Confession: I’m crazy about snorkeling. Whenever I’m in a place known for its underwater beauty, I find a way to strap on some fins and swim down. In my youth, I was a reluctant snorkeler. I wasn’t fond of water getting into my nose or my mask fogging up beyond usefulness. Yet, over the years, either the equipment got a lot better or I figured out how to make it work for me, as now you can't stop me from snorkeling at every opportunity.
Five thousand years ago, in 3000 B.C., sponge divers off the coast of Crete perfected the technique of breathing through reeds to stay down longer and gather more sponges. Hiding underwater from danger using a reed to breathe isn’t just a TV or movie trope. Revolutionary War hero Captain Samuel Brady used this technique to escape his pursuers in 1780 in a location now called Brady’s Lake, Ohio. (See, snorkeling can make you famous!)
The overwhelming desire to breathe underwater resulted in many inventions over time such as Alexander the Great’s diving bell that went on to inform scuba diving. Yet as scuba equipment evolved, so too did the equipment used for snorkeling. Today’s comfortable and effective masks and fins make the wonders of snorkeling available to just about everybody. If you can see and float in water, you can snorkel.
The most astonishing snorkeling experience I ever had was in Indonesia where I traveled on the 30-passenger yacht, Aqua Blu on her inaugural voyage through the Indonesian archipelago. We saw extraordinary sights on this trip like Komodo dragons and miraculous waterfalls, yet my favorite part of the trip was the mind-blowing snorkeling.
My very first day in fins, we were brought to one of the most jaw-dropping, technicolor coral reefs I had ever seen. It was literally beyond my imagination as I had never known anything could be so beautiful! Neon bright fish covered in geometric patterns swam calmly through crazy underwater coral trees in more color variations than I could ever count! Huge schools of tiny silver fish moved as I moved. Manta rays floated by. A moray eel poked its head out of a crevice. The fish and marine animals were definitely out of this world, yet what I just couldn’t believe were the colors-colors-colors (!) of the corals. Red, pink, lavender, bright orange, rust, brown, neon yellow, puce green, grape purple, whitest white–it was simply an outrageous experience.
I’ve snorkeled in many other stunning places as well. Some of my favorites were Belize, Mexico, and yes, even the Galapagos Islands! The water in the Galapagos can be chilly and even a bit cloudy, yet when I strapped on my mask and snorkeled right off an island beach, I was amazed by the bright coral colors and the smiling parrot fish even there. I saw a blue and yellow, square-bodied fish I’ll never forget, which I later learned was called a white-spotted boxfish. It looked like the French artist, Matisse had painted a jewelry box and tossed it in the water! Wolf and Darwin are two famous Galapagos Islands known for extraordinary scuba diving, yet even we snorkelers can have a fantastic time making underwater discoveries in the Galapagos.
Being willing to snorkel means you’re in for even more over-the-top adventures like swimming with whale sharks, the largest known fish species reaching up to 10 meters or 33 feet! I did this in Indonesia on this Aqua Blu trip and it was unforgettable. You can do this in Mexico on this trip too. (I won’t say I wasn’t a little bit scared to see this massive fish coming at me, yet my guides assured me they don’t eat humans.) How about swimming with dolphins in Hawaii? Snorkel and mask mean you can see them better and fins help you keep up with them! Playing with sea lions and sea turtles in the Galapagos is great fun for all ages. I’ve done all these things and these encounters with beautiful wild creatures have uplifted and inspired me.
In case I’ve convinced you that you really do need to start traveling the world and snorkeling (like I do), I invite you to contact us at Wild Nectar so we can steer you toward some outstanding snorkeling locations. The 30-passenger Aqua Blu offers three Indonesia itineraries: Komodo National Park, the Spice Islands, and especially Raja Ampat, one of the world’s most breathtaking scuba locations also great for snorkeling. Every single trip to the Galapagos Islands will offer great snorkeling. We think exploring the Hawaiian Islands via the 36-passenger yacht, Safari Explorer is a non-touristy way to go there and snorkeling is definitely on offer.
There are so many extraordinary trips that offer snorkeling. Get in touch and we at Wild Nectar will help you plan your own unforgettable experiences.