Snorkeling 101: The Complete Guide To Snorkeling (Part I)
Get your fins on and mask ready!
Here's our guide to getting the most out of your snorkeling.
Snorkeling is often an underrated activity. For many travelers in tropic destinations, it's presented as something anyone can do, and often involves plowing through the surface with rental gear and a swim vest on. But snorkeling can be so much more!
In fact, modern scuba diving grew out of snorkeling, or skin diving as it was known then.
Snorkeling can be a very rewarding activity. It benefits from its simplicity, where you can simply grab a mask and some fins, rather than hauling a bag full of heavy dive gear. This also allows for more flexibility, allowing you to bring your gear on trips where bringing tons of scuba gear isn’t a possibility. And the lack of bubbles means you can often get closer to marine wildlife than with scuba gear on.
In this guide, we’ll cover the three aspects that are necessary to getting the most out of your snorkeling.
To really make the most of your next snorkeling trip, and leave the newbies in your wake, a bit of preparation is helpful.
Improve your swimming
If your swimming skills aren’t the best, take some swimming lessons at your local pool. And even if you’re a decent swimmer, becoming an even better swimmer will only benefit you in the water.
Focus in particular on the freestyle, as the kicking technique from that style is the one you’ll be using when snorkeling.
Improving your strength and endurance in the muscles engaged by the kick will help you snorkel more, and with less effort, leaving you free to enjoy the environment instead.
Being a strong swimmer will also allow you to ditch the swim vest that are often popular with snorkeling outfits.
While a snorkeling vest helps you with flotation, it will also hinder your movements in the water. And make it harder, if not impossible, to do dives to check out a reef or fish.
Good swimming skills will help keep you safe in the water.
Swimming is one thing - Swimming with fins on is something else entirely.
The extra drag and weight of the fins put extra toll on the muscles, which is why you might experienced cramping up if you’re not used to swimming with fins.
So take a pair of fins to the local pool, or your home waters, and do laps with them on.
Mix it up, so you do both long stretches at a mid-level pace, and shorter, faster stretches.
Improve your breath hold
Many snorkelers simply stay at the surface, and use the snorkel to breathe while looking down.
A number of more advanced snorkelers, though, move into skin diving territory by doing occasional dives below the surface while holding their breath.
This will allow you to get a much closer look of the marine wildlife, and you'll explore reefs and other underwater features up close.
To maximize your time underwater, you can train your breath holding capacity, as well as your swimming efficiency.
For more experience hit up your local freediving club for hands on training and practice. With the growing popularity of freediving, these are becoming increasingly easy to find.
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