The key to successful snorkelling is relaxation in the water. Try not to over-analyse. Practice will improve your skills and comfort in the water.
Fitting Equipment: Masks and Fins
- Be sure the mask fits your face. Hold the snorkel mask up to your face, not using the strap. Breathe in through your nose. The mask should seal and stay on, without holding it, for as long as you breathe in. Keep all hair out of the seal, if you have a moustache, use glob of Vaseline, sunscreen or chapstick below your nose.
- The strap should fit snugly at the widest part of your head, towards the top of the back of your head. The snorkel should rest in front of your ear.
- Choose fins that are snug but not tight. If they hurt or curl your toes, you may develop cramps. If they slip off your heels, they’re too big. Better a little big than too small.
5 Easy Tips on How to Snorkel
- Defog. Products made for defogging work OK. Rinse with saltwater.
- Practice breathing through the snorkel with your head out of the water. Put the mask on your head, suck it onto your face, and breathe through the snorkel (put the mouthpiece all the way in your mouth, like a mouth guard and close your lips around it). Don’t bite, just rest your teeth on the bite tabs. If it is your first time, it is always nice to start from the beach, with your feet on the ground, just bend from the waist to put you face in the water. Then push off and float face down. When ready, practice; calm floating with your face down in horizontal position.
- A flooded mask can be easily cleared by raising the head, pulling the lower edge away from the mouth, and simply letting the water drain out. The same applies to snorkels. A burst of air (similar to a dolphin blow, or saying the word “two”) should clear a flooded snorkel, but breathe in cautiously afterwards just to make sure. If you’re out of air, then simply remove the snorkel from the mouth to breath. It’s helpful to practice deliberately flooding and clearing both mask and snorkel to calmly learn these techniques.
- To use your fins correctly, kick from the hip and keep your knees and ankles relaxed to prevent your leg muscles from cramping. Fins remain below the water line, always. AVOID using a bicycling type kick, but instead think of your fin as a mermaid tail.. You will hardly need to use your arms and can let them rest easily at your side, or fold your hands over your lower back. Point your toes in the opposite direction from where you want to travel.
- Knowing your personal limitations is a vital skill often overlooked. Recognize them and remain alert to them. There is no good reason to push your limits. They will change with each snorkelling opportunity presented. Factors to consider are water temperature, surge, currents, and visibility.