After all these years, I still vividly remember the wind playing with my hair. The water was so blue and so clean that it calmed my soul instantly. The sound of the water as the boat cuts through them still rings in my ears as soon I think about that day.
Around five years ago, I went to Bali for a family vacation. Ah! Heaven on Earth is what I can summaries for Bali. The beautiful beaches just took my breath away and made sure I had fallen in love with every one of them. Even though I do not know how to swim, I have always enjoyed going to beaches and going into the waters.
My brothers and I have always loved adventures, and so it was obvious that we couldn't end our trip without snorkeling. Snorkeling, unlike scuba diving, does not require prior practices or any certificates of any kind, that is a plus point. It was a bright and clear day, and I was so excited to snorkel because I had witnessed snorkeling in just movies and shows, and here, I was almost ready to experience it first-hand. I would be lying if I said I was not scared, instead, I was petrified. I do not know how to swim and here I had to be in deep waters, it was scary but more than scary it seemed soul-nourishing.
We had decided to go to Nusa Lembongan which is one of the famous spots to snorkel in Bali. We had hired a local guide who would take us to the snorkeling spots on his boat. The guide had provided us with all the equipment necessary for snorkeling which was included in the fee. The equipment set included a snorkel mask, life jacket, and fins (if we wish to dive in and swim in the waters). The guide informed us that he will be taking us to three different spots to snorkel and we would spend a certain amount of time on each destination before going to the next.
Finally, we arrived at our first destination and the guide put the boat still. I had a sudden adrenaline rush. I was super excited but also super scared. I still remember my heart beating super-fast. The guide gave us some instructions and tips on how to snorkel. After the briefing session, the guide handed us the masks which covered the eyes and nose and had a pipe to breathe in and out and the life jackets. I put on my mask and my lifejacket. My mask was a bit loose, but the guide did not have a smaller pair so I went ahead with the same mask. My brothers instead wore the fins as they were going to explore by diving in the waters. I had never seen a water body so clean and clear I was already hyped up.
Finally, the time to go into the waters! I cannot even begin to put the emotions I was feeling at that point.
I felt a sudden adrenaline rush. My brothers went in the waters and slowly I gained confidence and courage. I went in the water by stepping down the ladder attached to the side of the boat. The water was cold, and I was still scared because I did not know how to swim. My brother held my hand and took me away from the boat in the waters. As I floated away, I was taking deep breaths to stay calm.
I somehow gathered courage and let go of my brother’s hand and finally dipped my face in the waters, and there it was the amazing sea life which I had only watched on the television. I saw the beautiful corals and the plants. Tiny colorful shoals of fishes swimming here and there. It felt like a whole new world unraveling in front of my eyes. It was a moment of liberation for me. The voices and people were fading away. It was just me and the sea life I was experiencing. It seemed as if the outer world did not exist, and time had stopped for me. I did not want the moment to end.
But after around 15-20 minutes slowly the saltwater started to seep in the mask and entered my eyes and mouth as the mask was big for me. I started to feel nauseous and had to get back on the boat, and I had to rest on the journey. But, for the time I was in the water, I cherished every moment. It was a soul-enriching experience.
So YES! You can snorkel even if you do not know how to swim. There are few things to remember before you start snorkeling as a swimmer and then nothing can stop you from experiencing this bliss.
Things to remember/ take care of
First of all, believe in yourself and tell yourself that you can do it. You need to be patient with yourself and just keep reminding yourself that you are strong, and you can do this.
Always book a guide/ instructor who has good knowledge about snorkeling and research beforehand.
Do not snorkel alone. Keep some company which will help you gain confidence.
It will be better if you research the locations before you choose to select the one.
Some people say that beginners should snorkel near the shore but in my experience, if you are confident enough, I think you can directly snorkel in moderately deep waters.
Always make sure the mask and the gears fit you. I always repeat! Do not compromise with your gears and make sure they are of good quality.
Make sure you pay attention to the instructions given by the instructor/ guide.
As a non-swimmer, you will always be provided with a life jacket or a floating device. But if under any circumstances they forget to provide one, do not be hesitant to ask for one.
Taking deep breaths and staying calm is the key. It might seem scary but trust me, taking deep breaths and reminding myself to stay calm is what made me relaxed and helped me have an experience of a lifetime.
Try to relax and float horizontally. Floating vertically might make you panic again and spoil the experience of looking underwater.
The very last thing to do is Have Fun!
Not knowing how to swim should not come in your way of experiencing such a blissful and liberating sport. Trust yourself and believe in yourself and you can do it!