Snorkeling is an excellent way for people of all ages to explore the underwater world with minimal training and skills but to truly enjoy it you must know the Snorkeling basics.
Our professional and friendly guides will provide you with a thorough briefing before any of our trips covering basic snorkeling information such as mask fit, how to prepare a mask to prevent it from fogging, how to breathe underwater comfortably, how to clear a mask and snorkel of water, and how to swim with fins and stay afloat without exerting yourself.
Our guided snorkeling trips take you to the most interesting sites, with your guide accompanying you inwater to ensure you are safe and supervised at all times, pointing out features that you might otherwise miss and welcoming you to Phi Phi’s colorful ecosystem and marine life without having to come up for air every minute. Just float and being immerse yourself within the underwater scenery!
What Are The Snorkeling Basics?
We understand that good equipment makes a real difference to your snorkeling experience, and The Adventure Club team will ensure that you get the very best by teaching you the Snorkeling basics.
Mask Fit and Positioning
Some masks have plastic skirts, but 100% silicone is far better and more comfortable so is all that The Adventure Club stock. The main thing is to get one of good quality and that fits your face.
To test the fit our staff will get you to place the mask to your face (without using the strap) press slightly, inhale a small amount through your nose to suction it to your face, and release your hands. The mask should stay on your face without continuing to inhale. If air leaks in, water will to. If the mask seals perfectly and stays in place without holding it, you got it!
When putting on the mask strap, only tighten it enough to keep the mask from shifting on your face when you turn your head. The majority of the seal should come from the skirt of the mask, not the strap – the water will apply enough pressure to seal the mask into place so don’t wear it too tightly. A leaky mask is more often a case of straps too tight than too loose. The strap should sit high on the back of your head. If you wear it just at the base of your head, water will seep in, so you are going for a snug fit at the widest area of your head towards the top.
With the mask fully on it is also worth making sure that you can easily pinch your nose so that you can clear your ears if you wish to dive underwater. You also don’t want the mask to squish your nose, or to press or apply too much pressure to forehead above your nose.
If you have bad eyesight, The Adventure Club can supply a prescription-adjusted mask for short-sighted guests to help you see underwater without your glasses or using contact lenses.
You want fins that fit snuggly but are not too tight. If they hurt or curl your toes even a tiny bit you are likely to experience cramp. It’s always better if your fins are slightly bigger than too small. You will try on a pair of fins and then stand on tiptoe (like a ballerina) – your heel should stay in the foot pocket of the fin.
Wetsuit / Floatation Device
We also provide you with a shortie westuit for added buoyancy and protection making floating in salt-water ridiculously easy, even effortless. The high salt content means that your body will float much higher than in fresh-water, and you will not have to try to stay afloat. We are also happy to provide floatation devices such as life vests to float comfortably on the surface if you wish.
Know The Snorkeling Basics And Now Ready To Get In The Water?
There are a few last minute checks before you leave the boat. If your hair is caught under the skirt of the mask, it will not make a good seal with your face and your mask will leak. Before putting on your mask, wet your hair and slick it back out of your face. Now put your mask on and run your finger around the edge of the skirt to make sure no hair is caught under it.
There’s no point in going in the water if you don’t really see anything. Masks have a tendency to fog up due to the temperature change between the surface air and the water. To help prevent this you spit into the mask and then rinse briefly before putting the mask on. Once you are int he water try to avoid taking your mask on and off since every time you pull your mask away from your face, moist, humid air enters your mask and condenses against the colder lens surface inside fogging it up. For the same reasons try to avoid exhaling excessively through your nose.
Practice breathing through your snorkel with your head outside the water before dipping in. Don’t bite the tube, just rest your teeth on it and seal your lips around the mouthpiece, or your jaw will get really sore really fast.
Take slow, regular breaths in and out through the snorkel. There is no need to panic: you can always lift your head above water if you want. Just relax and become aware of your breaths. The sound of your breathing through the snorkel tube should become quite noticeable. Once you get into a rhythm, relax and enjoy the underwater scenery.
Clearing the Snorkel
It is possible that you will get some water in your tube at some point, either due to conditions or excessive splashing, or by letting your head dip too low in the water. You can clear this pretty easily without removing it from your mouth. Just blow out forcefully, and the water will shoot out the top, and or out the purge valve in the bottom. Our snorkels all have a splash guard to help minimise water entry through the top.
Fins make it much easier to swim providing a tremendous amount of swimming force and saving you a ton of energy. Fins will amplify your movements and let you move forward quickly without a lot of disruptive splashing. Keep your fins below the water when kicking. Keep your fin stroke movements slow, smooth and relaxed. Try to move from the hip using the entire legs and avoid kicking with your knees, as this will only waste your energy. Swim at a steady comfortable pace to conserve your energy – snorkeling is not a race!
Avoid using your hands to help propel you through the water as doing so will actually slow you down by creating more resistance. Instead let your fins do their job and hold your arms at your sides, in the small of your back or straight out in front of you to reduce drag.
Resting / Taking a Breather>
If you want to rest inwater, take a break from being face-down, talk to your guide or buddy, or adjust your face mask you can lay on your back – it’s super easy to relax on your back in salt-water, is a great skill to learn, and it saves the reefs.
Be aware of your fins, you are longer than normal with them on and want to avoid kicking something.
Many people stand on coral when they get tired or want a break from swimming. It feels natural to them to try to stand up to relax and talk together, or to take off their mask. Do not do this!
Which trip is right for me?
Our experienced guides will ensure that you have a great trip whatever your experience level, but there are differences between the trips that are worth considering.
For the first-time snorkeler or less confident swimmer the very best trip option for you would be the Phi Phi Ley trip, which departs twice a day (morning and afternoon). The Sunset Plankton Trip is also a good option – but you should be aware there will be a brief snorkeling session after sunset as it starts to get dark (We promise you it’s worth it though – the plankton lights up like thousands of tiny stars!). Our Wang Long trip is also suitable although there will be a few caves/caverns you have the choice to enter or not.
The Shark Watch trip is not recommended for guests who are inexperienced in the water. The sharks tend to aggregate at the tip of the island, at a site that can be effected by strong currents. You need to feel confident in these conditions to get the most out of this experience and to increase your likelihood of seeing the sharks. Try one of the other trips first and your guide will advise you whether they think you’d enjoy the Shark Watch trip.
Now you know the Snorkeling basics, we look forward to Snorkeling with you soon!