmas, the country’s minister for trade, tourism, and investments said on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told parliament that Australians ultimately needed to be released from lockdowns, taking the tack that “Australia can live with this virus.”
Australian authorities have shifted their focus to rapidly vaccinating their population and away from the suppression strategy that sought to bring cases down to zero.
Premier Daniel Andrews has said that there will be an easing of the extremely tough restrictions once 70% of Australia’s adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. They hoped to hit that milestone by September 23, 2021, if vaccinations held their current administration rates.
When they hit the 80% double dose mark, which they anticipate will be sometime in November 2021, they will look forward to allowing citizens to enjoy international travel.
Australia also plans to test out “vaccine passports” with other countries: Singapore, Japan, and the United States are reportedly on the list.
Find more information here: Australian Coronavirus Travel Safety Information.
Despite being on the Level 4 list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bermuda is open and welcoming visitors to the island. All immunized travelers (starting in August of 2021) will be given a red wristband upon arriving in Bermuda.
Immunized travelers with a pretest will need to wear the band until they receive a negative arrival test. If you have not had a pretest, you must wear the band until you receive a negative day 4 test.
All travelers must apply for and complete a Bermuda COVID-19 travel authorization 1 to 3 days before arrival.
Bermuda is serious about this travel authorization; failure to do so will get you a fee of $1000. Failure to pay the fee is also considered an offense.
Find the form here: Make reservations | Bookings powered by resQwest.com
This video will help you complete the form correctly Bermuda Travel Authorisation Form – Visitor
Find more information here: Bermuda Guide To Safe Travel
Travelers to the Dominican Republic: don’t need to present a negative test, but some are subject to Covid-19 breath tests upon arrival. Airports and other ports of entry will perform the aleatory breath test.
Travelers who present a vaccination card no less than three weeks after the last dose or present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival will be exempt from this procedure.
All travelers will need to have a temperature check. All foreign citizens who enter the Dominican Republic exclusively for tourism purposes need to have a valid passport during their stay.
This measure is valid until December 31, 2021.
Find more information here: Coronavirus Information – GoDominicanRepublic.com.
As of September 25, 2021, there are no travel restrictions in place for visiting Florida.
According to the website: As of January 26, 2021, the US government is requiring all air travelers arriving in the United States from other countries to get tested for COVID-19 no more than three days before their flight departs.
Travelers must also present the negative test result or documentation showing that the individual has recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.
Air passengers will also be required to confirm that the information they present is accurate by signing an attestation.
The Florida Department of Health has advised as follows:
Find more information here: Florida Travelers.
Governor David Ige is still saying “Thanks, but no thanks.” to travelers wanting to visit Hawaii.
Travel has been reduced to essential business activities only. The ten-day mandatory self-quarantine remains in place for all trans-Pacific passengers.
Travelers coming from the U.S. and who have been fully vaccinated will be able to bypass quarantine.
Hawaii has required that a negative test result be uploaded onto Safe Travels or printed out before departure, and a hard copy must be handed in upon arriving in Hawaii.
Find more information here: Travel – Hawai’i DOH: Info & Resources for Managing COVID-19.
The Seychelles Islands allow entry to visitors from countries except for Brazil. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cote D’lvoire, and Guinea.
Visitors’ vaccination status will not affect their entry, but visitors are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before traveling.
At the least, you will need to have a negative PCR test that was taken 72 hours before departure.
Seychelles also requires that all travelers have valid health insurance to cover potential COVID-19 related costs such as quarantine and treatment.
Find more information here: Seychelles Travel Advisory.
Did You Know?
This had to be incredibly exciting and so much fun! Freedivers off the coast of Spain uncovered perfectly preserved gold coins from the Roman Empire. The collection is one of the largest ever found in Europe.
The divers, who happen to be brothers-in-law, were diving off the island of Portitxol when they found eight coins, three nails, and the remains of what might have been a sea chest.
The two freedivers were vacationing in Xabia, Spain, and cleaning up trash as they explored the underwater scenery when they came across a shiny object.
Using the corkscrew of a Swiss Army knife, they discovered a gold coin along with another seven coins embedded in a rock crevice.
The two brothers-in-law reported their find to local authorities. As a result, scuba divers and archaeologists investigated and uncovered more coins for a total of 53.
Archaeologists will carry out further excavations at the site in the next few weeks.
Analysis of the coins found they were from the end of the 4th century or the beginning of the 5th.
Whoever hid the coins probably died before collecting them, which left them buried in the water for about 1,500 years.
One of the most remarkable things about the coins is how well preserved they are.
The coins will be restored and exhibited in the Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum of Xabia, the University of Alicante said.
This just proves that there is still much to be discovered in the waters that make up 71% of our world. Who knew that picking up trash would reveal a priceless treasure?
Read the article here:Spain: Roman Gold Coins Found by Amateur Divers Clearing Trash.
The oceans, reefs, and sea creatures have not missed human interaction, and in fact, have flourished in our absence. One example being that beach closures in Florida, USA, led to a 39% increase in nesting success for loggerhead turtles.
And while that is a plus, we who love the ocean are missing the waters and creatures. This whole pandemic situation has become beyond trying for snorkelers and divers alike.
The way it was supposed to go was that the vaccine would roll out, shots would be administered, herd immunity would prevail, and the world would slip back into a familiar pattern.
However, some countries that had opened have closed again or imposed new restrictions. This virus has tested our resolve.
And while it may not seem like it at the moment, we ARE making progress; things ARE getting better. It is just taking far longer than anyone had wanted.
We just need to hang in there a bit longer and know that the end is in sight.
In the meantime, we have relied on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and their travel advisory to keep abreast of regulations and requirements for travel to various countries.
The CDC has five levels of risk assessment for COVID-19. Level Unkown, Level 1: low, Level 2: Moderate, Level 3: high, and Level 4 Very high.
