-Stay away from "J tubes" and ask for a Dry snorkel!
|J Tubes are nicknamed Drowning tubes. Cressi brand.|
|Dry snorkel Phoenix ScubaPro.|
-Make sure your mask fits properly with a suction test!
Put the mask to your face without putting the straps around your head. Push the mask into your face just a bit and inhale through your nose. Breathe through your mouth. If the mask stays on your face without the use of your hands and without constantly inhaling then BINGO! Make sure to put on the mask all the way with the Dry snorkel tube just to double check that everything is good.
-If you have facial hair be sure to shave!
Even stubble can cause problems for making your mask seal properly to your face.
Read the instructions carefully. Fogging of the mask is a common problem that can be easily fixed. De-fogger works best but toothpaste and spit can work in a pinch.
Open fins (or Open Foot fins) lets you wear booties if you need that extra insulation or if you are walking in a rocky area. Open fins are a little stiffer and can feel chunky if you wear booties with them.
There are Split fins and Paddle fins!
(Closed Foot fins give me blisters).
Anxious beginners often have bad experiences because they aren't familiar with their gear or how their body reacts to the ocean, so practice near the shoreline for a while before heading out into deeper water.
CHOOSE THE PROPER LOCATION!
-Find a beach that's right for you!
Always educate yourself on the area you are going to especially if it's your first snorkel. Early morning is the best time to go because the water is calm. Choppy waters make entering and exiting the water difficult and can push you against potential rock or coral heads which is dangerous.
Is the beach secluded?
TAKE THE TIME TO EDUCATE YOURSELF!
In Hawaii there are guidelines in which you must abide by when observing wildlife. Selfish visitors often feel entitled to do whatever they want when they see animals in the water. Combine that with them not being educated about the animals, they can endanger themselves and put the animal in great distress.
Currents, wave sets, winds, surges, and rip currents.
Sometimes you can be in a gentle current and it will smoothly push against you or push you through the water depending on the conditions. Or you could be in a strong current that can sweep you out to sea if you aren't paying attention to where you are going.
Wave sets are crucial to helping you decide whether or not it's a good time to snorkel. If there are wave sets that have any size to them at all DON'T GO OUT.
Windy conditions also make snorkeling visibility decrease. Usually, small breezes aren't a problem but the wind can change as the day goes on becoming stronger and possibly pushing you farther away from shore. Also, depending on the wind speed and which way the current flows, wave sets can significantly increase. This makes it difficult and possibly dangerous to snorkel.
An ocean surge is similar to a wave and can become very dangerous when you swim over a shallow spot. If a surge comes in and suddenly drops while you are swimming over a shallow spot, it can drop you onto the rock or coral head. Always make sure there is plenty of room between you and what's below you.
-Dangerous Rip Currents!
Powerful, strong, and narrow channels of water that will drag you away from shore. Rip currents look like a channel of choppy water that continuously churns in the same place and seems to run perpendicular to shore. The water color will be different and you will probably see a line of foam forming.
Thousands and thousands of people are rescued every year and at least 100 die from getting stuck in a rip current.
If you find that you are unable to swim back to shore because a rip current is pulling you back out, do not panic. Do not continue to swim against the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you feel the water because more easy to swim against, then swim back to shore.
(Sadly, as I am typing this news article popped up in my facebook news feed).
Utah man swept out by rip current, apparently drowns off Kauai's north shore
|Thanks Google Earth!|
|Thanks for the photo wikipedia!|
|Thanks Hawaiian Coral Index Page !|
|Thanks visualphotos.com !|
|White Tip shark. Thanks arkive.org!|
|Black Tip shark. Thanks arkive.org!|
|Tiger Shark. Thanks Brian Skerry!|
|While working as a guide at the Ahihi Kinau NAR we had to confiscate this from one of the tourists for fish feeding.|