Snorkeling is much more than healthy physical activity – it is an amazing way to explore the rich and colorful world of the seas and oceans. If you already have your gear and you are just about to try it, here are a few tips that can help you make the most of the experience.
Snorkeling Isn’t So Much about Swimming as It Is About Floating, so Stay Relaxed
Many beginner snorkelers are concerned about their swimming skills. The good news is that snorkeling is more about floating relaxed on the surface of the water than about any other aquatic skills – if you feel comfortable in the water and you have a little practice in breathing through your mouthpiece, the movements will come naturally to you.
Use Waterproof Sunscreen
This is something that most beginner snorkelers fail to pay sufficient attention to. The surface of the water amplifies the strength of solar radiation, causing severe sunburn even to those who don’t have sensitive skin. As a general rule, the higher the sun protection factor (SPF) of your lotion, the better, but there are other aspects you should consider when buying your sunscreen. During snorkeling, you will be wearing your sunscreen in the water, so make sure you look for waterproof products. You will need a product that protects not only you, but the sea you snorkel in and the marine life around you as well, so try to use lotion that is not toxic for the creatures that live in the sea.
Choosing Your Snorkeling Spot
Another aspect you should pay attention to when choosing the time and the destination for your snorkeling trip is the weather conditions that dominate the area you are planning to visit. Softer substrates such as sand get easily agitated when it is windy outside the water, so if you visit a sandy area when the weather is stormy or windy, you will not be able to see much of what swims around you.
The most colorful creatures of the sea usually prefer shallow waters such as shore areas or the waters around coral reefs and islands. Most marine life congregates around a structure, be it a coral reef, a shipwreck or a lava rock, so keep this in mind when choosing your snorkeling spot.
Never Snorkel Alone
Snorkeling is a relatively safe and easy activity, but it is best done in groups. Most of the marine creatures you can see on snorkeling spots are harmless, so the chances of encountering an aggressive animal are very thin, but you must be aware that there are some animals that can cause you distress such as jellyfish, which usually protect themselves by stinging or certain corals that also sting when you brush against them. If you snorkel alone, there is the risk of developing a cramp or drifting too far away from the shore, which can be scary if there is nobody around you. Even if you snorkel in the company of others or with at least one partner, make sure you lift your head out of the water every few minutes and check the whereabouts of the others in your group – it is incredibly easy to get absorbed by the marvelous scenery around you and drift away, so make sure you are always within a safe distance from others.