Taking up scuba diving can be tricky, we know. Getting certified to dive in open water means days spent in theory and practical exams– inconvenient when you may only have a week at best to spend in an island paradise like the Maldives!
In these instances, snorkeling can be a great compromise – all the fun of diving without the fuss of days spent studying. That isn’t to say there aren’t some guidelines to adher to when out on the water. Thankfully for first-timers, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and guidelines to read up on before you head out to open water.
Check Your Gear
Renting (or buying) the right gear is essential – your mask should fit snug enough to avoid potential leaks and diving fins should be close-fitting also (without being too tight that is). We highly recommend renting a dry snorkel, as they come fitted with a valve used to blow out any water that’s stuck in your tube.
Before heading out at sea, test out your rental gear thoroughly (either in a pool or at a shallow beach), and adjust/swap out items as appropriate.
Beach or Boat?
Stay close to the shore if it’s your first time. Then, once you’ve built up a bit of confidence, hop on a boat tour and select an interesting spot to explore – a shoal of exotic fish and a coral reef are never too far away in the Maldives!
Do note that ocean conditions typically tend to get rougher in the afternoons, so sticking to morning snorkeling sessions might make life easier in the long run...
Grab a Buddy
Remember to partner up with a fellow snorkeler especially when out in open waters. Keep each other within visible distance, giving a ‘thumbs-up’ signal to one another every few minutes to ensure that everything is going smoothly. This ensures that assistance is readily available in the unlikely event that you or your dive partner become fatigued or have problems with your equipment.
Corals are living beings and as much as it might seem only natural to stand on them when tired, we recommend laying on your back to float instead. Touching corals with your fins or your hands runs a risk of damaging it. As a general rule, assume that touching anything at sea is ill-advised!
Snorkeling requires more effort than you might think, so be sure to pace yourself and conserve your energy. Regulate your breath and relax your body to ensure optimal bouyancy – once you find yourself totally calm at sea, you’ll be in the best state to observe the beautiful underwater surroundings of the Maldives!