Marine life has captivated us, mesmerized us and offered many of us a great alternative to the everyday stresses and repetition of life. Their is nothing worse than having the opportunity to do something that you have been looking forward to for a long time only to have the experience backfire. With regards to viewing and enjoying the underwater marine realm, their are a few tips to help you to get the most out of your opportunity.
You should always get yourself the best snorkeling mask that is available in the market. As snorkeling mask is one of the most important gear that you need while snorkeling. You just can’t ignore its value.
One of the key ingredients is to do some research to find the ideal locations in which to snorkel. Obviously, some dive sites are better than others as far as diversity of life and abundance of life as well. Moreover, some of the dive locations require different levels of skill, based on whether or not their is strong current or requires entering the water from a boat or having to swim out from land. The depth of the water is also something to consider as the depth increases the visibility decreases as do the colors of the marine life that live there. With the increasing depth of the water, it is also a good probability that you will need to dive down to get a better glimpse of life on the reef therefore bringing experience into the equation again.
The intensity provided by the sun emitting harmful UV rays is cause enough for concern and taking precautionary measures to ensure that you don’t get sunburn or worse. When you add water and saltwater to the equation which magnifies and intensifies the suns rays, it could really spoil a fun day at sea exploring the reefs while lying on your stomach for an extended period of time. The frequent application of sun tan lotion and wearing a polyester tee shirt will help to reduce the chances of being sidelined with sunburn, sun blisters and excruciating pain.
Being that our body temperature remains fairly constant at 98.6 degrees, any deviation from that will make us feel uncomfortable. Yes, the reefs of the world are roughly 80 degrees +/- a couple degrees depending on the weather and season, making us think of the water as being warm. To a certain extent, this holds true, however, with the huge temperature variance of our body temperature and that of the surrounding water, we will cool down rather quickly, as water is not a good insulation media. After a short period of time we will start to cool down making us feel uncomfortable to the point of having to get out of the water and dry off in the warmth of the sun. To help combat this, a dry suit or wet suit of some sort will help as well as wearing polyester clothing as opposed to cotton.
Many of us that have or are planning on a snorkeling extravaganza, will encounter a myriad of different life forms. From coral and anemones, that we don’t even realize are actually animals and not plants, to invertebrates, fish and benthic organisms. Most of these are harmless to us, however, there are some frequently encountered animals that pose a threat to us and should not be touched, provoked, harmed and we should be on the lookout for. This can include but is not limited to various reef sharks and rays, Sea Urchins, Crown of Thorns Sea Stars, Lion, Scorpion, Toad fish and Tangs, Jellyfish, Cone snails, Barracuda and Octopus. Certain species of coral(Millipora-Fire coral), sponges(fire), anemones and rock formations also heed warning signs to us.
Skin contact can cause pain, swelling, burning sensations, infections, rashes or worse(cardiac arrest etc.) due to allergic reactions. Often times these carry bacteria, venom and toxins that are harmful to us, so to ensure that we have a safe and enjoyable time exploring, it is advisable to LOOK/DON’T TOUCH! These rock formations and coral formations are also very sharp so contact with these, whether by accident or not, should be encouraged. Strong current can also force you into these formations causing potential problems. All of the marine life that we encounter is diverse, delicate, colorful and amazing. Taking the right precautionary measures will enable us to enjoy these amazing reef biotopes for years to come.
The last thing that should be included in tips to experience the best snorkeling is to purchase an underwater camera to be able to capture some of the enjoyment while snorkeling. Being able to have a keepsake from your trip with the varied life associated with the reefs, will allow you to refer back to and relive your diving experience time and time again and to show you friends and family what they missed.
Hopefully these tips will enable you to plan and have a safe, and enjoyable snorkeling adventure now and in the future.
Also, please remember that our reefs are very delicate, so being a conscientious diver and snorkeler adhering to rules and policies that govern the various underwater parks by local government and park rangers, will allow our reefs to grow and thrive without us potentially destroying them.