Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay
A slice of paradise in Akumal, Mexico


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Put your face in the water!

Snorkeling is the most fun and exciting thing you can do for free along the Yucatan coast.
You will need a little equipment, some transportation (maybe only your feet!), and the desire to get wet and be amazed!
It is usually best to buy equipment at home so you can try it out and get a good fit, but if you are not planning to purchase equipment, you can easily rent it in Mexico.
We put some money into very good snorkel equipment almost 30 years ago and it is still going strong! (Except the snorkel!) A mask that is tight fitting and comfortable on your face is a must. Fins that will stay on your feet and are a little flexible are best, with either an open back so you can wear snorkel booties, or full fitted to your size foot, which I recommend. The snorkel should be flexible and have an attachment to your mask strap.
Many people like a “dry” snorkel, which allows you to breathe but keeps water out (mostly!). I like a regular snorkel that I can easily clear by blowing hard through the mouthpiece. A snorkel vest, either inflatable or neoprene is important for swimmers who are less comfortable in open water.
I have taught many people to snorkel, and they all agree that it is easily learned in less than an hour. It is a wonderful sensation to put your face in the water and see clearly while breathing! Go slow and look around you, use your fins in very small movements, and do not splash around with your arms. You will find that with very little effort you can glide amongst the fish. Try it out and you will be thrilled in an area like the Yucatan Coast.
The coastline offers many opportunities for snorkelers. From freshwater caves called cenotes where your view is beautiful underwater stalagmites, to offshore reefs reached by boat, you will have many choices. Along the shoreline, inlets and lagoons mix the freshwater underground streams with the sea and sealife takes shelter for your viewing pleasure. Some bays along the coast have reef protecting the mouth and offer fabulous snorkeling a short swim from shore, whereas in other spots the reef is a mile or more away from the beach and must be reached by boat.
Some great opportunities exist to snorkel amongst sea turtles, the gentle giant whalesharks, dolphins and more. Other creatures you are sure to see are hundreds of species of the most colorful fish ever seen, rays of all size and pattern, spiny lobsters,
octopus, crabs, eels, and sea urchins, star fish, and too many more to mention!
Some of these underwater areas are marine protected areas, but most are not. Be a good snorkeler and NEVER stand on any coral or reef! The coral is a living creature and your abuse will kill it. Never touch the coral, or any of the sea creatures you encounter, and never remove anything from the sea. Only snorkel on calm days and watch for currents. Always be familiar with the area you plan to snorkel. You can get information from local dive shops, locals and several books, internet sources and veteran snorkelers. Always snorkel with a buddy for safety
Snorkeling is a great, inexpensive hobby that any age can enjoy and the Yucatan coast offers some of the best snorkeling anywhere. Don’t miss it!

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