Step 1: Choose the right gear!
Choose a mask that seals well: When you’re trying on a mask (whether purchasing one or renting one), you can check that it fits your face well by holding it up to your face, breathing in through your nose and holding your breath to create a suction and taking your hands away from the mask. If your mask holds to your face with that suction, then you have a good seal!
Choose flippers that fit well: It’s important that you don’t risk them falling off. It’s also important that they’re not too small, as you could cause your feet to cramp up.
Choose a snorkel with a dry valve: This type of snorkel has a float valve sealer that closes off the top of the snorkel should it be submerged (say, if you accidently tilt your head and the snorkel goes under the water or you get surprised by an incoming wave). This snorkel provides optimal comfort, especially for those new to snorkeling!
Consider using a floatation device: Some people prefer to snorkel with a waist flotation device that helps their buoyancy. These can often be rented with snorkel gear.
Consider using a wet suit: If you are cold blooded, you may find that a spring suit (a wet suit with short legs and arms) may provide extra comfort for you- especially if you plan to snorkel first thing in the morning when the water is the calmest! No one likes to get out of the water early because they got the chills!
Step 2: Use De-fogger
This step is key to a successful snorkel!
De-fogging your mask is the difference between giving all of your time and attention to the sea life under you or spending half your time removing your mask and attempting to clear it of a foggy film built up, just to do it all over again 15 minutes later.
To de-fog your mask:
Immediately before going to the water, spray the inside of your mask glass thoroughly with de-fogger. Do not use your fingers to rub it around. Go to the water, and keep your face dry. Dip your mask ONCE into the water and immediately put your mask on. Do your best to not remove it for your entire snorkel trip, and your vision should stay crystal clear.
De-fogger can be purchased at any water shop in Maui, or you can make your own!
DIY De-Fogger Recipe
12-18 drops of baby shampoo
Small spray bottle
Mix together in the spray bottle and it’s ready to use!
Step 3: Put your gear on in the water!
Take your mask and fins down to the water to put them on.
There’s nothing worse than tripping your way to the water because you put your flippers on at your towel and then have to painstakingly make your way to the water’s edge!
Instead, take all of your gear down to the water (don’t forget to spray your mask with de-fogger first!). Follow the above steps to put your mask on, then get in the water to where it’s about waist-deep. Carefully put each fin on, watching to make sure you’re not caught off guard by any waves.
Finally, put your snorkel in your mouth and you’re ready to swim out to the fish!
Step 4: Just breathe
Focus on breathing steadily while snorkeling
Put your snorkel in your mouth and lightly bite down on the mouthpiece. Lay on the top of the water with your face flat down in it. Take deep, slow breaths through the snorkel. You should be able to hear yourself breathing through the tube.
Step 5: Know your limits
Be mindful of how far out you go- and how much energy you’re using!
Snorkeling is often touted as an activity for anyone, a simple and effortless way to see the ocean life beneath us.
What many don’t realize is how much energy it does to take to snorkel, and how easily you can wander further than you intended to go. Even a warm ocean will slowly cool your body down, so you expend energy staying warm when snorkeling. Additionally, swimming against currents or through wavy water takes effort while snorkeling. Add in the fact that swimming with fins uses muscles you don’t often use, and you’ll find that snorkeling truly is a good workout!
Always be mindful of how far out you are going and how long it will take you to return. If you’re a beginner, start by staying close to the shore until you know what your own endurance level is. Once you are comfortable with your gear and your own physical ability, you can swim further out.