Snorkel along the Seaside in Africa

September 3, 2013

Snorkelling is a well-loved sport that is practiced both professionally and simply for fun. Many tropical resorts offer recreational snorkelling to visitors. The main attraction of the sport is the chance to observe sea life close up, in its natural habitat without the complications of professional scuba diving equipment and training requirements. The activity is enjoyable for all ages due to the small amount of work it calls for.

Snorkelling Apparatus

A swimmer’s snorkel is essentially a breathing apparatus. It is a tube that is usually around 30 cm in length, with an interior diameter of 1.5-2.5 cm. The tube is typically L or J shaped and is fitted with a mouthpiece at the bottom end, made of rubber or plastic. The snorkel is used so that snorkelers can breathe from underwater, whilst the spout sticks above the water’s surface, allowing fresh air into the tube. There is normally a piece of rubber that conveniently attaches the snorkel to the outside strap of the snorkeler’s diving mask, leaving swimmers with their hands free.

Snorkelers typically wear the same type of mask as those worn by scuba divers. By forming an airspace, the mask allows the swimmer clear visibility beneath the surface. All scuba diving masks are made up of lenses (‘faceplates’), a fitted skirt which also encloses the nose, and an adjustable head strap. There are many different shapes and models to choose from, but the most common and reliable selections are made of silicone and rubber.

Though simple wearing a mask and snorkel whilst swimming in any body of water would technically constitute ‘snorkelling’, actual snorkels are conducted within the area of a reef, wreck or other objects beneath the water’s surface. The sport is generally used to observe aquatic life, such as fish, coral, algae, marine animals or to look at interesting rock formations. Due to its non-competitive nature, snorkelling is usually considered more of a leisure activity than an actual sport.

Anthias on reef top 2

Do I need training to snorkel?

There is no special training needed to snorkel. The only requirements are the ability to swim generally well and to breathe easily through the snorkel. However, for safety reasons it is usually recommended that you ask for instructions and/or orientation from an experienced snorkeler, tour guide, or equipment-rental store. This will help you further understand equipment usage, basic safety precautions, what to look out for and conservation instructions that educate you about the fragility of plenty marine organisms.

Snorkelling is one of the finest activities in which to partake. It is best to snorkel with others, not only for safety but also for more group-orientated fun. The activity is relaxing, enjoyable and suitable for most any type of traveller, allowing you to appreciate all that underwater life has to offer.

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