Choosing activities on a short winter beach getaway, can be tough. Going to an all-inclusive for the first time, my sister and I knew we’d have a lot of pool and beach time, eventhough we never anticipated a stressful beach emergency! Before we got there though, I read up on the great Maya reef and snorkeling rose to the top. My sister had been before and loved it and I had really been looking forward to snorkeling my first time.
I guess I just assumed I’d get it. I’ve swam so much. It has always been part of who I am. I love the water. I was geeked out about snorkeling. The reef sounded amazing and we choose a place that sounded perfect. The van picked us up first thing in the morning and we would snorkel a good bit of the day, breaking for an awesome meal.
Tips for a First-Time Snorkeler
As we went out on a boat to our first area of the reef we were going to check out, our lead Hugo, walked us through a few key points:
- Keep your mask water tight. Make sure you get a good seal. If you think it is on good, try to breathe through your nose. It should seal tightly, if not, get to problem solving.
- Breathing through a snorkel, may take a few minutes to feel natural but you’ll get it. Bite on the mouthpiece and breathe through your mouth.
- Do scissor kicks. Scissor kicks are the way to go once you put your fins on. Part of that is your motion forward but it is important because with shallow depths we were in, you needed to be careful that you don’t damage the eco system.
- Watch, listen and have fun. One of the things that was so great about Snorkeling Adventures, is they were doing guided swims. That means we all got out of the boat and swam a similar path. My sister had been on one where everyone got out and swam whatever direction. On both, it was important to pay attention to your surroundings. Safety is important but I also found that staying near the guides meant you would be able to learn so much more about what you were seeing. And they really know what to look for!
You can’t believe how beautiful a coral reef will be and how much you can take in swimming across the surface, looking down and around. I can’t wait to go again!
When Things Weren’t Working
For me, I wanted everything to work so bad and it just wasn’t at the start. I asked about it and was reminded, get a good seal, so I’d take the mask off & make sure all my hair was out of the way. Put the mask on, and check the seal. I was good. Then I’d grab the mouthpiece and bite on it and make sure my lips were wrapped all the way around. And again, water.
The guide said my mask appeared to be too low, so I resealed it higher. Again water. Not lying, I was getting frustrated. And as water kept getting in my mask and my mouth, I was having trouble breathing and being asthmatic, that’s a bad path to start down.
I was using a lot of energy and it wasn’t working. I started swimming on my back but the guide (Hugo) came over and adjusted my mask, the distance the snorkel had and got me to tighten my vest again. My sister could tell it was really getting to me. But Hugo was really good and took time to make sure I got it. He knew my impatience & breathing were beginning to be a problem. He insisted I hold onto a rescue ring for a bit as we swam, me gaining confidence that the water wouldn’t be back in my mask or snorkel. It didn’t take long and then I was a relaxed snorkeler, I got the hang of it and started really loving it!
Here’s a video that will show you some of the sights! I would definitely recommend you try it and if you are in the area, go to Snorkeling Adventures and ask for Hugo!
I’ll write a second post about the trip too as I bout a new action cam specifically with this trip in mind. I’ll share some tips in case anyone is interested!