As much as I love the beach, nothing soothes me more than taking my snorkeling gear, dive into the sea. Then I remember the first time I ever dip myself into the sea. I was scared because I literally had to jump into the sea. the BIG OCEAN. Some thoughts were flashing through my mind, and the real bad one, like if the sharks suddenly came out (which turned out sharks are human-friendly) or something pulls me down under. Damn! I wish I knew some snorkeling for beginners guide to help myself back then.
Even though there were many people who have not ever try snorkeling before due to fear or the worst part, because of the trauma. I gotta say, you missed a lot! Sightseeing the underwater world surely like watching a different world where its inhabitants are gorgeous creatures that you could not find on the land. So I encourage many people to at least try snorkeling, cos its cheaper and less hassle than diving. As for fear for any first time snorkeling, it’s unavoidable but if you prepare things to get ready, I assure you, you can be more relax underwater!
Perfect fit equipment
First thing first, makes sure everything you will be wearing and use is fit into your size. Simple thing to consider such as if what you are wearing is good enough for snorkeling. If the bikini is not your thing, wear something light cos it will be heavier underwater, or better, wear the diving suits for the Moslems girls. I like using tank top with shorts in most of the places in Indonesia, cos sure it is still conservative about the bikini, but some touristy places wouldn’t even care what you are wearing.
The next important equipment is your snorkeling gear. Some people prefer to buy their own gear, but you can also rent them if it’s your first time. The important thing is to check your mask on land by putting them into your face without tight them up. See if it’s still on to your face without falling. Wear your flippers and make sure its tight, cos it will be bit loosen up underwater. Of course, make sure it’s comfortable for you to wear.
Practice first (stay relax, calm and see the ocean condition)
As I had the wrong start by learning to snorkel right away into the sea in Karimun Jawa, I finally began to exercise at the swimming pool after that trip. I got myself used to be underwater in the swimming pool. Trying to understand the system and how the mask and snorkel works. Then I began to snorkel again on the next trip to the Thousands of Islands (Kepulauan Seribu) in Jakarta, as it was a good place to start for beginners and easy to reach back then. The truth is whenever I go down to the underwater, I always feel excited yet fear. I don’t think it will never go away. But then once I saw the fishes and colourful corals with an amazing view. I got to relax. I enjoyed the scenery and start to play around with the fishes.
It will be hard, to begin with, but once you feel appreciate on what you see. You will realise that all your panic moments and nervousness just fade away 🙂
Perfect timing to start
Don’t make the same mistake as I do. Start on the place with someone who you already know how to snorkel. Ask him or her to show you again before you go down. If you are still afraid to lose your balance, grab one of the life vests as your guidance even if you wouldn’t wear it. Check the weather and season on the place you choose. I have yet to found many places to start snorkeling in Bali, and the best place I can suggest is in Amed, Bali where you can start from the beach instead. Easier to reach, pocket-friendly, and you can control yourself at the sea. There are plenty of places you can start, but remember to always check with you guide whenever you are in the sea.
How about age? What’s the perfect age to start? I would say anytime you want. If you are young, then why not try once in your life? So you are already above 40 years old and you never try snorkeling ever? No biggie. Even I took my mum to snorkeling her first time in Belitung Island and Kiluan Island. She wore lifevest and tied herself on the rope to the boat in case she got further away. She was super happy and got addicted to sea afterwards. There’s no formula at what age you can start, but I recommend to start with your youth. It’s no lie that your body starts to change and tired easily as you grow old 😉
Now that you know how to prepare you first time snorkeling. There is also some basic knowledge that you need to be aware:
Never ever touch the corals
You don’t know which one of them is dangerous or not. Most of all please don’t stand on the coral even with your fin. You have destroyed the fish’s house. So just put your body laying up floating in the water when you feel tired of snorkeling.
Help dispose of the trashes on the ocean.
I am super aware of this condition, especially when I went to Kepulauan Seribu, as it was too close with Jakarta, people dispose of many trashes on the ocean instead. Some of the sea animals could eat them and it can lead to extinction. So when you are snorkeling across and found the plastic bag or trashes, please help the ocean by taking them to your boat and dispose it on the land.
Don’t feed the fishes.
That also includes bread. As much as you love taking pictures with lots of fishes, the reality is that you are killing them. You have ruined their ecosystem and their natural instinct for food. One cool photo with bunch of fishes is not worth to their extinction in the future 🙁
Use the local guide whenever you are snorkeling.
When I went snorkeling in Menjangan Bali, I asked the local guide to take care of our group together which he did. He also showed a couple of spots to see some of the fishes and beautiful corals. It is best to get to know the spots from them and well-protected in case something happens. Swim and snorkel near them if you were felt nervous and scared.
Wear the biodegradable sunscreen.
Some of the ingredients in the sunscreen are killing the fishes. There is special sunscreen that is reef friendly and safer to use. Read this to get to know more about which product you can use – they have test lots of products and I am proud to say that I have tried them on too!
Aware of your surrounding.
When I went snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, Bali, which has the hardest tide I have ever been, I got panic and almost hit my head to the boat. I know the excitement of being underwater and sometimes I forgot about what happens around including my friends. Always keep sights on the other snorkelers and of course, the guide. Please be aware all the time of your surroundings.
Know the perfect time to go for this spots.
You wouldn’t want to end up snorkeling with murky water and cold weather in the rainy season. Always check which months are the best to snorkel on your destination.
Now, there you go! Are you ready for your first underwater experience?
Comment below if you have any experiences on your first time snorkeling 🙂
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.