Have you ever had the unfortunate moment when you swallowed salt water while on a snorkeling or diving adventure? Oh, it’s such an awful taste when out of nowhere this nasty stuff forces its way into your mouth (or nose) and down your throat.
You would think that even after the many years that I’ve been blessed to be in the water with the manta rays, it would not happen to me, but it sure did the other day. It was a bit wavy and while I spoke to my snorkel group, a small wave just had the “perfect” angle to fill my mouth with water. Gulp 🙁
It was a “not-so-refreshing” reminder that the ocean is not to be disrespected and that we, the humans, are entering an unforgiving environment; in other words: the ocean has NO MERCY.
You are leaving the humans’ comfort zone, the place of constant air supply, and entering a setting that requires multitasking.
The single most important task I believe you need to master is to be comfortable with your equipment.
At night, when we prepare for the manta snorkel activity and we check each participant’s
- Swim ability
- Snorkel skills
- Snorkel experience (e.g. if the guests have snorkeled more or less than 10 times)
- Ocean visits (e.g. how recently they have been in the ocean)
This information gives guides an idea of who will need more attention before and during the in-water time. We always review the snorkel equipment together for best fit, use, and troubleshooting.
It often amazes me how many “aha” moments our guests have when they learn in detail about the “tools” you need to see (mask) and breathe (snorkel) underwater.
Too often, ocean-goers just purchase the equipment without any instructions on how to use it properly in the ocean.
A mask and snorkel (and fins) are basically tools and with a little bit of technique, you too can easily master water leaks and avoid the nasty choke on seawater.
In this instructional video, you find the four easy steps to become comfortable with the traditional equipment (start at 9:15 minutes) and also a critical review of the new trendy full-face masks.
The Ultimate Goal
Meet Olivia, Colette, and Riley, three teenagers who joined our tour recently. You could hear the little squeals of joy and laughter through their snorkels… a clear indicator for having a great time with the manta rays; and thanks to their mom Kitty, we got this incredible picture with one manta underneath them.
Everyone handled the close-ups with the gentle giants calmly because they knew how to master their snorkel equipment and we were able to accomplish our ultimate goal to invigorate enthusiasm to protect the manta rays and be advocates for the ocean.