Many peoples first experience of snorkelling is when they are on holiday. They are wandering past a beach front store at the resort and among the Tee shirts and souvenirs. Your parents are looking at boring stuff and trying to keep you away from the rude postcards.
There is a snorkel toy set with a mask and snorkel.
It looks fun and the picture on the pack is all friendly Finding Nemo fishes in bright colours. For so good and for a few Euro it could be yours. The pester power kicks in, either you part with your hard-earned pocket money or it’s bought for you as a treat – but don’t ask for anything else!
Actually, it’s quite a few Euro, but, well; we’re on holiday, so why not?
And so, the adventure begins! Costumed up, mask at the ready and snorkel attached we’re ready to go.
The mask is quite heavy and feels a little uncomfortable but its new to you so it will feel a bit strange. It drags on your face with the weight of the snorkel, it also leaks so you tighten the straps but if anything, it gets worse.
The snorkel pulls on your mouth a bit but that’s only to be expected, it takes quite a blow to clear it and it doesn’t always clear completely. When you breath in to get salt water in your mouth.
You dip under the surface a few times, blow through the snorkel when you surface, it’s a bit of a gasp and you get salt water at the back of your throat and have a good old cough and choke.
If you’re out of your depth panic sets in a little, so you get back to where you feel safe, where there are fewer fish, but you can put your feet down.
The mask is still leaking, and you get salt water in your eyes, and it also keeps misting up.
After a while the novelty wears off and the fun stops by day three of the holiday it gets carried to the beach but never used and by the end of the holiday it’s put in your case and left on the top shelf of the cupboard at home.
That’s it you’ve tried it and it’s not for you, other people seem to get really into it and see loads of stuff, but well that’s them isn’t it.
So, what went wrong?
Firstly, the kit in the souvenir shop was a poor product. Quite often it has been baked in the sun for a few seasons and will be affected by UV light making it brittle and hard so it will not last long. The mask was made of pvc not silicone which is lighter, softer and more comfortable.
The softness is important because it increases the seal on your face without scratching, its more comfortable and will leak less. A silicone mask will not suffer from UV degradation. With masks one size does not fit all, we have different face sizes and shapes, the correct fit is therefore very important.
Secondly, the snorkel was just a plastic tube. A good snorkel is actually quite sophisticated with a purge valve meaning that it clears easily. It also has a flexible area again made of soft silicone which helps the snorkel fit the mouth better and not drag on your mask and it has a float mechanism at the top so that it seals as you dip beneath the surface or when you go through waves keeping the inside dry.
This makes for a much more comfortable experience, less leakage and an easier breath.
Masks will mist up, but if you buy from the right place, they will show you how to avoid this and how to clear it if it does. They will also make sure that the mask is the right size and shape for your face, again making it more comfortable and reducing any leakage.
There is another very important consideration. Often the glass in masks not sold in this country is not toughened safety glass this could lead to a serious eye injury should the standard glass get broken while it is being worn.
At Beyond One Bar we only stock snorkel kits that are CE marked and the silicone is approved by the FDA. We will make sure that the mask fits and that you know how to attach the snorkel. We will show you how to clear your mask and we also have mask clear drops that will help stop the mask misting up. We even have full face masks with a snorkel built in, designed so the air circulates in such a way that the mask will not mist up.
The price will probably be the same as the tourist trap souvenir shop and we look after our products before we sell them.
The kit will last you for years, you’ll see lots more sea life, and become one of those people what are happy to snorkel and see amazing life underwater. You can even book in for a snorkelling session with one of our Instructors, where you can learn to use your new snorkelling gear to it’s full potential.