Winter is slowly drawing to a close and summer is nearly upon us. This inevitably brings longer days as well as warmer waters into our bay. For those of you who are contemplating or have wanted to try skin diving (snorkeling), or just exploring shallow rock pools I can highly recommend it.
If you have a look at our swimming movie ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7oT_L-pJOI) you will see a small selection of the vast amounts of life our diverse coastline has to offer. It is made up out of a select few of our clips filmed while snorkeling.
It is a well known fact that we know more about the surface of the moon than we know about the bottom of our own oceans. I truly believe it is one of our last of the great frontiers.
I find that a lot of people are keen to head out to see what I call the “:Big Guys” (Dolphins, Whales, Seals etc), but are potentially missing out on a huge dimension of what our coastline has to offer, the small details that are so easily overlooked and missed. The crucial pieces in the puzzle. There is a whole new world with many layers and exciting drama’s taking place in the shallows, more often than not right under our noses.
From the smallest of marine snails that tend and cultivate their own little private gardens to the veracious appetite’s and tactics of the preditor whelks. One can easily spend hours in waist deep water to obtain a better understanding of the going’s on.
You my find in time that you have a favourite spot that you are drawn to re visit or you may choose to try uncharted areas. I myself have hiked many a mile over rocks and through countless bushes not to mention vast stretches of coastline, constantly debating my wisdom in this choice to find new waters to explore. One thing I can say is that whatever option I have chosen, it has always been a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience. No two dives are ever the same.
I am by no means a professionally trained free diver, like everyone else, I had to start somewhere. With care and time I truly believe it is possible for most people to become proficient in snorkeling, even in some cases it seems to be second nature.
Like Pandora’s box, the more you observe different species, along with their individual behaivour’s, the more you are able to tie it into a complete eco-system. In turn becoming an exciting/rewarding experience, eventually revealing an interwoven tapestry, that will have you never looking at the sea in the same way again.
If sea snails are not to your liking there is a vast multitude of a truly wonderful life to explore in our kelp forests. This is accessible to us all with minimal financial investment using the most basic of equipment.
A mask, snorkel and fins will see you well on your way. If properly looked after you should have many years of pleasure, as well as a better understanding of our oceans.
The more comfortable and adventurous you become, the more underwater treasures await. New species previously not known to science is being discovered in our area.
Before we can protect and conserve our oceans, we all need to have a better understanding of our environment. Truly meaningful long lasting change can only be derived through education in its most basic form. How can we possibly try to conserve and protect something we have so little understanding of?
It is up to each individual to effect real change.
If you are looking for something new or merely want to get some low-impact exercise, for young or old, I highly recommend you give this underrated activity a try.
Who knows what you may discover.