The crystal blue waters of Bali make for some of the best snorkeling spots in the world but if this is your first time floating out in the open ocean it can be quite a scary experience. I’m no expert but after spending some time snorkeling off the island of Mauritius, diving into marine parks in The Seychelles and swimming to deserted islands in Bali, I’ve managed to pick up a few survival tips that I wish another wanderluster had shared with me before I so ungracefully hopped into those waters!
Take care of yourself first
Before you can even think about diving into the ocean you need to ensure you are healthy and in the right frame of mind. Ensure you are well rested, hydrated and wearing a good amount of sun block, especially if you are going to be spending hours in the sun.
Practice with your gear
This might sound silly but there’s nothing wrong with donning on your snorkel gear and diving straight into the hotel pool. Get familiar with your gear and learn how to use it properly before heading out into the ocean.
Always go with someone more qualified than you
I can’t stress this enough. The ocean is alive and it’s a dangerous place. Always go with someone who knows what they are doing. Snorkeling in The Seychelles was one of the most scariest (but also the most exhilarating!) experiences of my life because we chose to go with three younger girls instead of a dive instructor. Before we knew it, the tide had changed, we were swimming in the wrong direction, a sting ray was spotted and someone was almost pushed into a sea urchin. What started out as fun changed to absolute danger in a matter of minutes. Having a dive instructor around will not only make you feel safe but will also ensure that there is someone around to help should something go wrong.
Be wary of the open ocean
Look around you and be mindful of what you see. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the corals in front of you or the shoal of fish swimming past but ensure you take the time to look around you every once in a while. Know where you are in location to your boat and dive instructor.
Remember the signals
If you’re going with a dive instructor (and even if you’re not) always ensure that you have easy to read signals that can be interpreted underwater by everyone around you. Simple signals for STOP, OKAY, SOMETHING IS WRONG, OUT OF AIR and DANGER are essential.
Feel the currents
Nothing can be scarier than realizing after five minutes of snorkeling that you have drifted far away from the boat. Stick to calm waters and be mindful of the current and waves when snorkeling. If you notice yourself drifting away your point of reference and you start to feel uneasy, swim back immediately.
Know your limits
Don’t push yourself further than you need too. Listen to your body and know how far you can swim. If you start to feel tired then head back.
Remember the ocean is alive
The ocean is one of the biggest and most beautiful hidden secrets of this world. There is so much that has not been discovered (think of all that pirates treasure!) but this also means that there is so much that can be dangerous to wanderlusters like us. Listen to your instructor at all times. While it may seem fun to do something out of the ordinary, it’s best to follow the rules and stay within designated areas.
Are you a snorkeling fundi?! What are your tips for first timers?