Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ADVICE: Snorkel Gear (UPDATED)

miQ snorkeling in Holguin, Cuba

I always get the question "Is there snorkeling at the resort?".  Most of the time, you won't know how good the snorkeling (if any at all) is until you get there.  Everyone has their own opinion on what "great" snorkeling is.  Great snorkeling for me is to be able to swim out of your resorts beach front without having to pay for anything and being able to see an abundance of fish in their own habitat.  I've been to 4 resorts that have great beach front snorkeling but there are so many out there that you really just have to research it to make a better decision on your choice.

snorkeling picture from El Dorado Seaside beach in Akumal, Mexico

Once you've done your research and figured out what kind of snorkeling there is out near the resort, it's time to ask your self wether or not you should buy the equipment or not.  75% of the time people won't buy it and they will just rent whatever equipment there is at the resort.  The other 25% go out and buy their own gear (like myself) just so they don't have to worry about it when you get down there.

Here are the pro's and con's of each choice.

Renting Snorkel Gear:

  • save on luggage space
  • save on money
  • everyone uses the same mouth piece and mask and only gets washed with salt water
  • most resorts will give you a time limit of an hour to use the gear
  • the equipment is cheap and can cause cuts in your feet and gums
  • dive shops are usually on the other side of the resort where you have to take a hike to get to.
Buying Snorkel Gear

  • sanitary, it's yours and yours only
  • no time limit, use it as long as you want
  • convenient
  • better quality equipment
  • luggage space will be tight
  • will have to spend some money
To me honestly it's a no brainer but I am a snorkeling enthusiast.  So I'm partial to buying my own gear.

If you decide you go ahead and buy your own gear, here are a couple of reviews I have done on some I have owned in the past.

The first snorkeling kit I ever bought was the Dolphino Pro Series Adult Dive Bag.  I saw this at Canadian Tire and said to myself "Wow, it's cheap and the fins are small!  These will work PERFECTLY!!"  Let me tell you, the only thing perfect about this was the fact that it fit in my luggage!  The fins broke after 2 days of using it, it is made out of cheap rubber so the friction of it cut me at the back of my heel, the silicone on the snorkel was so hard that it cut my gums and the mask leaked for days!  The lesson?  You get what you pay for!!

Beach Junkies Rating: 1 out of 5

The second time I went to buy gear was at Costco.  I saw this Body Glove Kit for about $70 and it looked cool!  I was hesitant but I thought I would try it out anyway!  This equipment lasted me 3 years and was one of the best snorkeling kits I have ever bought.  The fins are big enough to efficient propelling in the water but small enough they fit in your luggage or carry on.  The snorkel has a very soft and comfortable mouth piece and the top has a splash guard which prevents water from coming in for you to swallow (otherwise known as a dry snorkel).  The mask was awesome and never leaked!  It does get old though so you would have to replace it with a new set but for the price, I would recommend this for anyone looking to start out snorkeling!

Beach Junkies Rating: 5 out of 5

miQ snorkeling in Lucea, Jamaica

I said I would update this post as soon as I was able to use my new snorkel gear and now I have kept my promise =).

I absolutely love my new gear!!! The mask is better this time around.  It is not split in the middle and is a WIDE mask which makes for better visibility and a greater field of vision compared to masks that are split into two.  It was very comfortable and spending a bit more money on it was not necessary, but I could really tell the difference.

miQ snorkeling in Lucea, Jamaica

The snorkel I bought is a BARE Dry Top Snorkel.  I prefer dry top snorkels because you don't have to worry about inhaling water when the waves get rough.  This was my second dry top snorkel.  Really no big difference in the snorkel other than that the mouth piece gets really heavy compared to my Body Glove snorkel I previously had.  I noticed a significant drag on the bottom while swimming but it wasn't a nuisance, it just took a bit to get used to but overall the quality of the snorkel was excellent and I'll be keeping this for a while.

My new fins are the U.S Divers Blast fins. BIG difference from my old Body Glove fins.  The only draw back with these fins is that they are a bit heavier than my previous fins due to the frame on the outside, but other than that, these are AWESOME!  It took a bit to get used to the open toe shoe but it ended up being more comfortable.  The split fin make maneuvering in the water effortless and you honestly have more control of yourself in the water.  Sprinting in this took less effort than what I was used to and they definitely came in handy when I ran into a MASSIVE Barracuda in Jamaica =).  Lets just say that I left my friend with the Body Glove gear in the dust hahaha!

Overall these three items together worked very well and I definitely can't wait to get back in the ocean!!

Beach Junkies Rating: 5 out of 5

1 comment:

Scuba Gear Packages said...

Thank you so much for sharing the pros and cons of rented snorkel gear!! The post was quite useful!