On August 16, 2021, four destinations were added to the Level 4 list:
On August 23, 2021, there were six more destinations added to the growing list of Level 4 places:
In its broader guidance, the CDC recommends against all international travel until you are fully vaccinated. You can check out your desired destination here:
COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination
Here are where other popular snorkeling destinations stand in their reopening process.
Borders allowing for international travel into Australia are still closed. Besides air travel, since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships can enter Australian waters.
That ban extends to September 17, 2021, but it does not mean that the ban will lift at that time.
Non-commercial vessels, including yachts and private superyachts, must also adhere to requirements designed to keep Australia safe from the virus.
Get more information at Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for international travelers.
The Bahamas have a Level 4, very high-risk rating for COVID-19. It is advised to avoid travel to the Bahamas at this time, per the CDC.
On Saturday, August 21, 2021, the Bahamian prime minister implemented a pandemic COVID-19 CURFEW GUIDELINES for residents to be in place from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am.
This pertains to the mainland Exuma, Abaco, the Abaco Cays, and North, Central, and South Andros.
The domestic travel requirements for the Bahamas are listed below.
Check out travel restrictions to the Bahamas here:
COVID-19 Status – The Bahamas
Bermuda has a Level 2: Exercise caution, designation from the CDC. Bermuda has requirements for all travelers to their country, including a Pre-vetted Travel Authorisation.
For more information on requirements for Bermuda travel, check here:
Applying for a Bermuda Travel Authorisation
As of August 10, 2021, you must have a valid passport and medical and travel insurance (this is mandatory) to travel to Ecuador.
You will also need to be fully vaccinated or present a negative RT-PCR test taken three days before arriving in Ecuador.
You will also need to fill out and sign the Ecuador Traveler Health Declaration Form before traveling.
Check out travel requirements for Ecuador and the Galapagos here:
REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS ARRIVING IN ECUADOR
Hawaii and the United States
The US is extending nonessential travel restrictions at its land borders with Mexico and Canada. These restrictions will last through September 21, 2021, at least.
The Department of Homeland Security cited the Delta variant of the coronavirus as the reason for this extension.
These restrictions have come under scrutiny by lobbyists, lawmakers, and border mayors. These groups have implored the Biden administration to adjust these limits, but so far, the restrictions hold.
In Hawaii, Governor David Ige has asked Hawaii residents and travelers to postpone all nonessential travel through the end of October 2021.
This is due to the recent accelerated surge in COVID-19 cases. This surge has seen a burdening of the state’s health care facilities and resources.
A young monk seal underwater in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Photo: NOAA/PIFSC/HMSRP
Check out travel restrictions to the US here: International Travel to the United States
Check out travel restrictions to Hawaii here: Hawaii COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) restrictions
Still on lockdown, foreign nationals who may enter Indonesia are limited to those who hold diplomatic visas and service visas. See the regulations at this link.
Indonesia CAREs is preparing for the return of visitors, but there is no date of when that might occur.
Image from Indonesia Travel Komodo National Park
Check out travel information for Indonesia here:
Advisory on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019 )
The CDC recommends that you be fully vaccinated before traveling to Jamaica. They suggest avoiding nonessential travel if you are not vaccinated, as Jamaica has a Level 3: high-risk rating.
Please visit the link below to see the pre-departure and arrival guidelines from Jamaica’s travel authority.
At this point, if you are not a citizen of Jamaica and have been to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, India, or Trinidad and Tobago, within 14 days of your intended entry date, you will not be approved for travel to Jamaica.
Check out Jamaica’s entry program here:
Jamaica Cares, health safety for visitors, tourism workers, and local communities
Effective July 26, 2021, the Ministry of Public Health is allowing tourists to the Maldives with regulations in place. Tourists will need a valid negative PCR test no more than 96 hours before departing.
If you are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by WHO | World Health Organization, you will be allowed to check into any inhabited local island.
Check this link for requirements for travel to the Maldives:
COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Criteria for Permitting Tourist Arrivals
Check this link, updated August 24, 2021, from the Ministry of Tourism for opening dates of various hotels and resorts:
List of opening dated for Tourist resorts, hotels, and tourist’s vessels
Did You Know??
Some snorkeling gear may have gathered dust during this pandemic, but it has also been a life-saver. Literally.
Here are just two instances where clever people have used already available items to help stem the tide of the virus and get us back to using this gear for its intended purpose.
From the BBC:
The Coronavirus outbreak in Italy has left hospitals desperately short of supplies, including oxygen masks.
One company in northern Italy has used 3D printing to develop a valve that turns a snorkeling mask available at sports stores into a ventilation mask. It’s now used across the world.
Watch the video of their adaptation of snorkeling masks here:
BBC World News
Video by Francesco Tosto, Gillian Hazell, and Mark Lowen
From California, USA
Stanford University bioengineers and local businesses have found ways to re-purpose scuba and snorkeling masks. One of the bioengineers was a snorkeler who was self-guaranteeing and contemplating his snorkeling gear.
Bioengineer, Manu Prakash, reached out to French researchers and other collaborators to provide the highest quality of defense in PPE gear.
Thus was born the Pneumask to be used as an N95-equivalent PPE.
See the complete article and accompanying video here:
Coronavirus: Scuba, snorkeling gear to give health care workers another option for defense
Slowly but surely, travel restrictions in place because of COVID-19 are easing, or in some cases, lifted under certain circumstances. With relief and excitement, we embrace the snorkeling world getting back to a resemblance of normalcy.
As was advised from the beginning, make sure that you check the Department of State’s Travel Advisories, CDC Travel Advisory, and your country of interest website before setting forth. The Delta variant has added another layer of uncertainty to what had looked like the world turning a positive corner regarding the virus.
