Snorkeling entails gliding or swimming at the surface of the water while wearing a clear mask, fins and a breathing tube that lets you partly submerge your face while still drawing in and expelling air through your mouth. When you snorkel, you can observe the marine life on a reef, look for shells or schools of fish, or check out a shallow wreck or the sea bottom without the complications of completely submerged scuba diving. A snorkeler can spend long periods looking at the underwater scenery without major exertion -- all that is required to keep moving or to hover in place is easy kicking with swim fins.
Using the Gear
Get a mask that fits snugly around your face, with adjustable straps and a ring for the snorkel tube. Most people attach the snorkel on the left side. Once the mask is in place, bite down on the tabs on the snorkel mouthpiece and close your lips around the mouthpiece so no water enters your mouth. Lower your face to just under the water's surface, and breathe evenly in and out through your mouth, testing to see that the mask and snorkel are comfortable and don't leak. If there is any water in the snorkel tube, expel it with a sharp blast of air. When you swim with a mask and snorkel, it can be helpful to wear a light buoyancy vest to help you to glide evenly just at the water's surface.
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