Want a Relaxing Vacation? Try Snorkeling
People go on vacation to relax and get away from it all. I found the best way to do that is to go snorkeling. Even on vacation you are still exposed to the noise, hustle and bustle of the people around you. When you snorkel it takes you to another world. One of peace and tranquility. Once your head is in the water you cut out the noise of the outside world.
I find there are parallels between snorkeling and meditation. The water provides your quiet place and using snorkeling equipment forces you to focus on your breathing. Another technique of meditation is picturing a beautiful or serene place. There are very few places on earth more beautiful or serene then seeing underwater sea life.
All Photos by: Whatsittoyou
How My Love For Snorkeling Started
My love of the water started at an early age. My parents signed me up for swimming lessons at the local swimming pool when I was 5 years old. They wanted to make sure my sister and I would be safe when we went camping. As when we were camping there was usually a lake or at least a pool nearby.
Swimming lessons provided me with the tools to survive and be able to feel confident swimming, but you rarely got to swim underwater. Camping as a child was when I fell in love with swimming underwater. One of our favorite past times was competitions for who could swim the farthest underwater before having to come up for air. The other was wearing a mask and diving down to retrieve objects from the bottom of the pool.
Perhaps those fond memories and the carefree nature of childhood are what heightens my love of snorkeling. I had never really been snorkeling until I took a vacation to Curacao. The hotel I stayed at provided free rental of the equipment. I saw someone just offshore who looked experienced and asked for advice. He gave me some tips and explained the techniques, and I became hooked.
They have snorkeling tours available at many vacation destinations. I highly advise if you haven't snorkeled before do what I did. Before you go on the tour practice at the beach first. Start close to shore to get used to the snorkeling equipment and techniques. Once you are comfortable go further from shore, so you'll know you will feel comfortable in deep water. The snorkeling tours usually cost money, so you want to spend your time exploring, not scared or still learning.
Be sure to bring an underwater camera along. You will want to take pictures as you will never be able to verbally express the beauty that you see underwater. Plus you can look your pictures to try to bring you back to that feeling of tranquility.
While these cameras are waterproof, they are just as good on dry land. So even after your vacation you could use these for your day to day living as well.
When I was going to go back I knew I wanted an underwater camera. The Tough camera series has the best reviews, but they are fairly expensive.
Snorkeling At The Beach
Depending where you travel to you may never even need to leave the hotel beach to see amazing underwater life. When I stayed at the Breezes hotel in Curacao I went snorkeling everyday at the beach in front of the Flamingo wing.
I could see a wide variety of fish and coral, just snorkeling there. There was a nice shallow start at the shore, it would get very deep further out. The place to see the most reef creatures was out by the rocks of the breaker wall.Click on this sentence if you want to learn more about Curacao
Sharing the Experience
Sharing a snorkeling experience can have its advantages. First and foremost it is safer to have someone swimming with you, as they could reach you faster if you get into trouble. They are also there to point out things you may have missed otherwise. It is an incredible feeling to share seeing something so beautiful that you are left in awe.
Snorkeling can also bring families together. On vacation I was able to introduce my niece to my love of snorkeling. She can swim but is perhaps not the best swimmer. However where we were you could still get an amazing underwater view not too far from shore. She was a little hesitant the first time, but after that every day she was asking me to go snorkeling with her again.
How to Snorkel - In case you have never been before here are some tips.
SCUBA diving is exciting, but there are age and health restrictions. You need to be certified and the equipment is expensive. If you take in water when breathing while SCUBA diving it is much harder to recover and potentially deadly. SCUBA diving is cool, but I did not find it relaxing. I was too concerned about what if something goes wrong.
That is one of the beautiful parts of snorkeling, there are no age limits and you do not need to be certified. If you take in water while breathing it can be a problem, but it is much easier to recover. All of these things make sharing snorkeling adventures much easier then sharing SCUBA diving. The equipment is not very expensive and it is easy to take with you on vacation. When I went back to Curacao I brought my own equipment. That way, I wouldn't have to worry about the time limit they set, or germs, on the equipment they rent to you.
This is the set I bought. It works great. The mask doesn't leak. I found the snorkel and mask are both comfortable. It comes with a bag so it makes it easy to carry the equipment to the beach.
Inner Peace Through Snorkeling
I found snorkeling alone the most peaceful. You could focus completely on yourself and the underwater world around you. This was when snorkeling becomes like meditation to me. I can block out the outside world and become one with nature. The calming feeling of gently floating in the water and seeing the true beauty in the world. If only we could all find that kind of peace and serenity whenever we wanted.
I want to clarify, when I say snorkel alone, I mean not going with the people you are traveling with. You should always make sure there are other people in the area when you are snorkeling by yourself. I recommend you also have someone you traveled with watch you from shore or boat, in case you get in trouble.
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