Make sure, too, that you have your health insurance when traveling, as countries have made it clear that travelers are responsible for the cost of their care when visiting.
Australia’s borders are currently closed to most international travelers. Still on lockdown, Thousands Protest Coronavirus Lockdowns In Australia.
On Saturday, July 24, 2021, Sydney and other Australian cities protested the continuation of Australia’s Largest City Sydney Locks Down For A Third Week.
This protest came as COVID-19 case numbers in the state reached another record with 163 new infections in the previous 24 hours.
As of July 25, 2021, about 15.4% of the country’s population above 16 are fully vaccinated. At this point, Australia may still be closed to visitors until the end of this calendar year.
Get current information at: https://www.australia.com/en-us/travel-alerts/coronavirus.html
The Bahamas has waived all test and quarantine requirements for those travelers who are vaccinated. You must have proof of a Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca vaccine, and you must be past the two-week immunity period.
All travelers over the age of 11 who are unvaccinated will need to get a negative PCR test within five days before arriving in the Bahamas. Those travelers will need to complete a daily health questionnaire and re-test on their fifth day.
Get current information at: bahamas.com/travelupdates.
Travelers coming from any U.S. state territory will need proof of vaccination received within the U.S. You will need to upload your vaccination record into their Safe Travels online resource or a hard copy needs to be presented upon arrival. Those travelers coming from the U.S. and its territories and are fully vaccinated can bypass quarantine without a pre-travel test.
Travelers from other trans-Pacific countries must use a pre-travel test or quarantine for ten days upon arrival.
A negative test result from a test taken from one of Hawaii’s trusted testing partners no more than 72 hours before the final leg of their journey is required. If you arrive without a negative test or U.S. vaccination, the traveler will be required to quarantine at their own expense.
When the state of Hawaii reaches a 70% vaccination rate, all restrictions on travel will be lifted.
Get current information at: hawaiicovid19.com/travel.
Out-of-state travelers will have to pay twice as much to have access to Oahu’s most popular snorkeling spots. Pre-pandemic, the entry to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve cost $7.50. At the end of June 2021, the price was raised to $25.
Local city council chairman Tommy Waters told the Associated Press that Hanauma Bay dramatically healed during the pandemic when access to the bay was closed to the public.
The waters in the bay became clearer, and fish swam closer to the coast. Officials are now capping traffic at the preserve, and online reservations are required.
The bay is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reservations can be made up to two days in advance, starting at 7 a.m. local time. However, tickets into the park can sell out in the first five minutes, so you will need to be quick.
Parking is $1 for Hawaii residents and $3 for out-of-state visitors. Tickets are free for residents of Hawaii, children under 12, and active-duty military.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, more than 90% of front-line workers in the Maldives have been vaccinated. There was a brief closure of its borders to travelers from South Asia.
Still, as of July 15, 2021, this Indian Ocean archipelago allows both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers to enter the islands. You must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of your flight.
The Maldives is working towards offering vaccines to all residents. Once this has taken place, the country will roll out a 3V (Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation) tourism plan. This plan will provide vaccinations for travelers that are on-island.
Get current information at: ourism.gov.mv/covid19.
As of July 2021, Seychelles requires all travelers, whether vaccinated or not, to prove a negative PCR test upon arrival. The test must be taken within 72 hours before departure.
If the traveler is vaccinated, they must provide proof of vaccination when applying for permission to enter the islands. You must also have travel health insurance covering COVID expenses, including quarantine, isolation, and treatment.
As of July 2021, any travelers who have visited South Africa, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, or Pakistan within 14 days of their intended arrival in Seychelles cannot enter.
Get current information at: advisory.seychelles.travel.
As of July 1, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers arriving from the United States into Phuket will not be required to quarantine.
On July 22, 2021, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) approved, in principle, a proposal that will allow tourists to Phuket to extend their stay under new and revised requirements.
Travelers could stay in Phuket for seven days and then visit another pilot destination for another seven days. This program will become effective on August 1, 2021.
The other pilot destinations proposed are Surat Thani (Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay Beach), and Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao).
Get current information at: tatnews.org.
While Australia’s borders are still closed, you might want to take a trip to the Ningaloo Coast in Western Australia once they reopen.
It is a World Heritage site that comprises 1,742,130 acres along the East Indian Ocean. In the Abyssal Deep Sea Canyons off Ningaloo, you might see a Giant Siphonophore Apolemia.
Looking much like silly string gone awry, this very distinct creature is a species of siphonophore called Apolemia. According to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, this creature may be the longest observed on Earth to date.
This creature engages in an intriguing hunting strategy: it’s searching for prey in a “galaxy-like spiral.” Given the size of the Apolemia, it could be tens of years old or hundreds of years old. There is just not much known about this creature.
The World Health Organization (WHO) held a virtual press conference on June 25, 2021, to give a briefing on the current battle against Covid-19. As can be expected, as countries ease public health measures and open borders, there is also beginning to be an increase in transmission worldwide.
Along with that increase in transmission, there are new variants. WHO has said that variants are to be expected, and their prevention can be tied to preventing transmission. Less transmission, fewer variants.
This important update from WHO summarized what we already know. Although we are on the right path, we are not out of the woods yet.
This disruption has taken many forms over the past year, and it has taken its toll on all areas and sectors of the world population.
While it can be overwhelming, we are making progress. The world has begun to see that by following protocols regarding the virus, we are getting a positive pay off.
So while borders are not completely open and travel is not yet unrestricted, we are getting there. As challenging as it is, we have to hang in there a bit longer. It will make that return plunge into the water all the sweeter.
Here is some information for June 2021.
Snorkeling excursions are one of many now-sanctioned activities Anguilla visitors can enjoy away from their accommodations. Credit: 2021 Anguilla Tourist Board
Anguilla is welcoming pre-approved travelers as of May 25, 2021. Travelers must follow step-by-step instructions. That involves authorization, hotel and transfer reservations, and testing.
