While so many of us love snorkeling, a great number of people that snorkel fail to master some of the essential snorkeling skills that can totally transform your overall snorkeling experience. One of these key skills that anyone going snorkeling should take the time to master is the Duck Dive.
Duck Diving is a water entry method while swimming on the surface, that allows the snorkeler to submerge beneath the surface and experience his/her surroundings not just from the surface alone. Duck Diving is great when you come across some interesting creature like a turtle, or some stunning coral formations that you’d like to take a closer look at. Most snorkelers cannot appreciate smaller creatures like shrimp or nudibranch from above, and so diving underwater allows a snorkeler appreciate the tinier creatures as well. We call this active snorkeling, as opposed to passive snorkeling where you simply observe from above. The key is to increase your interaction with your surroundings.
True to its name, Duck Diving emulates the water diving technique used by ducks while fishing. It involves bending at the waist in the middle so the head faces down and kicking the legs are in the air; then the arms pull the body down in to the water. This puts you in a vertical position which will take you under. The fins don’t start kicking until you clear the surface under the water to prevent the wild thrashing of the fins on the surface. The maneuver does take some practice to master, but once perfected, one can submerge and this greatly enhances your ability to experience what’s underwater.
Normally, you would keep the snorkel in your mouth while duck diving and submerged then blow the water out of the snorkel once back on the surface. So it is essential you master snorkel clearing without taking the snorkel out of your mouth first as a basic skill before attempting to duck dive. Another thing to keep in mind is that one cannot duck dive or submerge while wearing a life jacket or a snorkeling floatation vest for obvious reasons.
There is also another entry method other than the duck dive known as the feet-first dive where the snorkeler vertically raises him/herself out of the water and then lowers or forces downward tucking into a ball when the head clears the surface, where you then straighten out underwater and continue your descent to the desired depth. Many find this technique easier to master, but find the duck dive more effective at getting to your desired depth much more quickly.
So if you haven’t tried duck diving before, make it a point to learn this simple skill the next time you plan to go snorkeling, you are sure to be amazed at the additional level of interactivity that ducking underwater can bring to your snorkeling experience.