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Snorkeling training?

Chicago, Illinois
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Snorkeling training?

Hubby and I are taking our first trip to Maui in March. I'm not a great swimmer, but have done open-water triathlon swims twice (in lakes, about 9 years ago) and swim laps at a local pool once or twice a week. I've snorkeled off boats and a little ways off shore in Jamaica and Cozumel in the past few years.

I'd really like to improve my swimming so that I can enjoy snorkeling more and feel more comfortable being in deep water when snorkeling off the beach. I'll probably be pretty much on my own as hubby doesn't swim or snorkel (he has a deep fear of water).

I'm wondering if any of you snorkel experts could suggest ways to train over the next 6 months so I can get stronger. I don't live near the coast, so ocean swims aren't an option. Also, I'd love some advice on how to know when it's time to head to shore and how to judge ocean conditions to know if it's safe to go out.

We'll be staying at Napili Point, if that helps at all, and I'd love to snorkel there and at Kapalua and anywhere else you all recommend.

Thanks!

La Costa, California
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1. Re: Snorkeling training?

Oh you will love the area as I think you know I just got back :)

Well we've discussed this from time to time. One thing is I believe snorkeling is easier than regular swimming because you have fins, and a snorkel, so you can get around easily, and you can float on your stomach, breathing through your snorkel.

So I think as far as the basic, it's just getting comfortable floating with your face in the water :)

As for conditions. First - look closely, are there waves or chop? If in doubt, I look for someone else who has been out and ask what it was like.

Be aware that frequently the prevailing current is out, so you usually have a more tiring swim back. Stop every once in a while and look back and get used to how far you can swim. And if you get tired out on the way back, don't panic - remember you can rest with your face in the water just breathe through your snorkel.

If you ever run into a rip current, don't try to fight against it, glance off it sideways till you get past it, then turn for shore.

Bays like Kapalua, and Napili, which are near where you will be staying are protected by the cove, I've found the currents are usually calm within the bay.

Dave

Minnesota
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2. Re: Snorkeling training?

I agree...snorkeling is so much easier than swimming! For one, so much easier in the ocean where you float...very easy. As Dave says...those fins make moving so easy. Remember the goal of snorkeling is floating not swimming. If you are swimming you are passing things much too quickly. I never use my arms..just kicks here and there. All the advice Dave gave about watching where you are..perfect. Sometimes you may have to kick a bit harder to get back, but resting is easy. Start in those coves and you will do great.

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: Snorkeling training?

My wife has a similar concern, so in anticipation of our trip next week we today bought her a mask and dry snorkel with the advice and help of a local dive shop. Truth is though, she's a better swimmer than I, who haven't done much swimming since I was a Boy Scout 45 - 50 years ago. And if you're swimming laps once or twice a week, and have done open water triathlon swims, you're a much better swimmer than she, and I'd bet most of those like us, who have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the water after hours of snorkeling. ;-) As Dave suggests, perhaps the most helpful thing for you would be to learn something about how to read currents. But I don't think you have to worry about your swimming ability.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Snorkeling training?

Thanks everyone! Dave, great advice on asking someone else what it's like out there before going in. We chose Napili because I was hoping with calm waters even my DH would at least wade in to his chest and be able to see some sea life. I think I will trade out my goggles for my snorkel mask and get used to swimming in it.

My biggest fear is getting carried out on a current and ending up in Lanai. OK, second biggest fear after being eaten by a shark while getting carried out on a current toward Lanai!

Oceanside...
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5. Re: Snorkeling training?

You will be fine NKS. Just test your gear first. Always wear fins. The problem you might have is to slow down, float and enjoy. The other problem might be a sunburn on the back. To help save the coral wear a SPF rashguard shirt. The current sunscreens tend to kill the coral in popular areas.

Have a great time.

Aloha gmc

Edited: 10 September 2013, 08:10
St. Paul, MN
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6. Re: Snorkeling training?

I've done plenty of snorkeling in Hawaii and never had to swim very hard. I usually don't even bother with fins. Water is usually calmer in the morning before the sun heats up the land and the thermals cause the wind to pick up. If you rent equipment, the rental shop can tell you the best places to snorkel. Since you plan on going by yourself, only go places where you see other snorkelers. Here's one site with tips:

hawaiisnorkelingguide.com/snorkeling_hawaii.…

Edmonds, Washington
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7. Re: Snorkeling training?

""I'm not a great swimmer, but have done open-water triathlon swims twice (in lakes, about 9 years ago) and swim laps at a local pool once or twice a week.""

You sound far ahead of most people.

And you don't have to use fins, but if you want an easier time - use fins. Plus if you decide you'd like to dive down and check something out closer, fins become very helpful, getting down and back up quickly.

T S
Iowa
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8. Re: Snorkeling training?

Grandpart and Patrick, we discussed the dangers of snorkeling without fins several weeks ago when the unfortunate gentleman died on the north end if Ka'anapali. He did NOT wear fins.

I think if you want to take the chance yourself not to wear fins, that is your choice, but recommending it to someone who is looking for reassurance on safety - well, I don't think that is a fair thing to do. Fins will make it so much easier to get yourself out of any little trouble with currents, and they help you propelled yourself gently while snorkeling without stirring up the water.

Please do wear find when you snorkel.

Aloha

Teri

Minnesota
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9. Re: Snorkeling training?

Agreed Teri. Safety experts continually say to wear fins when snorkeling. You can't always tell when you are going to get into trouble and they are a big part of safety.

Edmonds, Washington
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10. Re: Snorkeling training?

Teri, you might want to re-read my post before giving me a safety lecture..

""but if you want an easier time - use fins""

I was trying to politely to disagree with Grand and give reasons why fins help ;)

I've snorkeled hundreds of times and never been without fins. Not to be safe. Just to make it easier.

BTW, I saw the S&R helicopter the night the guy went missing at Ka'anapali. Posted it here.

Edited: 10 September 2013, 13:47