Snorkeling experience: everything you need to know

Have you ever seen what is underwater? Snorkeling is an experience that allows you to explore the seabed without resorting to the use of compressed air, by means of scuba tanks. It’s an activity that requires no age limit and you don’t even have to be a great swimmer, you just need to want to be in the water! Snorkels are devices used to breathe air while swimming at the surface of the water. When wearing snorkels the swimmer’s face remains on the surface, allowing air to move through the mouth. But then, can you fully dive a few meters underwater to see an organism more closely? It depends on the snorkeling equipment you have. In this article, we answer all possible questions about this activity!

Snorkeling equipment

Before starting it is important to talk about the different parts of the snorkel. All the snorkels have three main parts: the tube, the mouthpiece, and the mask clip. The tube is the longest part of the snorkel and is composed by an open upper part that allows you to receive air (and oxygen) from the surface. To ensure that there is enough air exchange and that you receive constant oxygen, the snorkels have standard sizes: they are 38 cm long with a volume of about 230 ml. Tube measurements are very important! A tube that is too long can trap carbon dioxide creating a “dead space” that would prevent you from breathing oxygen. All snorkeling tubes have a slight curve for the most comfortable fit, and depending on the type of snorkel, you can find a floating valve or a purge valve.

The mask clip allows you to hold the tube and mask together and helps keep the tube upright. The mouthpiece is made of silicone and is inserted into the lower part of the tube, just after the curvature. It is formed by an extra flap that helps to seal the mouth and allows the adhesion by your teeth. You don’t need to bite the tube too hard, just what you need to keep it stable inside your mouth. Using too much force from the mouth in the mouthpiece can cause you jaw pain and headaches. The mask is the other component needed to be able to see the seabed. The lenses are made of rigid plastic and are wrapped in a silicone membrane that allows you to adhere well to your face, without letting water enter it. The mask will wrap around your eyes and nose, in this way your breathing through the mouth will be facilitated, with the use of the mouthpiece. The two corners of the mask are joined together by a tear, also made of silicone, adjustable according to the size of your head. Do you want to know the correct positioning of the mask? Read our article “Underwater equipment”, we talk about it in more detail.

Already with just a mask and snorkel, you can perform the snorkeling activity at the surface of the water. But for us, there are two other elements, in our opinion necessary, that can be used: fins and suits.

Fins are very important in the sea; they help you swim better without getting tired and save you in case of currents and waves. Fins are a component that is placed in our feet (refer to your foot number to find the fin that suits you) and give you the necessary propulsion to even dive a few meters underwater. To use your fins correctly, your legs must be stretched, and the movement (and therefore the effort) comes from the hip. The outstretched leg allows the fin to push a greater volume of water and therefore to fin faster.

Remember, however, that in the activity of snorkeling, as well as in diving, everything must be done calmly! If you run, you miss out on all the organisms you would like to see.

The wetsuit allows you to help maintain body heat and increases your buoyancy. For more information on wetsuits visit our article “diving equipment”

Snorkeling experience

Snorkeling with turtles
Attach the snorkel to the mask and start the experience!
Before entering the water, we recommend that you clean the inner lenses of your diving mask, so that it does not fog up during your activity. We use saliva, but there are also many eco-friendly products that can help your mask not to fog up .Do not use chemicals and soaps, even if it seems that the mask is washed well chemical residues can go into the sea and damage the ecosystem with time.
 
Put on everything you need and get in the water! It is always better to avoid entering the sea alone for safety reasons, ask your friend if he wants to come with you or make sure that someone on the beach or boat keeps an eye on your activity. If you also want to snorkel outside the buoys for bathers, we strongly advise you to bring a clearly visible surface buoy float with you, so any boats that may pass near the coast will be advised. 

Can you dive few meters?

Of course, you just need to figure out how! It’s very easy if you want to go down a few meters underwater holding your breath, now I’ll explain how! Start swimming calmly on the surface, take a deep breath filling your lungs with air and in apnea you can start diving, finning towards the bottom. When you need more air, go back to the surface and breathe oxygen from the outside. Once on the surface, before taking a deep breath, you will notice that the snorkel tube is full of water. There are two ways to clean the snorkel: the first is to exhale the air out of the air from the mouth, keeping the snorkel between your teeth, in this way the force of your air will get all the water out of the snorkel and you can continue to breathe surface oxygen; the other is the simplest, once on the surface remove the mouthpiece from the mouth, breathe to your liking and manually empty the hose from the water. If you want to dive deeper, you can use a leaded belt that will counteract the buoyancy of the wetsuit and your body. In this case, however, you will need a freediving course; it will help you to better manage your breathing to stay longer underwater.

How long can you stay underwater with a snorkel?

If the opening end of the mouthpiece is above water, you can technically stay below the surface for hours! This is because there is a clean gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide through the snorkeling tube. However, if you intend to fully immerse yourself in water, the time limit will be limited by your breathing abilities.

Do I need to know how to swim to snorkel?

This activity does not require great swimming skills. The wetsuit will help you stay afloat and in case your skills in the water are limited, choosing an instructor can be ideal, it will help you swim, and you will feel calmer and more comfortable. If you’re going to go without a guide, make sure you can swim well enough.

One Response

  1. Uno snorkeling veramente interessante, un briefing ben spiegato dalla Biologa Marina Alice sulle specie che si potevano incontrare, attrezzature nuove e performanti, in acqua siamo riusciti a vedere tartarughe ,polpi, trigoni , una nuotata immersi in un oceano pieno di vita in compagnia di Alice e Beltran che ti accompagnano e sorvegliano sulla tua sicurezza.
    Al rientro al centro diving una bella doccia calda, ti fa recuperare le energie.
    Questi ragazzi sanno trasmettere momenti emozionanti in un contesto marino veramente eccezionale.
    Insomma SEEYOUDIVING Tenerife si può considerare una base sicura per iniziare a esplorare lo oceano.

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