As many people already know, to learn snorkelling is the practice of swimming in the sea while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually fins. In the cold sea around Northern Europe you will also need a wet-suit to keep you warm. But in the beautiful warm clear waters of the Mediterranean this is not necessary and you can stay in the water for a long time before you feel cold. Have a go and learn snorkelling while on your holidays. It is a good way to keep fit, inexpensive and an exciting way to explore the underwater world.
Learn Snorkelling Safely
Safety is the most important rule when you first try to learn snorkelling. Never snorkel alone and don’t snorkel out of your depth if you can’t swim. So while you are on a yacht charter holiday with Deep Blue Yacht Charters, this is an ideal time to learn to snorkel. You will get some very good instruction from your Captain who is experienced in all things to do with the underwater world. Read my blog, Life as a Commercial Diver.
First time snorkelling
One of the hardest things to get the hang of, when trying snorkelling for the first time. Is to, get used to having the mask covering your nose, and then breathing through a snorkel in your mouth. This is because we are used to breathing through our noses and not our mouths. You may feel like you are having difficulty breathing through a snorkel while wearing a mask over your nose. Which could make you feel a little bit claustrophobic. Don’t worry though this feeling soon passes. We will start you off in the shallow water, where you can stand up and just lower your head under the water. This enables you to look through the mask and look around at all the marine life. While standing you are not using energy swimming and you do not get out of breath. This way you can relax and get into a good breathing rhythm. Before you know it, you will not even be thinking of breathing, it will just happen naturally.
Learning Your Equipment
To learn snorkelling, it is a relatively simple sport. Beginners should get to know their way around their mask and snorkel. First you need to get a mask which fits you properly. We all have different size faces and different shaped faces. So it is very important to get a mask which fits you properly. You need a good seal on your face, to keep the water out. To test a mask for a good seal, get your hair and the mask strap away from your face. Then place the mask on your face over your nose and breath in through your nose. The mask should stick to your face, if not try another one. We have many different masks for you to try, on-board the Glaros. The snorkels are basically the same size, but make sure that the mouth piece has the two little rubber tips for you to lightly bite down on to hold the snorkel in place. Do not bite so hard that you bite through them. When I ran a diving school in Corfu, it is amazing the amount of mouth pieces which had been bitten through and the tips where missing.
Clearing water from the snorkel
You could quite easy become a good snorkeller during a week’s holiday. We stop at many different bays and beaches each day. So there is a lot of good opportunities to snorkel each day. Before long you will want to dive down while snorkelling, to see the many crustaceans more closely. When you dive down your snorkel will fill up with water. This can be quite scary if you are not expecting it. So it is important that you learn how to get this water out of the snorkel. This is an easy process, which you must practice, so you don’t get any unwanted surprises. You simply blow the air from your lungs, out of your mouth with a strong force, as you surface. Which will send the water up and out the end of the snorkel. Some snorkels have a drainage valve, which is a small rubber diaphragm, allowing the water to be pushed out one way. This makes it easier to push the water out if a small amount of water makes its way into the tube.
Clearing water from the mask
Clearing a mask while you are on the surface is easy. Simply lift your head out of the water and pull forward on the bottom of the mask, at the front. This will open up a gap in the bottom of the mask, allowing the water to drain out. Like the snorkels, some masks come with built-in purge valve, which is a one-way valve which lets the water out but does not let water in. You can clear a mask of water by simply blowing air out of your nose while the mask is on. The water will be pushed out the valve, clearing the mask. Masks without a valve can be cleared while underwater. All you have to do is press the top of the mask on to your forehead and blow air out through your nose. Air will bubble into the mask, pushing the water out the bottom.
When you are in open water snorkelling, your fins will help you swim long distances with ease. While you are floating face down in the water, breath evenly through your snorkel, and keep you fins below the water. If your fins break the surface, they will lose their efficiency and you will use more energy to propel yourself through the water. Keeping your arms at your sides or out in front of you, will help you balance and prevent drag.
Sometimes you will get condensation inside of your mask. This will happen when moisture from your breath condenses on the cold glass surface of the mask. To avoid this happening, you can spit on the inside of the class, rub it around, then wash it out with sea water. If your mask mists up during a dive, you can clear it by letting a little bit of water into your mask. Then wash the condensation from the lens by moving your head so the water moves over the glass and clears the mist. Then you just clear the water from the mask as described above, in clearing water from the mask.
If You Get Tired
Do not overdo it at first, or swim off too far from the boat. It takes time to build up the strength in your legs from snorkelling. If your legs become tired or if you develop a cramp, flip over onto your back. Your body position should be semi-sitting, with your head above water. This will let you float, so your muscles can rest and you can recuperate some energy.
I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. I will also be pleased to hear any of your comments, so please feel free to leave them.