Guest Post by Katie from The Katie Show Blog
Katie loves the ocean and snorkels as much as she can – it is her happy place and being in the water makes her feel comfortable and peaceful. She loves sharing things that she is passionate about so she wrote a beginners snorkeling tips post to help you get started on your own underwater adventures! So read on for her useful advice~
Use baby shampoo
During one of my shark diving tours with Hawaii Adventure Diving, the crew suggested using baby shampoo to keep my goggles from fogging. Before this I had tried everything from plant leaves to spit to toothpaste and none seemed to work out just right. Baby shampoo however, has worked perfectly for me every single time and I haven’t used anything else since. I keep a travel size container with me in my beach bag and simply add a couple of drops to my goggles, rub it around to cover the inside surface then rinse it off before getting in the water. It’s a simple trick that helps you to keep your goggles clear so you can see all the underwater magic!
Take it slow
This is the tricky part because if you’re anything like me, then you get super excited when you see animals in the water! But trust me that slow and steady is the best way to encourage an up close animal experience. Think about it from the animals perspective, if a huge, shadowy figure came splashing after you wouldn’t you get out your little fins out of there as fast as possible? This took a bit of training to slow myself down when I get excited, but I find that now when I see an animal and take a slow approach to them, not diving too fast or splashing too much, then they are more comfortable around me and don’t rush away. This simple tip has led me to some incredible, up close animal encounters!
Get a selfie stick
If you have a GoPro and like taking underwater pics, or even just want to get into it, then I would definitely recommend picking up a selfie stick of some sort. There are plenty of different types to use which vary in length and functionality, but I use the floaty GoPole. It’s lightweight and allows you to tilt the GoPro to change photo angles quickly which is super helpful underwater. I also like it because it is reassuring to know that if I lose track of it then I can catch it quickly since it floats. It comes with a wrist strap so luckily this hasn’t happened yet. The main reason I like the selfie stick underwater is because it allows you to get closer to animals without invading their space (because if you do that they will just dart off). I find that they are more comfortable with the selfie stick coming towards them slowly than my hand so this simple tool allows you to keep a distance and get up close pictures at the same time.
Invest in your gear
Having good equipment and taking care of it makes a big difference in your snorkeling experience (and saves you money by improving the life of your equipment). For fins, I use the Zak Noyle editions from Da Fin Hawaii which are a really good all rounder fin to get you moving through the water and looking cool while doing so!
For goggles, you could stick with a basic google and snorkel set and I’d recommend a snorkel with the flip valve on top which stops water from getting into the tube. When you put your mask on, make sure all your hair is slick back and not creeping under the mask because this lets water get in.
Rinsing off your equipment is a must do after each snorkel session not only to keep your gear clean but to prevent any damage from the salt water residue.
Stay in the clear
If the water is murky or cloudy then it’s time to get out and head back to shore. This is because murky water is predator territory, it helps them with their stealth mode and not the safest place to be swimming in. If in doubt, don’t go out.
Take it easy
Some people get in the water and kick around like crazy exhausting themselves in a short amount of time because lets face it, swimming can be tiring! If you are starting out with your snorkeling adventures, you can take it easy and float with some light kicking to get your body used to it. You’re snorkeling not swimming the 100m freestyle in the Olympics, so no need to be working up a storm especially if you’re not used to it. If you are stopping to look at something (or need a break) then you can always just float for a minute, take some deep breaths and keep track of how much you may be drifting in the water.
One really basic but sometimes overlooked tip is to keep an eye on the weather and the waves. As always, if in doubt, don’t go out. If you are new to snorkeling, it may be a good idea to start in a protected area like a bay which often provide a little more shelter than an open ocean environment or alternatively, somewhere with lifeguards is another good starting point. Another really basic tip is to stay hydrated because cramping up while you are out swimming is not much fun at all! I drink a lot of water and also use energy gels to help with this if it is a big swim.
I hope this helps get you started on your own snorkeling adventures. Be safe and have fun out there!
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