The quarantine time is seven days for fully vaccinated travelers. You must be three weeks past your final dose. Beginning July 1, 2021, Anguilla will drop testing upon arrival and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers three weeks past their last dose.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Anguilla is Level 3: Reconsider Travel, and the CDC’s advisory is Level 1: Low Level of COVID-19. Visit the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, which oversees Anguilla, for additional information.
The Land Down under remains on lockdown. Reports from various news outlets tell of the frustrations many Australians have with their country’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Official Australian Government pandemic strategy.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Australia was celebrated for its initial response to Covid-19. However, in the ensuing months, the federal government has failed to secure enough vaccines for its population.
As a result, just 4% of Australians are fully vaccinated compared with 46% in the U.S. and 47% in the U.K. This lack of vaccines has contributed to regular “circuit breaker” lockdowns that occur every time a handful of cases emerge.
Australia’s borders, shut for more than a year, continue to be closed. Officials have said that they want to reach herd immunity, the point at which 80% of the population is vaccinated, before reopening its borders.
Prime Minister Morrison has said that the point in time of herd immunity might not be until mid-2022. However, when asked more recently, the Prime Minister was unable to commit to a Christmas 2022 reopening.
Ben’s Cavern in the Bahamas Photo by Alex Rose on Unsplash
The Bahamas went through a few bumps in the road on the way to reopening. They first opened in July 2020, shut down again, and then reopened in October 2020.
As of May 1, 2021, the process is now relatively straightforward. Travelers must still apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa, but if you are fully vaccinated, you can present your proof of vaccination instead of PCR test requirements.
The health visa has a cost associated with it, depending on your length of stay. Expect to pay between $40 – $70 for the visa. If you are not vaccinated, you will need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within five days of your arrival.
While in the Bahamas, all visitors must wear a mask in public spaces, and they are taking this precaution seriously. There is a $250 fine or one-month imprisonment for failure to comply.
Beaches on Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Exuma, and Abaco have nightly curfews from 10 pm to 5 am. There are also COVID-19 CURFEW GUIDELINES that travelers must adhere to while visiting the Bahamas.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Bahamas is Level 3: Reconsider Travel, and the CDC’s advisory for the island is Level 3: High Levels of COVID-19.
Photo by Reilly Durfy on Unsplash
Bermuda is open to travelers, but within 72 to 25 hours of departure, you will need to fill out the Bermuda travel authorization process online.
There is a $75 fee per traveler, but this includes the cost of all Covid-19 testing in Bermuda. Each traveler, regardless of age, must complete the form.
Within four days of departure, changed from five days, as of June 20, 2021, visitors will have to take a Covid-19 test and get a negative result.
In addition, be sure to have health insurance that covers illness and injury when you are away from home. If you do not have this type of insurance, you will be responsible for all health, treatment, and accommodation costs in Bermuda.
If you are not vaccinated and choose to travel to Bermuda, as of June 20, 2021, you must:
As of June 16, 2021, the U.S. State Department’s advisory for Bermuda is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, and the CDC advises that Bermuda is a Level 2: Moderate Level of Covid-19 in Bermuda.
For all intents and purposes, Indonesia is still closed.
In January 2021, cases of Covid-19 in the country topped one million. They have now passed 1.9 million.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, all foreign visitors need to have an existing and valid visa or residence permit. Entry for those who do not have these items remains suspended.
Since April 23, 2021, Indonesia has banned entry to anyone who has been in India in the previous 14 days.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Indonesia is Level 3: Reconsider travel, and the CDC’s advisory for the country is Level 3: Covid-19 High.
While Americans are not yet welcome to visit Martinique, the U.S. Embassy for the Eastern Caribbean States, the island opened to travelers from outside the E.U. beginning June 9, 2021.
All arrivals over 11 will need to present a negative Covid-19 PVR test within 72 hours of departing for the island. They will then need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival. If a traveler is fully vaccinated, they will not need to quarantine.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Martinique is Level 3: Reconsider Travel, and the CDC’s advisory for the island is Level 3: High level of Covid-19.
That while you wait for borders to open, you can still do some voyeuristic travel on land. You can take a swim with hammerhead sharks and descend into the deep sea with National Geographic.
The New Zealand Geographic will take you to Poor Knights Island, considered one of the world’s top dive sites.
It is mesmerizing to visit Google Earth and see just how much water awaits once travel opens again.
The National Marine Sanctuary System tour to restore coral reefs in the Florida Keys, explore shipwrecks in Lake Huron, and frolic with a sea lion in the Channel Islands.
And not to be missed, go along with David Attenborough as he journeys along the Great Barrier Reef.
If you are fully vaccinated, the list of places opening up for travel is growing by the week. Proof of vaccination is easing travel restrictions to some areas and for some countries, being vaccinated is the only way travelers can access the country.
While that is a welcome change, health forms and testing protocols can still make travel complicated even if you are fully immunized. The entry rules differ from one country to the next.
Not all types of vaccines are accepted universally, and some countries still require a quarantine period. The rise of Covid variants is also throwing a complication into the mix.
Before traveling, understand the Covid-19 protocols both going to and returning from your desired destination.
Here are updates as of May 2021.
Anguilla had changed its stay-in-place requirements for vaccinated travelers from 14 days to 7 days. Just 10 days later, the island experienced a coronavirus outbreak, and they then closed their borders.
The island had only had 18 cases total until March 2021, but after opening its borders, the number went up to 62. Now, Anguilla Announces a May 25 border reopening. Visitors who are fully vaccinated three weeks before arriving will have a quarantine period of 7 days.
