For many are the cedar-skinned treasures of the world.
A bandeau (pl. bandeaux, diminutive of French: bande meaning “strip”) is a garment comprising, in appearance, a strip of cloth. Today, the term most frequently refers to a garment that wraps around a woman’s breasts in sports or swimwear, and now it is accepted as the top part of formal wear with pants or a skirt. It is similar to a tube top, but narrower. It is usually strapless, sleeveless and off the shoulder. It is commonly made from elastic material to stop it from slipping down, or is tied or pinned at the back or front. In the first half of the 20th century, a “bandeau” was a narrow band worn by women to bind the hair, or as part of a head-dress.
From Wikipedia: Bandeau
There are few better ways to escape the daily grind than by snorkeling – effortlessly floating through tranquil waters, a kaleidoscope of vibrant fish and mesmerizing sea creatures all around.
With up to 80 percent of all earthly life located in the seas, there’s no shortage of remarkable creatures to encounter. And memorable aquatic adventures can be had near shore with a mask, fins and snorkel. Snorkelers can experience the intense natural beauty of the underwater world without heavy equipment or time-consuming certification – which means no matter what your level of experience, the ocean’s beauty is within reach.
To help you make plans to swim with sea turtles or mingle with manta rays, we reveal the 10 best places to snorkel in the world.
Baa Atoll, the Maldives
Swim with manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Nearly 1,200 picture-perfect coral islands come together in the Indian Ocean to form the magical Maldives. Located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru offers the unique opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles, docile reef sharks, vividly colored fish and even the occasional dolphin.
The indescribable experience of snorkeling amid the giant, notoriously rare manta rays and whale sharks is not to be missed. Join a marine biologist from the Resort for an escorted snorkeling and manta ray adventure, or hop aboard the Four Seasons Explorer for a magical boating foray into the ocean around the Maldives.
Unique lava rocks and secret coves abound.
With its abundance of tranquil beaches, sheltered coves and crystal-clear water, it’s no wonder Maui is a classic family favorite for fun in the sea. You’ll find an abundance of snorkeling sites around the island, but don’t miss a visit to the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Get the gear you need at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, just a stone’s throw from the nature reserve and right on Wailea – a great place for beginners.
Watch for signs for the reserve on Makena Road, just past Big Beach. From here, look for Waiala Cove, an ideal spot just 100 yards (91 meters) into the reserve. The nooks and crannies of the lava rocks make perfect homes for a vast array of exotic fish, coral, eels and sea turtles. The site is easy to access; you need only go a few meters into the water before swirling schools of fish arrive to nibble at your feet.
Koh Tao, Thailand
The Japanese Gardens’ one-of-a-kind granite boulders, home to spectacular coral and aquatic life.
Surrounded by tranquil, cerulean water and dotted with enchanting bays and beaches, the small island of Koh Tao, Thailand, is synonymous with world-class diving and snorkeling, and only a short jaunt from Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.
After exploring the Japanese Gardens, named for its spectacular boulders covered with ornate hard and soft coral, continue your adventure at Aow Leuk, one of Koh Tao’s most beautiful beaches. Baby sharks, clownfish, triggerfish and blue spotted rays all come out to swim in this underwater playground.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The world’s largest coral reef and more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays.
The Great Barrier Reef is perhaps the most iconic diving and snorkeling destination in the world, and the exceptional beauty of this natural wonder warrants the reputation that precedes it. The easiest way to experience the grandeur of this underwater marvel is to join any of the boat tours that take snorkelers to various spots along the reef. Most snorkelers and divers choose to base themselves in Cairns, but Port Douglas and Townsville also offer easy access to beautiful swims.
If you prefer to stay as close to the action as possible, try a visit to the small but lovely Heron Island, a coral cay located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll have the opportunity to mingle with 60 percent of the species of fish that live along the Great Barrier Reef. Easy-to-access snorkeling spots right off the beach are notable bonuses.
Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia
Drift snorkeling with the current, and crystal-clear water abounding with majestic manta rays.
Bali is frequently referred to as the “Island of the Gods,” and it’s a fitting name. But what many travelers don’t realize is that extraordinary biodiversity and pockets of calm water surround Bali. A day trip from Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay will take you to one of the best snorkeling sites just off the island: Nusa Lembongan.
Spot more than 250 species of fish, along with sharks, coral and mesmerizing manta rays. The crystal-clear water and calm bays are ideal for all levels of skill. For further underwater exploration, hire a private boat from the Resort and head to Manta Point, Crystal Bay and Mangrove Point, three popular snorkeling sites around Nusa Lembongan.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Feeding sharks at the Lagoonarium.
If you yearn to get closer to sharks, a visit to Bora Bora should be at the top of your bucket list. In this Polynesian paradise, a close encounter with blacktip reef and lemon sharks is almost a given, along with rays, turtles, dolphins and colorful coral teeming with reef fish.
Stay in a beachfront villa at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and slip into the water right off your bungalow to explore the underworld through your mask. Join a local Polynesian guide from the Resort on an outrigger canoe to visit the famed lagoon and coral gardens, explore the Lagoon Sanctuary, or join a snorkeling expedition to swim among manta rays.
Apo Island, Philippines
Swim with giant sea turtles in a storybook setting.
At first glance, Apo Island appears to be nothing more than a small, sleepy island. Slip below the waves and there’s no time for boredom; a whole world of marine life thrives beneath the ocean’s surface.
Don’t miss the opportunity to cavort with giant sea turtles who call the island home – it’s possible to sight up to 20 turtles in one afternoon. While the sea turtles tend to be the stars of the show, frequent sightings around Apo Island include sea anemone with clownfish peeping out, striped lionfish and striking nudibranch.
Punta Mita, Mexico
Rock formations and waterways near an uninhabited island, and underwater swim-through tunnels.
While many covet sand space in Cancún, the Riviera Nayarit – and more specifically the sleepy fisherman’s village of Punta Mita – remains one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. Right at the heart of this gem is Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, the perfect jumping-off point for aquatic adventures in the region, even offering prime snorkeling for beginners near the Resort.
The clear blue water and distinctive rock formations along the coastline provide chances to swim with eagle rays, moray eels, starfish and seahorses. You can also expect vibrant coral reefs, underwater caves and the occasional visit from a friendly pod of dolphins.
Silfra Fissure, Iceland
This is one of the rare chances you have to see an underwater tectonic canyon.
Tropical snorkeling destinations tend to get the most attention. But if you dare to brave frigid waters, embark on a cold-water snorkeling excursion in Silfra Fissure in Iceland. The shifting North American and Eurasian tectonic plates have created one of the few places in the world where snorkelers can swim through a narrow canyon between continents.
Due to Silfra’s natural filtration system, which consists of melted glacial water flowing through an underground lava field, visibility is more than 100 meters (328 feet). You won’t come across any fish, but the fascinating underwater landscape and the power of Mother Nature are sure to keep you entertained.
Spectacular coral and diverse marine life in the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S.
The sublime underwater landscape in the Florida Keys supports a vivid array of colorful coral and sea sponges, along with marine life such as sharks, turtles and multitudes of tropical fish. And it’s all an easy day trip from Four Seasons Hotel Miami.
In Key Largo, home to the immensely popular Molasses Reef, you can swim among some of the Keys’ healthiest and most colorful coral, along with stingrays, eels, Goliath grouper and various shark species. Farther south, the charming village of Islamorada is a secret sweet spot boasting numerous patch reefs (isolated platforms of coral) where you’ll encounter barracudas, sea turtles, and – if you’re lucky – hammerhead sharks.
Original article: Best Snorkeling in the World