A Beginner’s Guide to Being a Better Snorkeler

take-steps-to-stop-your-mask-fogging-up-hh-wiseoceansRick getting ready to snorkel in the mangroves, Mauritius, July 2016, © JE WiseOceansThe ocean hides such a beautiful world. In Mauritius, we are surrounded by an amazing coral reef that hides so many colorful fish and corals. Some people’s best hobbies are to observe these creatures by snorkeling or diving. But lots of people prefer to stay dry and watch the corals and fish through their laptop, smartphone or TV. Why? Mostly because they don’t have the confidence and skills.

So here are some tips that will help you. The first thing to remember is to RELAX and ENJOY your snorkeling. It should be a fun thing for you to do, do not take it like homework but as an exciting moment.

Equipment

  • Mask: Masks get fogged up easily unless you know the tricks of the trade. Before going in the water, putting some anti fogging product on your mask, This can be bought – or you can use washing up liquid, toothpaste or even saliva(!). Put your product on the mask whilst it is still dry and don’t rinse it just yet.
  • Fins: It is important to find the fins that you feel comfortable in. Ones that are not too tight nor too big. Remember, it should be a fun time – you don’t want to struggle in the water or not feel comfortable because you’re not at ease with the equipment.
  • Rash vest or wetsuit: One expression that I like to use is ‘it is better to feel warm in the water than feel cold’. So, do not be too confident on the water temperature, if you thinking between wetsuit or rash vest then best to take the warmer one and if you thinking between just swimming wear or to add a rash vest, then go with a rash vest. You never know what you will find, and of course you don’t want to be having a shaky video if you have an underwater camera as you’re feeling cold or have to go out of the water just when there are some schools of fish passing by or a big turtle.
  • Buoyancy: If you are not a confident swimmer or a novice snorkeler then consider taking a buoyancy aid with you. Not only will this make for a more relaxing snorkel but also your added buoyancy will help keep your fins away from the coral.

Your equipment is now ready, it’s time get in the water.

Snorkeling:

  • Just before you go in: Rinse your mask and make sure it fits well. Don’t put it too tight as when you put your head in the water, the water pressure will make it tighter. Always put your fins on last and now you are ready to get in the water. If you are walking in from shore then either put your fins on in the water or put them on near the water and walk in backwards – looking out for any breaking waves. If you are jumping off a boat always estimate the depth so that you don’t break anything while jumping in and you don’t hurt yourself. If you are not sure, ask the skipper or other people on the boat.  Watch our video about getting into the water safely.
  • In the water: Now you are in the water, take some time to orient yourself, the water may feel cold at first but your body should get used to it quickly. If you want, just hold the boat ladder, breath and relax for a little bit or stay in the shallows while you acclimatise.
  • Let’s go snorkeling: Now is the time to enjoy the snorkel, relax your body and put yourself in a horizontal position. Always remember the more you relax and breathe the more relaxed and enjoyable your snorkel will be. Also, it is not a race. You don’t need to use your arms, just gently kick with your legs.  The slower you go the more you’ll see!

I hope that this little guide will help you to jump in the water and enjoy it. Always remember, it should be fun and relaxing. Snorkeling is not a hardcore activity that requires lots of equipment and training but a little preparation and practice will mean you will enjoy it more.

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We recommend always snorkelling with someone else (for safety and enjoyment) and letting people on shore know where you have gone and how long you intend to be.

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