As of April 23, 2021, The Islands of The Bahamas Announces Updated Travel and Entry Protocols. Visitors who upload a vaccination record pre-arrival will be exempt from a PCR test and a post-arrival rapid test.
Additionally, fully vaccinated visitors with the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not need to answer a daily health questionnaire.
Effective May 17, 2021, Barbados Travel Protocols will see a reduction in the quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers. If a vaccinated traveler produces a valid negative Covid-19 test, they will enjoy Barbados the same day of entry.
Children traveling with vaccinated parents and are under 18 years old are also allowed to enter the country. Vaccinated travelers traveling with unvaccinated companions will need to quarantine for a week or more if they choose to stay together.
Visitors can enter Belize if they have proof of negative test results. Vaccinated visitors, with proof of vaccination, do not need negative test results. At present, in May of 2021, the Belize COVID-19 Update states that there is a temporary travel ban on anyone who has traveled to or originated from or has transited the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
All travelers aged 10 and above will need to take Covid tests both before and after arriving in Bermuda. Those immunized travelers who test negative are exempt from a four-day quarantine upon arrival.
Vaccinated travelers will not need to fill out a daily health report and not need to wear wristbands. All travelers to Bermuda must take Covid tests on days 4, 8, and 14 of their vacation.
Beginning June 6, 2021, travelers who are not immunized will be required to complete a supervised 14-day quarantine at a designated facility and at their own expense.
Non-stop flights on American Airlines and Delta Airlines from Miami and Atlanta to Bonaire will resume beginning June 5, 2021. Both airlines will resume their bi-weekly Wednesday and Saturday flights.
Bonaire will require travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test and they have that rapid testing available at its Flamingo International Airport. There are also three other test facilities for travelers heading back to the United States.
Despite the relaxed recommendations from the U.S. Center for Disease Control issued on April 2, 2021, Hawaii has upheld its Travel Requirements. Even fully vaccinated visitors must have a negative test result before arrival in Hawaii.
Incoming visitors will have their temperatures checked and must complete a health questionnaire online before they are allowed to leave the airport. While the policy may change in the future, this policy remains in place until further notice.
Currently, Maldive borders are open to international travelers. You will need a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before arrival. You must also fill out a health declaration form 24 hours before departure. There is no quarantine necessary on arrival, but there will be extra precautions at the airport. It is possible to overnight in Male for transport purposes.
If you stay at a tourist guest house at any point during your stay, you must conduct a PCR test 72 hours before your departure.
It is now possible to do a “split stay” trip in the Maldives, visiting more than one island, resort, or liveaboard. There are many resorts in the Maldives that are welcoming travelers.
From March 20, 2020, no travelers are allowed to enter Australia except for Australian citizens or permanent residents and immediate family, and the international borders remain closed until further notice.
Domestic travel is also heavily restricted. We expect this situation to stay the same for the foreseeable future.
The Cayman Islands Government has not announced a timeline to reopen the Cayman Islands borders to international visitors. The Cayman Government has announced that the path to reopening is contingent on much of the Islands’ population having received a complete COVID-19 vaccination regimen.
The Cayman Government hopes that the summer 2021 timeline is realistic but will continue to monitor the situation and keep travelers informed.
A Recovery Movement Control Order is currently in place, extended tentatively until June 30, 2021. Entry to Malaysia is prohibited, except for Malaysian nationals and foreign nationals holding specific residency visas and employment passes.
Anyone granted permission to enter Malaysia must quarantine for 14 days in a designated Government facility and pay the costs.
All international flights are suspended until further notice. Authorities are planning to reopen for foreign business travelers, and anyone arriving in Myanmar will be subject to a 28-day quarantine, 21 days in a government facility, and 7 days at home.
All travelers, except for returning resident New Zealanders, will be denied entry. Exemptions to the entry ban are listed in full by New Zealand Immigration, and this includes their partners, legal guardians, or any dependent children traveling with them.
All arrivals will be tested for COVID-19 and are subject to 14 days of government-supervised quarantine or self-isolation. Before entering the community, everyone must test negative for COVID-19.
Entry to the Philippines is currently prohibited except for Philippine nationals and foreign nationals holding valid residency permits. The Philippines authorities have announced that foreign nationals with long-term visas will be allowed to enter the Philippines, subject to certain conditions.
Indonesian borders are currently closed to international visitors. The government has not indicated a timeline for when international visitors will be able to enter the country. However, domestic travel is possible, and specifically, Bali is open to domestic visitors.
Iconic Galapagos Diving Landmark Collapses
A Galapagos tour company and a group of their guests “experienced a once in a lifetime event” on Monday, May 17. The famous surface landmark of Darwin Island collapsed as the result of natural erosion. Divers in this area encountered scalloped hammerheads, whale sharks, and other marine life. The remaining supporting pillars have already been dubbed “the Pillars of Evolution.”
Currently, we see some movement and a slight lessening of restrictions for traveling worldwide. It is by no means wide open, and the same advice is still pertinent…check before you go…but it is refreshing to see that some restrictions are being relaxed.
The majority of snorkeling trips and tours are for late 2021 and 2022, but it is a sign that there is optimism for a return to normal.
As always, please check before traveling, as guidelines for each location can change without much notice.
Remember, too, to check to see if your health insurance will cover you if you experience any COVID-related situations while traveling. Most all countries are now making any virus-related quarantine and treatments the responsibility of the traveler.
Here are some updates from around the world.
On May 1st, international travelers are no longer required to present a negative COVID test as a stipulation to enter the Bahamas. They will, however, need to be fully vaccinated and to be past the two-week immunity period that comes after the last vaccination.
Beginning immediately (April 24th, 2021), negative tests are not required for anyone traveling domestically within the Bahamas.Again, this is as long as the individual is vaccinated and past the immunity period. Those travelers who are NOT vaccinated will still be required to present proof of a negative test.
