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Tips for a Family’s First Snorkelling Trip

“The holiday season has rolled around again and you’ve decided to do something that little bit different on the next family holiday”

Snorkelling can well fall under that category and is available in destinations like Egypt and Gran Canaria…

  • Tips for a Family’s First Snorkelling Trip

    The holiday season has rolled around again and you’ve decided to do something that little bit different on the next family holiday. Snorkelling can well fall under that category and is available in destinations like Egypt and Gran Canaria. Fun for you and the kids, you can explore the ocean, stay cool under the sun and, like many other tourists, discover the beauties that lie beneath sea level. What’s that – you’ve never been snorkelling before? Well, here are a few tips to make that first snorkelling trip a success.

    What you need

    Snorkelling in the sea

    Along with a desire to explore, you and your family will require a snorkel and mask and some diving fins – all available to hire. You may wish to use a wetsuit to protect you from sunburn. If the wetsuit keeps you almost too afloat, you might wish to fix a small snorkelling weight to yourself so that you can indulge in your underwater exploration without constantly floating to the surface against your will. Special snorkelling gear is available for children.

    You don’t require a special qualification to take part in this fun activity. However, if on a snorkelling expedition, you should seek out a reputable company with qualified instructors.

    The basics

    You should learn some of the basics before you take to the waters.  Breathing is fairly straightforward. You just have to breathe slowly and deeply through the snorkel tube, remaining calm all the while. If you have any problems, you can pop your head up above the water.

    Another basic is to clear your snorkel of water. Sometimes waves can wash over you and the water can come in over the top of the snorkel and fill it up. Although this can give you a fright if you’re a first-time snorkeler, there’s no need to panic. Just exhale hard down the snorkel tube. This will blow the water out of the top of your snorkel.

    The last basic task is clearing your snorkelling mask. This is as simple as lifting your head out of the water, pulling your mask forward and letting the water run out of it. If your mask fogs up while you’re on a dive, you can let a little water in and look down at the seabed to rinse the glass a little before draining your mask.

    Snorkelling with the family

    Kids snorkelling

    You can’t just dive into the nearest sea or ocean with the kids if none of you have ever snorkelled before. Practice makes perfect and you should get comfortable with your snorkelling gear in the pool or in shallow waters before taking to the sea. If the kids have their own gear, they can even practise in the bath! It’s also a good idea to snorkel close to where you’re staying, rather than take them on an expedition out into the middle of nowhere. Kids can get bored easily and if they don’t get the hang of snorkelling or don’t see the fun in it, you can call it a day instead of putting up with some unhappy snorkelers. But the chances of that happening are slim!

    While out exploring, if you happen to be snorkelling where there’s coral reef, you or your children might be tempted to snap a piece off to take home as a unique memento of the trip. Please do not do this! To give in to the temptation is to interfere with the ecosystem and you may be depriving little creatures of their food.

    What to expect

    Reptiles

    Egypt is something of a snorkeler’s paradise, snorkelling in Sharm El Sheikh being a popular tourist pastime. You can expect to swim in warm waters and to see lots of coral reef and tropical fish.  If you stay a little closer to home and make your way to Gran Canaria, snorkelling at the beaches can reward you with the sights of parrotfish, flounders and lizardfish swimming by.

    Snorkelling is a fun opportunity to get out and explore, do something different and also make the most of the very good weather you’ll enjoy in destinations like Egypt and Gran Canaria. The family will love it and as they swim around, they’ll already be thinking about their next snorkelling trip.

    Images by timparkinson, Dan Zen and Jennifurr-Jinx, used under Creative Commons licence

Author: Carol Oconnor

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