I used to hate snorkels. I only had one because I was required to as an instructor. Before that, it was rare you’d find me with a snorkel on my mask unless some silly resort or boat made me carry it. And this isn’t a new. I’ve hated snorkels since they were all black rubber without a purge valve. I just really never saw the “need” for me to use one. Why deal with the hassle of blowing the water from a snorkel when I can just lift my head or roll over on my back and breath? Even in choppy water it just didn’t make sense.
That all changed one fun day in Hawaii.
On a non-diving trip to Maui I joined some non-diving friends for an afternoon at Molokini Crater snorkeling. I had grabbed some gear before the trip on the off chance I’d find the time to get into the water and among that was the Oceanic Ultra-Dry snorkel. Still hating snorkels I figured I’d be able to laze around the surface and relax for a few hours, see a few colorful fish that had grown accustomed to human’s daily intrusions. For the first half of the afternoon I was fairly impressed with how comfortable the snorkel fit into my mouth. The styling was extremely ergonomic with the mouthpiece being tipped just right allowing for an effortless fit. But it was still a snorkel and I still had every intention of ditching it or giving it away as soon as I got home.
Then the Manta Ray showed up.
I’d not really paid attention to the fact that the breeze had helped float me out away from everybody else and toward the middle. As I was getting ready to head back to the boat and think up an excuse as to why I was going to nap in the sunny deck for the rest of the afternoon a Manta swam past me. After the initial shock of seeing something I’d dreamed my entire diving career of being in the water with I calmed down a bit and swam parallel to it for a ways. It’d swim under me then back around. It’d swim off in the distance and back. The entire time I’m moving, looking, dunking the snorkel CONSTANTLY in my efforts to soak up as much time as I can watching this graceful creature. One more than one occasion I’d dive down and swim along with it under the water until my lungs were screaming for air. I’d zoom up to the surface, instantly get a breath of air and down I’d go again. After about 45 minutes the Manta left us and we were all called back to the boat.
It wasn’t until we were on the ride back that I’d begun to realize that not a single drop of water ever got into my snorkel. There was no clearing water out of it at all! I just surfaced and breathed. And all the times I’d been on the surface moving and looking, and dipping the end in the ocean, not once did I get surprised by a mouthful of water that I had to spit out. The snorkel really was comfortable, made well, and as dry as it claimed! What a pleasant surprise. I decided right then and there to keep that piece of gear as it isn’t every day you come across something that lives up to its billing such as that.
I still hate snorkels, but when I do go to use one, the Oceanic Ultra-Dry is the ONLY one I’ll choose.