Snorkeling 101: What Every Beginner Needs To Know
If you’ve never been snorkeling, but are tempted to give it a go, you need to know a few things before you actually put on your mask. People get disappointed too often with their first attempt at snorkeling because they haven’t prepared properly and simply give up on the idea. However, the necessary preparation doesn’t include anything that requires any specific skill (apart from the ability to swim, of course), nor does it involve splashing out on some fancy equipment. So, what is it that you need to know and do if you’re an absolute beginner?
You should buy or rent a dry snorkel, or at the least, a snorkel with a splash guard. You don’t want your first experience to be ruined by water coming down your snorkel. You might start panicking and never give snorkeling another chance. A dry snorkel features a special valve on top that seals shut when the snorkel goes underwater. There is also a special purge valve at the bottom, which makes it possible to blow water out of the tube. This is a great thing for beginners, since it enables them to relax and focus on what they see underwater.
Your mask is probably the most important piece of snorkeling equipment, which is why you should make the right choice. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are adjustable. Still, you shouldn’t get the first one you see, but try out at least several of them, until you find one that fits you like a glove. Consider getting a practical full-face snorkelwith advanced anti-fog technology for maximal snorkeling pleasure.
Fins are a very useful addition if you’re thinking about snorkeling for the first time. They will allow you to move around with great ease and at a greater speed. Still, you need to be careful when it comes to picking the right pair. They shouldn’t be either too tight or too loose. You don’t want them to fall off, but you also don’t want to have sore feet after snorkeling. Bear in mind that your feet will be wet and will often shrink a little in the cooler water, which is why a snug fit is crucial. If you buy the right pair, you’ll see how much energy you’ll save.
Practice with your gear
All your equipment should be adjusted before you go in the water. Start with the mask and adjust the strap, so that it’s lightly snug, but not too tight. Inhale lightly and it should suction to your face. Move on to the snorkel once you’re happy with how you’ve fitted the mask. The snorkel should be at the correct angle and height. Finally, practice putting on your fins, since it seems much easier than it is in reality. Find a pool or a secluded shallow beach to practice to get used to the feel of breathing through the snorkel. It may take a while, but you should get the hang of it soon enough. The key is actually to be relaxed and learn to breathe normally.
Learn the ropes
Start by swimming slowly, since you don’t want to get exhausted too quickly. Stay calm and relaxed at all times and swim at a speed that allows you to breathe slowly and easily through the snorkel. There is no need to breathe heavily through the snorkel, so find the pace that doesn’t put too much pressure on you. Save rapid swimming for emergency situations only.
Start with a beach, not a boat
Although there are many snorkeling trips that include jumping off a boat into deep water, don’t register your interest until you get some experience. Some novices might start panicking, especially because they have to breathe through the snorkel and that is likely to ruin the whole experience.
Chose a calm and interesting spot
You need to find a spot that is not dangerous for you, but which also allows you to see something extraordinary, so that your expectations are met (or, hopefully, exceeded). Never go alone, especially if you have no experience. The presence of other people, possibly more experienced snorkelers will have a great effect on your confidence. Finally, no matter how much you like waves, they can really spoil the experience. That’s why you should go for a calm spot.
Experienced snorkelers say that the secret is actually to be relaxed and that it’s the only way to fully enjoy the underwater world. While this may be true, it’s also important to have the right and properly fitted equipment if you really want to make the most of snorkeling. Happy snorkeling!