Setting up your mask is simple, all you need to do is adjust the straps to required tension, make sure its not over tight though. You should apply some toothepaste to the inside of the lens and rub around, once done wash out, this will help to stop the mask fogging.
You will need to attach the snorkel keeper onto the mask strap, this should be positioned on the outside of the mask strap on the left hand side.
Not much setting up is required with fins. If they are full foot then just remove the pocket shape retainer, if they are open heel then adjust the straps to the right tension.
Put the mask on your face with the strap at the top of the mask, then slide the strap over your head. Tighten straps if neccessary. The strap should be flat against the back of your head.
If you are experiencing leakages, run your fingers around the mask skirt to check for creases and make sure there is no hair caught in between the skirt and your face. Also check that your straps are tightened correct, sometimes they can be too tight!
Setting up your snorkel is simple, simply slide the snorkel in its snorkel keeper until the mouth piece fits comfortably in your mouth.
If you have full foot fins, then simply wet the foot pocket then slide them on. If you have adjustable fins, loosen the straps then slide your foot in and tighten the straps.
1. If you are entering from a boat, slide gently over side, lowering yourself into the water.
2. If you are entering from a large boat you will have to do a giant step. Simply Step off the boat and enter the water. To stop your mask coming off hold it to your face with your hand.
Clearing Your Snorkel
When snorkeling, as you descend your snorkel will fill with water, this is normal and not a problem.
To remove this water when you reach the surface you will have to blast the water out with a short powerful breath. This will expel the water allowing you to breathe again. If you dont have enough puff left to clear simply remove the snorkel from your mouth at the surface take a breath then clear.
Kicking Your Fins
The best way to fin is in a relaxed manor, this will get you around just as quickly as if you are really pushing hard and it wont tire you out.
All you need to do is kick from the hip with your knees slightly bent. Your toes should be pointed in the opposite direction from where you want to go. Ensure you keep your face in the water and keep as streamlined as possible.
As you dive down under the water you will notice that you feel a squeeze on your ears, this is pressure building in your ears, to release this pressure simply squeeze your nose sealing your nostrils then gently blow out through your nose, this will equalise your ears, you will feel a small pop.
If you experience any difficulty or pain, do not keep trying, return to the surface.
You should equalise every few feet to avoid injury.
Clearing Your Mask
While snorkelling, your mask may allow small amounts of water to leak in, usually due to movement in your face due to smiling, and this water can become annoying if left.
The most obvious way to remove this water is to pull the mask away from your face, tilt the bottom outward and allow the water to literally drop out of the mask whilst on the surface. This method, although effective, is not always ideal as when you put the mask back on it is difficult to do so with some water re-entering! A better method is to apply gentle pressure with your hand to the top of the mask in the centre above the middle of your eyes whilst gently exhaling from your nose.
This forces the water to exit the mask underneath the nose as it is replaced with your breath and as soon as you stop exhaling, the mask will immediately sit back with a good seal under the nose. A third option is to purchase a mask that has a built-in purge valve. With this type of mask a similar procedure to above needs to be used.
You simply tilt the head to ensure the valve is at the lowest point of the mask, hold the entire mask squarely against your face and again gently blow via your nose. This method means that the seal of the mask to your face is not broken at any time but water is nevertheless expelled from the mask.
When snorkelling remember the aquatic world is the home of the marine life you are watching and respect that home as you would expect others to respect your home if they were visiting. The aquatic world is very fragile so avoid holding onto to anything - things may look like rocks but they may be sensitive coral which your touch could kill or as many people will confirm, it could be a sensitive coral that leaves a nasty sting!
Watch that your fins are not dipping too low - just because you cannot feel the tips of them doesnt mean they cannot destroy fragile plants and animals with the seemingly slightest of glances. Many places now forbid snorkellers to wear gloves as these prevent the very stings that warn you not to touch and some charities and organisations run coral reef conservation expeditions where you can learn and contribute to the science of coral reef ecology. Visit our links pages to find out more.
Underwater photography while snorkelling, offers you the chance to capture your vision of the aquatic world forever. There are a few things you should be aware of to help you take great pictures. Firstly, being underwater magnifies everything by 25% making things appear closer than they actually are, just try dropping something in the shallows and then retrieve it, initially although your eyes will tell you that your hand is almost reaching it you will still need to reach further. The second fundamental point you must remember whilst practicing underwater photography is that colours are lost from the red end of the spectrum. Initially only reds disappear, turning grey in only a couple of metres of water.
The implications of this are that a stunningly colourful fish may appear dull and grey in the photograph you take. With this in mind, lighting is possibly the most important aspect; add artificial light and the colours return. Consider buying a camera with a flash or strobe unless you will only be in a couple of metres of water when taking your photographs.
Nowadays there are really 3 levels of cameras suitable for underwater photography and all have advantages and disadvantages...
Disposable Underwater cameras Advantages: low cost, small Disadvantages: one use only, processing costs, possible disappointment with results
Film Cameras Advantages: Usually include built in flash/strobe Disadvantages: Can be bulky, processing costs, possible disappointment with results
Digital Cameras Advantages: See results instantly and edit as you go, minimising disappointment with results. Disadvantages: Initial expense
Most diving centres offer snorkelling training and although you may consider snorkelling an activity you can just go and do without instruction, you can learn many valuable safety tips and ways to improve your enjoyment. Some of the things you may learn by enrolling in a snorkelling course...
How to snorkel efficiently so you do not become out of breath or tire quickly
How to improve your breath holding abilities to allow you to stay submerged for longer
Basic procedures for how to avoid stings and what to do if you do get stung
Mask and snorkel clearing so you remain comfortable in the water
Easy entry and exit procedures over rougher terrain
Local marine life identification
How to look after your equipment extending the life of it