There are very few things in life that are better than scuba diving. The freedom of movement, the privilege in sharing the underwater world. There are a few of drawbacks with scuba, risk of decompression injuries, the noise of the bubbles, remembering the pre dive safety drill and the cost of both equipment and training. Although all of these can be managed, even the bubbles if you opt for the latest and greatest emerging technologies, they are all very real concerns.
Now snorkelling… All you have to remember is your mask, snorkel and fins. Not too taxing. For me the real advantage over scuba is the silence. No bubbles, no breaths, no sound. These three little facts allow you to move almost unnoticed by the marine life. Silently approaching a reef allows you to see creatures who would have normally long since disappeared. Larger marine animals are often scared by the noise of bubbles. Although bubbles to us may not be very loud, but in a silent world it is akin to a stereo on full volume.
The ability to enter the water quickly allows you to capture moments that may otherwise have otherwise passed by. A few times in the Red Sea we have quickly grabbed a mask and snorkel to swim with dolphins. Rarely do dolphins hang around when you are on scuba. Often people worry that they won’t be able to remain submerged for long. However being on the surface where you can breathe freely allows you to comfortably observe the underwater world. Some basic skills of breath control and you will quickly be able submerge. Initially it may only be for a few seconds but as you relax more you will find you can extend your breath hold times. Although no formal training is required it is well worth taking an hours tuition from a diving instructor to learn the safest techniques to snorkelling. Although most people are happy to just jump in, with the how difficult can it be outlook, there are several simple skills you can learn to aid yourself in the water. Getting started is simple, just grab a mask and snorkel package, follow our guide for how to test and prepare your kit video.
If you want to move easily in the water grab a pair of fins, however if you are not a strong swimmer then many people prefer not to use fins but remain in their own depth. A snorkel vest is also a good investment for all abilities but often over looked. Possibly the greatest thing that snorkelling can offer is the ability to get great marine life images on your camera. As I have already discussed the lack of bubbles means the wildlife are not spooked so you can normally get much closer than you can when diving. One thing that is worth mentioning is it is a sport for all ages and abilities. When my youngest son first used a mask on holiday he spent literally hours staring at a small goby hidden in a crack in a rock. For him and many children it was like looking inside the tv to discover those images are just that images, but these creatures are real and fascinating. What do you think, is snorkelling better at shallower depths? Remember to share your thoughts here on the blog comments section.