The Abaco curfew imposed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is modified. Instead of starting at 8:00 pm, the curfew will begin at 10:00 pm. The curfew will lift at 5 am. For more information, check out the Islands of Bahamas website: COVID-19 Status – The Bahamas
The island nation of French Polynesia will reopen in May. President Edouard Fritch has announced that French Polynesia will open its borders to tourists on May 1st, 2021.
This is good news for all concerned, but there are still protocols in place that must be adhered to. Any traveler over the age of 11 will need to have proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid test.
The test needs to have been taken three days before a flight into French Polynesia. Load the results onto the government’s official website for travel information
The Islands of Tahiti Diving and Snorkeling are especially gratified to know that there is a lifting of restrictions. Every year from July to November, the humpback whale migrates from the Antarctic to feed in along the shores and islands of Tahiti. With the easing of restrictions, snorkelers will be able to be present to see this marvelous gathering of whales.
Bonaire accepts incoming flights from Aruba, Canada, Curacao, Netherlands, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, and the United States.
Bonaire has restricted travel, as of April 8th, 2021, from the following high-risk countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French-Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and South America.
Currently, there is a flight ban (Q&A travelers) in place for direct flights from the high-risk countries listed above.
At this time, the same requirements apply to people who have been vaccinated as to those who have not been vaccinated. According to the Bonaire government, this is because it is unknown whether someone who has been vaccinated can still spread the coronavirus.
You will be required to carry a travel certificate that shows your negative test results, either digitally or in print. If you arrive without a negative test result, you will be required to immediately go into a ten-day quarantine at your own expense. The location will be designated by the Governor.
Bonaire is a popular place to snorkel, as the entire coastline has been declared a marine sanctuary. Bonaire Official Tourism Site will give you information on more than 85 sites to snorkel from. There are over 57 species of soft and stony coral and more than 350 recorded fish species.
Further information can be found at https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/qas/qas-travelers/
Saint Lucia island is open to visitors from all countries, according to the COVID-19 | Saint Lucia Tourism Authority website.
Travelers need to have a negative PCR test result that is no more than five days before travel. Saint Lucia does have designated “travel bubble” countries. Those countries are Antiqua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.
Travelers from these countries are exempt from quarantine but will still need to produce a negative test result.
If you are traveling from a country outside of their designated travel bubble, those International Arrivals need to familiarize themselves with entry requirements. Complete their online Travel Authorization form.
Snorkelers of all experience levels can enjoy Saint Lucia’s underwater paradise. Try visiting Anse Des Pitons, Anse Chastanet Beach, and Virgin Cove.
The United States has been open to most international travelers since the end of January 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air passengers two years of age and older that travel to the U.S. from abroad to take a COVID-19 test within three days of departure. Travelers must also have Proof of Negative test results.
Florida currently has no restrictions in place for Travelers, and they have no statewide mask mandate. However, individual businesses are allowed to require a mask for entry to their establishment.
All of that is good news as the Florida Keys is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world. Key Largo, Key West, and the Middle Keys have the only tropical coral in the contiguous states.
Many consider the Middle Keys, which consist of Islamorada, Marathon, and the Big Pine area, to be the best of the Keys.
If you take a Marathon Snorkeling Tour, you will be able to visit the Sombrero Reef National Marine Sanctuary, which is the number one rated spot to snorkel in the Florida Keys.
Slowly but surely, there are signs of a return to normalcy. It may be slower than hoped, but it is there nonetheless. We have come a long way and have a ways to go, but we are getting there!
Some attribute the invention of the first modern snorkel Leonardo da Vinci. The endeavor was made at the request of the Venetian senate. da Vinci even had sketches for diving suits and fins in the form of gloves that had webbing between the fingers.
Whether he is the originator of the modern snorkel or just assisted the idea along, there is one thing that is not in doubt. da Vinci was left-handed and could write backward, and that writing could only be read with a mirror.
It is good to be able to write this: while we are not yet out of the woods, we can see the light at the edge of the forest.
Yes, we are still facing a world-wide challenge, and we still need to take precautions to stay safe. However, we can see, truly see, that there is a solution, and we will eventually have the ability to bring this dreaded virus under control.
It is of utmost importance to keep your guard up for a while yet. So don’t throw out your medical mask just yet! In the meantime, know that we, with due diligence, will soon be able to return to a more normal daily life. Keep your guard up, along with your optimism, and get ready to travel again!
It has been said before, and it will have to be said again, you will need to contact any airline, resort, or snorkeling site before traveling. In some areas, restrictions are being relaxed, and in others, they are being tightened.
Here are some examples of that from around the world.
Snorkeling is allowed, and travel IN to the country is allowed. Travel OUT of the country is allowed with restrictions, and travel WITHIN the country is allowed with restrictions.
Top Maldives Destination Bandos Maldives
Dive Bandos is one of the longest established centers in the country. Located in the southern part of the Noth Male Atoll, they offer access to over 40 impressive dive sites. Use the link above to contact them, or call 00 960 664 0088.
One of the leading dive center groups in the Maldives, Diveoceanus has five dive centers based in resorts across four different atolls. They are open with normal operations. As there are four different atolls, please use the above link for your desired atoll for a phone number.
The diving restrictions vary from state, province, and district.
SiDive: PADI Scuba Dive Center Cebu, Philippines, and Island Hopping & Snorkeling Tours in Cebu — SiDive Philippines
Located in the Kontiki marina, they have a house reef site in Mactan with an abundance of corals and fish species. Use the link above for more information or call them at +63 32 421 5360.
Snorkel a Pristine Coral Reef
Located in Cebu, the Alegria Dive Resort has a home reed known as Angelley’s Reef. It is a protected ecosystem situated in Sta Filomena Marine Sanctuary. Please find out more using the above link, or give them a call at +63 324 767 132.
