A regular feature of being a Marine Educator here at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is taking novice snorkelers and/or non-swimmers out for guided snorkels. You might wonder why non-swimmers want to go out into the sea and put their face in the water but a surprising number want to see what’s under the sea – and why not? It’s awesome!
Kitting up: If you snorkel regularly then putting on a mask and breathing through a snorkel might feel second nature to you but covering up your nose and asking someone to breath solely through their mouths is not necessarily the most natural thing to do so we spend quite a bit of time getting a good fitting mask, learning how to put a snorkel in your mouth and practicing breathing through your mouth.
Buoyancy: For the Marine Educator the first step is making sure the guest is safe so obviously it is on with a life vest. We also give our guests another life vest to lean on to give extra buoyancy. Once in the water we then either hold their hand or hold on to the life vest to ensure they feel secure and remain close us. Taking time to fit the vest properly not only ensures it will work well but reassures the guest. The guests are often (understandably) nervous so explaining to them why you tightening the straps and how the vest will keep them completely buoyant in the water all helps with reassurance. Also keeping the positive chatter going helps to distract them from anxious thoughts.
Getting in the water: Once in the water it’s all about building confidence so whilst they are still standing in the shallows we get them to put their face in the water just to experience the sensation of breathing underwater – which, lets face it, is not the most intuitive thing to do. We then take their hands and encourage them to float a little. The more time you spend with guests doing this in the safety of the shallows the more successful snorkel you are likely to have. Once floating they (hopefully) experience the ‘eureka’ moment when they realise they will not sink and that tube they put in their mouth actually works. Job half done!
Lets find some fishes: If you are holding someone’s hand you need to be aware that they will hold on REALLY TIGHT to begin with. Be prepared for a slightly numb hand! However (and this is almost 100% the case) the moment there’s some fish to look at you feel their hand relax and can hear their breathing slow down. At this point there is often quite a bit of (happy) squealing and chatter coming down the snorkel (Marine Educators develop the ability to understand people talking through their snorkels – a bit like dentists do with their patients!).
Happy: At the end of the snorkel it is not uncommon for our guests to experience some mild euphoria – the sheer impact of the underwater beauty and the often unexpected extent to which they enjoyed it makes all this effort worthwhile. It really is a privilege to be part of this event in their lives. To be the person who gave them the confidence and skills to go snorkelling, often overcoming phobias and concerns about swimming in the sea, swimming with fish, breathing through a snorkel etc…is genuinely a thrill and an honour.
Come and join us for a snorkel!