What is snorkeling?
Snorkeling, is the observation of underwater bottoms using a mask, a tuba, and usually fins. Snorkeling is usually practiced in shallow water, where, swimming on the surface of the water.
Snorkeling offers the possibility of observing the underwater world for long periods of time by providing a generally limited physical effort.
The ideal places for snorkeling are the warm, calm seas and clear waters.
The coral reefs, because of the wealth of their funds and their underwater life, are the most popular places of the snorkelers. Even if snorkeling is seen as the "little brother" of diving today, this activity has several strengths.
Indeed, snorkeling is practical:
– From the surface of the water, without oxygen bottles and without the need to immerse themselves completely. It is therefore not subject to the same apprehensions as diving.
– Without a special diploma and without an attendant: in snorkeling, we are free to explore the funds at its own pace and in its own way, most often without any organisational constraint
– Without major expenses: a few tens of euros are enough to equip, and snorkeling is often done from a public beach, with no special costs.
– Without significant physical effort, and in fact suitable for almost all ages, the snorkeler can simply float on the surface of the water.
Snorkeling is an excellent opportunity to develop the interest and curiosity of people for the riches of the underwater world and the preservation of biodiversity.
How to snorkel?
First of all, it's important to be comfortable with your equipment. During its purchase but also during its first uses. If this is your first time, practice breathing with mask and snorkel out of the water. Then choose a place where you walk and, standing up and leaning forward, put your mask in the water. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get used to. Then learn how to clean your mask and snorkel in the event of a water inlet. If water enters the tuba, you just have to exhale air strongly in it. The water will be evacuated by the valve provided for this purpose (for snorkels equipped with it), or by its end. If you have water in the mask (this may happen sometimes), put your head out of the water and simply lift the lower part of the mask to drain the water. Some masks are equipped with valves and allow you to evacuate the water by exhaling air with the nose in the mask, without the need to remove it. The next step is to learn how to practice snorkeling in a horizontal position on the surface of the water, without touching the bottom. For that, let yourself just float, face in the water. You will find that this requires no special effort and that one floats "alone". Learn to stay relaxed, relaxed, snorkeling can be a really soothing activity. Then learn how to get around. To do this, make slow beats of palms (top to bottom), without large amplitude, and trying to keep them a few centimeters below the surface of the water. Remember to stay in the horizontal position. A rhythm of about twenty beats per minute is enough to evolve smoothly. Keep your arms along the body, or joints in the back, to be more fluid in the water. With the habit, you will see that it is easy to reach important speeds (and to travel large distances easily) by flipping more sporty.
For those who wish, the next step is the practice of freediving, which allows diving under the surface of the water. By moving a few meters underwater, you immerse yourself completely in the underwater world, and benefit from the best angles for underwater shooting from the classic horizontal position, take your breath, then plunge your head to the Vertical in the water. Help yourself with your arms, then your fins, to position yourself vertically (upside down) and down to the bottom. Once you reach the desired depth, you can easily reposition yourself horizontally, and then explore the seabed. It is imperative to perform a balancing manoeuvre of the pressure of your eardrums during descent (including at shallow depth, the air contained in the middle ear decompresses). To do this, pinch your nose and gently blow into it until you feel a relief. When you return to the surface, exhale the air in your lungs to evacuate the water in the snorkel, and resume your exploration in a horizontal position on the surface of the water. The practice of freediving depends on the lung capacity of each one, and can present risks. Do not practice freediving if you are alone in the water and always remain reasonable (on depth as well as immersion time). Never exhale the air in your lungs before you have reached the surface (even if it helps to be more stable in the water), as an inspirational reflex can occur and water can enter your lungs.
Equip yourself.Snorkeling is an activity that requires little material, but do not neglect its importance. Fins are indispensable in the areas of current or waves. Protect your skin from the sun, with high index anti-UV creams and/or Rashguard type clothing. A material page is there to help you in your choice. Especially protect your back, neck, forehead, forearms and back of your legs, areas that will be exposed to the sun during your exploration.
Estimate your physical abilities.Snorkeling is an activity that can prove to be stressful depending on currents or waves. Some places are reserved for good swimmers. When you embark on long hikes, keep in mind that you will need more energy for the return journey. Do not let yourself drift, except in the context of very specific excursions organized by professionals. Generally, avoid travelling alone in remote areas of the shoreline.
Learn about sea conditions.The tides, the wind, the atmospheric pressure, the weather, the temperature: all these elements can change quickly and drastically the sea conditions. A quite quiet place can become in a few minutes more hectic. Not all dangers are visible, a sea of oil can hide strong currents. The tides can take you very far from the coast, and on the contrary, the swells can project you against the rocks. Always inquire before you put yourself in the water and, if in doubt, report your exploration.
Respect the areas and local regulations for bathing.Swimming is sometimes prohibited on unsupervised areas, or due to weather, sea conditions or the presence of jellyfish or sharks. In areas prone to shark risk, it is generally recommended not to get into the water at sunrise and sunset, near the mouths, and after heavy rains. Do not go to the navigation or practice areas of water sports (surfing, windsurfing, jet-skiing etc.) in order to avoid any risk of collision.
Respect the regulations of protected areas.More and more countries are becoming aware of the need to protect their reefs and put in place restricted areas. comply with the regulations and do not enter the areas of total protection. We try to make the most of them in our spots, but find out on the spot. Similarly, access to certain areas classified as marine parks or reserves is sometimes subject to the payment of an entry fee. This is also a way of participating in the preservation of the underwater world.
Pay attention to potentially dangerous species.Depending on the areas visited, you will be able to cross jellyfish, flying lion, stone fish, fire corals, thorns starfish, sea urchins, stingrays, cones... etc., species generally not or slightly aggressive but can cause stings, bites, burns or more or less severe electrocutions. Learn to recognize them and as a rule, you will avoid most accidents by refraining from putting your foot on the ground and touching/picking up anything.
Always keep in mind that the ocean remains, fortunately, a natural and wild environment, and as such always unpredictable.