So, snorkeling. On the plus side, it’s reasonably straightforward — you put your face a little bit in the water, and the tube carries air from above your head directly to you. Simple, no real likelihood of anything bad happening. I still found it challenging, though, for a couple reasons.
One, I was really scared for a moment when coming down the stairs to enter the water. I think this actually could have been assuaged if I’d known more about snorkeling in advance — I was afraid that I didn’t know how to swim well enough to do it, but really, you’re not actually swimming here. You just float — you might kick a little, to get closer to some interesting fish, but you don’t even have to do that, as the tour boat puts you right in the midst of them. If you are reasonably comfortable hanging out in a pool, you can do this. You don’t need to be very physically fit, either; I was worried, one month post-surgery, that I was too out of condition for it, but I was okay for a half hour of snorkeling.
I pushed through the fear and went in, obviously — in general, I trust that with this sort of thing, that’s so highly organized, I’m actually tremendously safe in the hands of the guide, so I don’t usually let the fear stop me — but it would’ve been nice to skip that moment of fear. Interestingly, I found floating way easier here than in a pool; I don’t know why. In pools, I tend to sink over time unless I kick periodically; here, I didn’t.
Getting in, I was also cold — I was cold beforehand too, actually. The day was overcast and rainy and none of us were really prepared for how cold it was, I think. It was actually a little better in the water, esp. with the rented wetsuit, but I think the cold took a toll on me, making me tired and less able to cope with small difficulties. (My thyroid doesn’t work right, so I get cold and stay cold where people with healthy thyroids wouldn’t.) They told us how to get water out of the mask, and it sort of worked, but I also got a little water up my nose, swallowed a bit, etc. Lots of small frustrations that mad it less smooth of an experience than would have been ideal.
I would try snorkeling again, I think, on a warmer day. I also wish I hadn’t had a drink beforehand — these tours apparently expect you to drink heavily, because they give you three drink tickets to start and then you can buy more. I had a glass of (very sweet) champagne not long before snorkeling, and I think that was a mistake; I thought it might relax me, but it just made me feel more unsteady walking around the boat, climbing down, etc.; it added to my feeling of incompetence, which made it all more stressful.
But all that said, the moment when you put your face in the water and realize that you are literally surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of beautiful, colorful fishies? That moment was pretty amazing.
(Photos courtesy tour photographer. Snuba next.)