Snorkeling is allowed, and boat dives are available. However, travel IN to the country is not permitted. Travel OUT of the country is not permitted, and traveling WITHIN the country is allowed with restrictions.
If you are already in Australia, there are some dive shops that are open.
You can snorkel on 12 hours full-day trips, 2D/1N, and all the way up to 5D/5N departing from Cairns. See the link above or call +61 429-638-744
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions
You will be on the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea on Australia’s most awarded liveaboard, Spoilsport. Choose from three to seven-night expeditions. See the link above or +61 740-530-500
There are many areas open with only the requisite restrictions of masks and social distancing.
Golfo Aranci: 3 Escursioni Imperdibili Delfini & Snorkeling 2021
Snorkel in the Marine Protected Area of Travolara and Punta Coda Cavallo. Depending on the weather conditions, you will be able to visit the wreck of the ship Christ in Porto San Palo. Learn more using the above link or call at +39 338 272 7841.
Sea Project Castelsardo
Take a dinghy excursion and snorkel along the coast of Castelsardo to admire the medieval village from the sea and to discover the beauties of the underwater world. Find out more information about visiting at the above link or call +39 333 297 1396.
The Bahamas received delivery of twenty thousand vaccines that were donated by the Indian government on Wednesday, March 10. “Today is the most delightful and joyous day of my life cause now we can see, truly, light at the end of the tunnel where we can overcome this pandemic,” says Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
Bahamians will begin receiving doses in the third week of March 2021. With a population of 396,000, the Bahamas has a way to go to vaccinate all of their people, but it is a beginning. You have to start somewhere, and this donation is an exciting beginning for the Bahamas.
Again, while hope is on the horizon, we are not quite there yet. Please be aware that COVID-19 has placed extreme distress on medical facilities and evacuation service providers across the globe.
In some areas of the world, access to medical treatment and emergency transportation is delayed or unavailable. Some companies that provide Dive Insurance, like DAN, have excluded insurance coverage for expenses that are related to treatment or transportation-related to a pandemic or epidemic. If you choose to travel, make sure that your health insurance will cover you in case of an emergency.
Environmentalist sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor has created his first installation in the Mediterranean Sea. The underwater artwork and creation of artificial reefs consisting of sculptures opened on February 1, 2021, after four years of work.
The artificial reef consists of six enormous three-dimensional portraits that are over six feet in height and weigh about 10 tons each. The sculptures are just under the surface of the water and close enough to the shore to make it easy to access for both divers and snorkelers.
The site is cordoned off to prevent boats from being in the area and eliminate damage caused by anchors, making it even safer for snorkelers.
The picture was taken from the sculpture’s website at Jason de Caires Taylor.
It sounds like a broken record, but things are still up in the air for those who would rather be underwater. The Coronavirus still has its grip on the world, affecting any decisions you make regarding travel.
Clearly Cayman announced this month that their borders would not reopen to international travelers in March as they had previously hoped.
The Cayman government announced that reopening is contingent on the majority of the island’s population receiving a full COVID-19 vaccination regimen.
While the vaccination program is underway, no timeline has been given for the Cayman Islands to reopen borders. With high hopes, Clearly Cayman is looking to reopen in June 2021.
The Cayman Islands General Election is happening in May of 2021, and so reopening plans will not occur before then.
At this point, Clearly Cayman will be contacting all guests and group travel partners concerning reservations impacted under the new proposed reopening timeline.
Guests will be allowed to rebook at the same rate for any available date through 2022 without change fees.
For those guests who have reservations in June 2021 and later, Clearly Cayman is continuously communicating with the Cayman Government regarding reopening information. Cleary Cayman will provide updates as they become known.
If you have questions for Clearly Cayman, contact them at 800.327.3835 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United States announced that as of January 2021, international travelers entering the U.S. must fill out a passenger disclosure and are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test that had been taken within 72 hours of their flight.
In response, the Mexican Caribbean region has stated in a press release by Quintana Roo Tourism that any visitors to the Mexican Caribbean who want to visit but are concerned about getting authorization for entry back into their country of origin, are assured that the process will be easy.
According to the press release, Mexican providers state that they have “a vast network of hospitals and clinical analysis laboratories able to perform the Coronavirus COVID-19 diagnostic tests…and we are working to facilitate access to these tests.”
At this point (February 2021), you can travel to the Mexican Caribbean but will need to follow your countries rules of entry on your return trip. Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine, you will still need proof of a negative result test.
If you test positive, you will need to stay in the Mexican Caribbean to complete the quarantine period. This period will vary according to the country you are returning to. Some hotels in the area have specific areas for those who test positive and preferential rates. You can get more information at Travel Updates (COVID-19).
The island of Bonaire is once again open to North American Visitors. However, there is currently a ban on flights from the following countries: South American, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Cape Verde, and the Dominican Republic.
Direct flights in the United States resumed in February 2021 from Atlanta, Miami, Houston, and Newark. Tourism Corporation Bonaire is prepared to meet traveler’s testing needs as required by the CDC.
On-site and on-location COVID-9 testing needed for travel declaration priced at $75 USD for the Antigen rapid test and $150 USD for the PCR test. If you prefer private testing, it is available but comes with a $120 surcharge fee per location (not per person). Test results will be available by email within 24 – 36 hours.
To travel to Bonaire, all travelers, 13 and older, must have a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before arrival. All travelers must complete a Bonaire Public Health Department health declarations form no earlier than 72 hours and no later than 48 hours before departure.
Please be aware if you arrive on Bonaire without a negative PCR test result and a negative antigen-test result, you will not be allowed to enter, and you will be sent back.
Bonaire is also advising travelers to ensure that their health insurance will cover medical care costs during their stay on the island, including any care related to COVID-19.
For more information on traveling to Bonaire, visit their Health & Safety Information – Bonaire Official Tourism Site website.
