Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Important snorkeling tips

Snorkeling is one of the most favorite activities on a Caribbean sailing vacation, so please read this carefully!
Important snorkeling tips:

Get yourself prepared before you go snorkeling – put sunscreen on your back and the back of your legs. At the first days of your trip you maybe want to wear a t-shirt, to protect you from the sun. Do not put sunscreen in your face or on your feet, it will burn in your eyes and will deteriorate your mask and your fins. Before trying on your fins, wet them and your feet to make it easier. Do not snorkel without fins. You never know if you will get caught in a current. You have no chance to get back to your boat against a current without fins. You want to wear a snorkeling vest. If you only inflate this vest in case of an emergency it will not bother you during your snorkel trip, but it makes you more visible to other watercrafts and you can inflate it easily if you have a problem with you mask or fins. Test your mask for leaks and the fit of your fins close to your yacht, so you can make necessary adjustments before you head out. Do not snorkel alone. Always have a buddy on your side. Take your time and do not rush through the reef. Most of the fishes are shy and hide first if you approach a coral head. If you hover for a minute on top of this coral head you will see them reappear. A reef is like a painting- the longer you look at it the more details you will explore. If you have an underwater camera, take it with you all the time. You never know when you make your picture perfect encounter with you favorite fish or turtle. Disposable cameras without flash only take satisfying pictures in good light conditions and if you are close to the object.
Coral reefs – millenniums to grow, seconds to destroy.
The coral reefs are precious and delicate. Their future depends on you.
Please take care not to inflict further damage.
Touch nothing – The slightest touch with hands, fins or equipment can irreparably damage coral polyps, the tiny animals that build the coral reefs. Remember most coral reefs grow only half an inch per year.
Remain horizontal in the water and snorkel in water over your depth. Snorkeling on shallow reefs can easily inflict damage to the coral and cause personal injury. In a vertical position your flapping fins are killers. They break coral and stir up sediment that can smother the coral polyps. For equipment adjustment swim out and away from the coral into deep water.
Look, enjoy and leave – take nothing dead or alive from the reef
Feeding the fish – Caution, you may be injured. Feeding can make fish aggressive and
dangerous. It also upsets species distribution and may introduce disease.
Photographers – Don’t brace yourself on the coral to take a photo.

Think, care and enjoy – Help the reef give continuing enjoyment


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