This time of the year we would be collecting bookings for our popular Snŵdling events with award-winning artist, Kim Atkinson. Snŵdling is sketching, whilst snorkelling. The process helps you to pay attention and take note of the colours, light, patterns, creatures; you get that “in the moment” experience.
The most important consideration when choosing where you want to snorkel is safety
This is the perfect time to go snorkelling and so long as you take care of yourselves and the wildlife you’re seeing, it’s one of those experiences that “leaves no trace”. The water at this time of year has had a few months of warming up, the air temperature is generally pleasant and there are plenty of things to be seen. For me, floating weightlessly watching sea creatures do their thing is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Snorkelling takes you on a journey to the underwater world without the need for expensive equipment and, with a basic understanding of your location and the ability to swim, it is an activity that can be safely enjoyed by the whole family.
There is all sorts of snorkel equipment that you can buy, but in reality all you truly need is a mask and snorkel until you decide that you want to take snorkelling to the next level. At that point you might buy some fins to help you swim and a wetsuit to prolong your time in the water. You can then move on to some of the more expensive and specialised equipment.
The most important consideration when choosing where you want to snorkel is safety. Think about the amount of boats in the area, the amount of litter and where you’ll be getting in and out of the water. Think about how you are feeling in the water, don’t let yourself get too cold and watch out for sunburn. Make sure you avoid areas with tidal races, strong currents and undertow. If it isn’t safe to swim, it isn’t safe to snorkel and popular swimming beaches are just as good as anywhere to start.
So, what are you looking for? The answer to that is simple, anything and everything, and the things you’ll see will depend on where you are and the visibility in the water. At this time of year, look for jellyfish and sea gooseberries in the water (do not to touch!). Look carefully in the sand (many creatures are well camouflaged) for flatfish, sandeels and hermit crabs. Seaweeds and kelp forests are pretty in themselves, but look for creatures hiding within them. Spider crabs will have arrived earlier on in the summer to breed; these big long- legged crabs are an incredible sight. Look for creatures such as spiral worms and the blue rayed limpets feeding on the fronds of the kelp. Lesser and greater spotted catsharks can be seen and watch out for other species of fish whizzing past. Head to barnacle covered rocks, look carefully and you may see their legs pulsing as they feed. It’s a great time to see what happens to rockpools when the tide is in!
Safety first – if you have any doubts ask your local dive club or shop for advice for the safety of particular sites and never snorkel on your own!