Not only is snorkeling a great way to stay active, but it gives you a front row seat to some of the earth’s most enchanting spaces. Even today, the ocean is still full of mystery in many ways. Snorkeling allows you to experience it firsthand.
Is a beginner snorkeling trip in the near future for you? The key to making it a successful undertaking is to be relaxed. It’s normal to be nervous about a new experience, but try to keep it under control and not think about it too much. With enough practice, those nerves will disappear and the ocean will become a spellbinding wonderland.
If you’re just getting into it and are wondering how to snorkel, here are a few tips to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible.
Practice Breathing Through a Snorkel
Start out practicing with your snorkel outside the water first. Just put on your mask and breathe through the tube, holding it gently in your teeth so your jaw doesn’t tire out quickly. Get yourself really accustomed to it by practicing some simple breathing exercises, such as equal breathing (inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of four) or the abdominal breathing technique (place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, inhale deeply and slowly through your nose using your diaphragm to stretch your lungs—so your belly should move, not your chest).
When you feel confident breathing with it on land, it’s time to take it to the water. The best way to get the hang of it is just floating calmly facedown at the surface. If you feel anxious at all, try to concentrate on the things you can see under the water. This will help you to just focus on your breathing.
Always Use Fins
To get the proper snorkeling experience, you need to wear fins. You want fins that fit snugly but aren’t too small. If you can’t straighten your toes or they hurt even a little bit, get a bigger size. Squished toes lead to foot cramps, so it’s better if your fins are a bit too big than too small.
Try getting your feet wet first before pulling them on–this helps them to slide on smoothly.
Use Your Mask Properly
This is probably the most important snorkeling advice–your mask needs to fit your face. To check the fit of your mask, hold it to your face and inhale through your nose. A properly fitting mask should seal and stay in place without you holding it up. Because if air can leak in, water can too.
A lot of times hair can get in the way and loosen the seal. So keep your hair back and your face shaved. If you don’t want to shave, some lip balm or petroleum jelly below your nose can help secure the seal.
Mask straps are designed to be worn at the crown of your head, which is the widest part. If the strap isn’t in the right spot, water is more likely to leak in.
Another good skill to learn is how to defog your mask. After all, the whole point of snorkeling is to see the underwater world. There are materials you can buy that keep your lenses clear longer, such as gel products, special types of crushed leaves, or even a drop of Johnson’s baby shampoo rinsed out with seawater can help keep out the fog.