Having gone into effect on January 26th, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required that all air passengers flying to the U.S. from a foreign country will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR or Antigen test) taken no more than 3 days prior to the flight.
This requirement is for all travelers aged 2 and older and includes U.S. citizens and international travelers. The government of the Bahamas implemented measures to adhere to the order from the U.S. and can integrate the CDC’s testing requirements into their existing COVID-19 protocols.
At this point, visitors to the Bahamas who stay longer than four nights and five days must take a rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay. There are several testing sites throughout the Bahamas to administer tests.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism website states that because of the fluidity of COVID-19, the Government of the Bahamas will continue to monitor cases across the islands and loosened or tightened restrictions as needed.
They continued by saying, “The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays, spread over 100,000 square miles, which means conditions and instances of the virus can be different on each of the 16 islands available to welcome visitors. Travelers should check the status of their island destination before traveling by visiting bahamas.com/travelupdates.”
For more information on traveling and staying in the Bahamas, visit Island Vacations – The Bahamas’ Official Website.
With vaccines on the horizon, there is hope that the world is progressing toward a new normal. In the meantime, there are still protocols you will need to take before traveling to your favorite snorkeling spot, but it is worth the bit of hassle to experience the world just below the water.
The coronavirus has affected the snorkeling community for sure, but the virus has also impacted the world. Individual travelers, dive shops, and liveaboard operators have all felt the effects of restrictions and stay-at-home directives.
Misery loves company, and the World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a global pandemic. Even so, it is not all doom and gloom; it just seems like that.
Around the world, snorkeling during the pandemic news is that there is still a way to go before the only things to stop you are time and money.
Snorkeling during the COVID-19 pandemic is entirely possible, but the ease with which you can travel to do so has not yet opened up to make the venture feasible.
Hopefully, people know by now that COVID-19 is nothing to ignore or take lightly, but it is also a disease that we know more about. All signs point to using common sense and following the suggested guidelines to curtail the virus’s hold on the world.
Wear a mask when appropriate, give others space, and wash your hands. All simple actions, all easy to do. And that is all good news. The other side of the coin is that we are not out of the woods yet, but we can see the edge of the forest ahead.
The latest news about snorkeling during the pandemic is that if you are already in a place where you can enjoy this refreshing activity, then you can snorkel with abandon.
If you must travel or fly to get to a snorkeling spot, the outlook is less open, but again, while the world is yet in the grip of COVID-19, hope is on the horizon. Right now, though, caution is reality.
Changes occur daily. Yesterday, December 20, 2020, you could fly out of England. Today, December 21, 2020, 40 countries are banning U.K. arrivals due to a mutant of the virus cropping up in England.
Again, while it might seem dire, there are bound to be blips on the radar until the situation stabilizes.
Snorkelers are anxious to get back to the peace and beauty of the water! Just like the beloved sea, the Coronovirus situation is fluid. While a vaccine is on the way, patience is still required.
There are all kinds of information out there, but, as was pointed out in the U.K. arrival ban, use caution for any travel decisions you make.
U.K.’s new coronavirus strain leads to travel restrictions, and these travel restrictions saw trucks waiting to get out of Britain unable to leave and people stranded at airports. All this happened in the blink of an eye.
We at Snorkeling Report are making the point that even with all of the information out there, it is impossible to provide advice that applies to worldwide travel.
Recommendations and any open cities and countries could change in a matter of hours.
The best advice at this time is to check all of the options as thoroughly as you can before making a decision.
It would also be prudent to have a contingency plan if you get stuck along the route or in the country you are traveling to.
Travel restrictions and flight cancellations happen with very short notice. Look into travel insurance to see if you have any recourse if bookings get canceled.
You may find some of the usual protocols have been revised, and one of those is in regard to equipment. Most tours supply the snorkeling equipment with their package deals, that, however, has changed with operators who are still conducting tours.
Some operators will want you to bring your own equipment. Others will provide the equipment, but charge a higher rate and have you keep the snorkel at the end of the tour.
All of this makes perfect sense and shows the level of caution and concern that operators are taking to keep their patrons safe.
Ask those questions before you go on a tour so that you are prepared in advance.
Know that some countries are still at a very high level of Covid-19. Travel recommendations by destination from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are a map that updates the risk assessment level for Covid-19.
As of this writing, December 21, 2020, the updated map shows most of the world at level 4: Very high.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for travelers that include self quarantining for 14 days, as it is possible you could have contracted the virus during your travels. Even if you feel well, a person can be asymptomatic and unwittingly spread the virus to others.
Some countries have taken stringent methods to contain the spread of the virus in their countries. A US Teen Gets Jail Time For Breaking COVID Rules In Cayman Islands. She broke the 14-day quarantine and caught doing so.
When you are traveling in another country, you are subject to their laws, and breaking them can land you in hot water…not the water you wanted to be in.
Take that into consideration, too. This is not the time to be flaunting restrictions imposed by a country’s Government.
The situation is in a constant state of flux, with changes daily and sometimes hourly. Keep that in mind, when making decisions.
In the future, things will probably look different for a while. When travel opens up, and the snorkeling spots are loudly calling your name, there will still be the remnants of this pandemic on display.
Already some airlines are deciding that they will be instituting some new rules. For one, Qantaswill requires Covid vaccinations for international flights. Expanding on that idea, health and travel officials have said that the way back to unrestricted travel is through vaccination.
An app in development travelers need to know about that will verify vaccinations, test results, and health waivers.
The bottom line is: take heart! The end is in sight, and the world will be getting back to normal in the foreseeable future. The year 2020 has been harsh, but there are better days ahead.
Some have been denied the thing they love the most, snorkeling in calm, peaceful waters, but those days will be returning. Just hold on to your optimism and be ready when the world opens up again.