The 411 on Snorkeling with Four Winds II
You can hardly come to an island like Maui and not give snorkeling a try. There's a whole other incredible world, under the water teeming with colorful tropical fish, just waiting for you to explore! Even if you have never learned how to swim, never been in an ocean before, or even in the water (well hopefully besides the bathtub) you can still give this activity a try! From a newbie to the avid diver, the Four Winds II offers plenty of options for you to enjoy! Once you experience snorkeling, you will want to do it again and again and again. And snorkeling with the Four Winds II is a great place to begin!
Prior to opening “the pool” (in our case the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean) for snorkeling, one of our Crew Members will lead a Snorkeling 101 Class. Filled with helpful tips and a little humor. Our snorkeling expert will make sure that everyone feels comfortable with their snorkel gear and understands the basics. We even provide boogie boards and/or swim belts, so you don’t have to worry about your swimming skills and always feel safe and secure, should you want.
We also have an ocean lifeguard in the water with you at all times, so should you encounter any difficulties with either your equipment or snorkeling technique, they are always nearby ready to give you a hand help you adjust your mask or share a snorkeling pointer or two with you. They are also there to help point out the best spots for snorkeling too!
If you want to try Maui snorkeling before you take one of our tours aboard the Four Winds II, and even after, we suggest that you may consider purchasing snorkel gear. Maui is one of the best places to purchase gear, since it is one of the top activities on the island. In fact, a great place to purchase gear is actually Costco. They sell a high-quality snorkel set that is very reasonable. Plus they offer an unconditional return policy that many other shops don't. If you plan on snorkeling a lot, it is actually cheaper to buy the gear than renting it. Plus the gear you buy is typically higher-quality than what is rented for those low prices that you often see advertised. For both off-the-boat and off-the-shore snorkeling, snorkel equipment is very important. In fact, it will make or break your experience if you have faulty gear.
The Four Winds II provides quality snorkel equipment at no additional charge for your use. However, if you already have your own gear, you are welcome to bring it should you be more comfortable with what you have already used. Should you want to purchase gear before you go out with us, here are some helpful tips in selecting and using your gear:
- Hold the mask up to your face and suck in with your nose. If you feel the mask suction to your face without any air coming in, you’ve got a good fit.
- Make sure the straps are easily adjustable and all of the clips are secure.
- The bite tabs, on the snorkel, should fit comfortably in your mouth.
- The snorkel fins should fit comfortably. Too tight can cause cramps in your feet and legs, and too loose, well, they might fall off. If they have an opening at the end for your toes, it’s best if your toes just barely peak through. If they stick too far out it can cause blisters.
- Don’t wear your fins on the boat or on the beach. Not only will you look silly, but they are difficult to maneuver in. Put your snorkel fins on just before you are ready to step off the boat (or enter the water) and take them off at the boat ladder just before getting back on the boat (or before you get back on the beach).
So now you’ve got your gear and you're ready to go, right? Here are some pointers, just in case:
- Before you put on your snorkel mask, make sure you use de-fog on the inside surface of the lenses. Some people will say "spit on it" (ewwww!) We like to use a solution made up of baby shampoo and water. It works wonderfully and is quite sanitary too!
- Place the snorkel mask over your eyes and nose making sure that the mask strap is high up on the back of your head. The straps should go above your ears; you don’t want to crush the poor things! This should make the snorkel mask snug. You don’t want it so tight that is creates a red ring on your face!
- All of your hair should be cleared out of the sides and the top of your snorkel mask and if you have a mustache, (hopefully just the guys) you will need some Vaseline to wax it down so it doesn’t leak under your nose.
- The snorkel should fit comfortably to your mouth. Put your teeth on the bite tabs, lips over the mouth piece tab, and gently pucker up your lips around the tube like a straw. When you are breathing through a snorkel, you should treat it like a straw. In other words, don’t open the sides of your mouth when you suck in… you will be sucking in salt water and it doesn’t taste very good!
- Most snorkels have a purge valve. It’s a little valve on the top, bottom or both ends of the snorkel. This little valve allows water to go out and not in. If you do end up with a little water in your snorkel, just blow out hard while saying "TWO"! Saying this word, as you blow through the snorkel really works to clear out the water. If it doesn’t clear all the water out the first attempt, then either try it again or take the mouthpiece out of your mouth, dump it, and start over!
- Use the snorkel fins by kicking and an easy going scissor action. The flutter kick with the ankles will make you tired, the bicycle kick will actually make you go backwards, and the frog kick just looks ridiculous. Snorkeling should be an easy-going activity. By using your fins the right way, it will make your experience much more enjoyable.
- Flotation is always a good idea, in fact being a lazy snorkeler is a beautiful thing!
Other important reminders: Always keep your bearings! Whether you’re on a boat or snorkeling off the beach, make sure to always glance up every once awhile to assess where you are. This will help to ensure that you don't venture too far or lose sight of your starting point. Remember you have to swim back to where you started, so you want to reserve some energy for the return. Always snorkel with a partner and use the "buddy system"! It is never a good idea to brave the ocean alone! Lastly, keep your distance from marine life! Most animals have their unique defense mechanisms so it’s best to not touch anything. Plus this can also damage the very delicate eco-system of a reef.
For small children, and those who just don’t want to put their face in the water, we offer a fabulous option of “See Boards”. A “See Board” is an oversized boogie board that has a Plexiglas window that allows you to get out onto the water and never actually get your face wet. Looking through the Plexiglas window lets you see all the beautiful fish in the water below you without ever having to get your face in the water. Parents, that want to snorkel with their child who does not want to snorkel, can pull their little ones along the surface of the water while they snorkel. This way the whole family gets to share an amazing experience together.
Okay, so with all this said, we look forward to snorkeling with you soon and taking you to some of Maui's most amazing snorkeling destinations!