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akol
09-04-2007, 08:34
Hi,
I have just discovered snorkeling as a hobbie, and I'm looking to buy my own snorkeling gear for an upcoming trip to the Caribbean. Could anyone give some suggestions on what I should be looking for? For example, I heard that it's better to have a snorkel with a top that closes by itself when it goes under water... Anything else? Are there any 'brands' that are better? Thanks for your help!

JugglingMonkeys
09-04-2007, 10:19
It's called a "dry snorkel" - most people use them.

ST have a great one and cheap too:
http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Mojave

Foo2
09-05-2007, 12:45
There are a few different packages on ST for snorkeling. Good luck with your trip! Let us know how it went!

http://www.scubatoys.com/store/Snorkeling_Equipment.asp

Vercingetorix
09-05-2007, 15:21
Given that you are unfortunate enough not to live near Carrollton, Texas, be sure to buy your dive mask from a local dive shop. Try on several to ensure you find one that fits. To determine fit (please excuse me if I'm stating the obvious), place the mask on your face without the strap on your head. Inhale through your nose and tilt your head forward so that you are looking at the ground. If the mask stays in place, you've got a good fit.

You will choose between two styles: two-lenses and one large lens. The choice is a personal one.

You will see masks with and without purge valves under the nose. I recommend without the purge valve for a couple reasons. One, it's one less failure point. Two, as a snorkler, if you have a mask flood, you simply lift your face above the surface.

You may be tempted to get a mask from a store like Walmart. Resist the temptation. The masks at your LDS will be top quality. You may find used masks that the LDS used in their training program. I found an expensive Cresa mask for my wife in the used bargain bin at ST for $10.

Some masks are framed; others are frameless. As a snorkler, there is little difference. Many divers fold a frameless mask and store it in their BC as a spare.

Mask strap: Get one of these (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=RP22). First, it advertises our favorite LDS. We want them to stay in business. Second, the mask is easier to don/doff. Silicon straps will pull your hair. Now, if you happen to be bald, go for silicon. Every bald diver I've seen uses silicon straps because they grip. I could be wrong.

Snorkeling vest: an excellent piece of safety gear. If you get tired, inflate. If you're swimming on the surface and don't plan to dive down, inflate and cruise face-down.

Fins: for warm water, go with full-foot fins. I use the strap version of the Aeris Velocity (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Aeris_Velocity_Fins) for my diving. They are very powerful with little effort.

Jaymeany
09-05-2007, 15:28
I would make sure to spend a little extra and get a mask designed for diving. that way you don't have to buy a second mask if you get into scuba.....Just a wise word I was told when I went to buy snorkel gear for my Caribbean trip.

No Misses
09-05-2007, 16:05
Here is my 2 cents.
Dry snorkles are a PIA. I bought one for my first snorkle. They work. The drawback is the inherent bouyancy. It is just that much more bouyancy that you have to overcome if you want to dive below the surface. I traded out to a Tusa Hyperdry snorkle. The Tusa will fill with water when you submerge, but the top design does a good job at deflecting splashed water from entering while at the surface. It is very easy to blow the water out when you get back to the surface (like a whale). The next piece of equipment that I quickly replaced was the mask with a purge valve incorporated in the nose piece. I found that after a full day in the water, I had a sore spot on the underside of my nose, where the hard plastic purge was rubbing. On the other hand, my first fins are still my favorite. They are full foot Mares Avanti fins. Another item that comes in handy for me is a weight belt. I usually carry 4-6lbs of lead while diving in salt water. This makes it easier for me to get below the surface and hover there. Before diving with ballast you should figure out what works for you. If you plan to stay on the surface, no ballast should be worn.

Mask - find one that fits (no leaks) and will be comfortable all day.
Snorkel - basic is better than fancy. Stay away from "dry" snorkles - IMHO
Fins - I like the full foot fins.
Weight belt - I find that a little bit of ballast helps with keeping my fins down (in the water) and with diving below the surface.
Licra rash guard - great for keeping your back from getting sun burned :smiley20:
Licra hood - good for keeping your ears and neck from burning.
Sun Block - Get a good quality water resistant sun block ie: bullfrog - apply early and often. Pay special attention to areas that do not normally get a lot of sun - behind ears, back of neck, back of knees and calves, etc.

Good luck!