We will always snorkel in buddy pairs (sometimes a ‘pair’ is made up of 3 people). You should always know where your buddy is while you are in the water. Your buddy group should always know where your snorkel leader is.
Try to be as efficient as possible. We float in salt water. When you are waiting for someone, or just hanging out, minimize your fin kicks. Kicking tends to make you sink more, and it exerts more energy than you need to. Just float on your belly and put your face in the water, breathing through your snorkel, open your arms and look. Snorkeling is a time that you can be immersed in the marine world and become an unobtrusive observer. Excessive kicking tends to scare animals away.
Mask fogging makes it hard to see. You can minimize mask fogging very simply – with toothpaste, defog, or even spit. Using your medium of choice, put it in your mask and rub every area of the glass very carefully with it, then rinse it one time with salt water and put the mask on your face. Try to not remove your mask until you are through with your dive. Placing your mask on your forehead makes your mask fog – and it is a sign of a distressed snorkeler; if you must remove your mask, pull it down over your neck like a necklace.
If you would like to practice diving deeper than the surface, please let your dive leader know and they will make sure it is an appropriate area to do so. In order to dive below the surface, we must equalize the pressure in our ears. It is a pretty easy thing to do, and is known as a Valsalva maneuver. Simply squeeze your nose and try to gently blow through your nostrils. This is why masks have a separate area for your nose. You will usually hear your ears ‘pop’ when the pressure is equalized. You do this as you are swimming downward in the water. If your ears don’t equalize, don’t try to push it too hard, you can rupture your eardrum – not fun. Always try to be aware of your body.
Good snorkeling practices include:
Never touching the reef! Do not stand on or kick the coral
Although it is sometimes hard to do, try to not kick your snorkeling companions, or in shallow areas kick up excessive sediments.
We will be in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – no one is allowed to take ANYTHING from within the sanctuary boundary. “Look but don’t touch” is the rule.
This video is a nice tutorial with good information. One thing to note though is that we recommend a snorkel without a valve (like the yellow one he shows first). The valves are great but they tend to fail often if even a little sand gets in them. If you already have one of this style, don’t worry about replacing it! We’ll have plenty of extra snorkel if you need it during the week.