Snorkeling is sometimes seen as the ugly little brother of scuba diving, not frowned upon but certainly not up there as a respected sport like scuba diving.
Perhaps it's because snorkeling happens in the shallows, you don't need any particular skills or experience, it's open to pretty much anyone, so looses a certain level of respectability / exclusivity. Perhaps I'm totally wrong, but regardless I often sit and wonder to myself why is the beach not riddled with people snorkeling? Does the whole world not know what they are missing?
Even through I love scuba diving, I am also a spot fanatical about snorkeling, and here is why, why I love it so much and why I’m amazed the sea isn't filled up with snorkelers
Firstly, it's so safe, you don't need to head offshore or be a pro free diver, some of my best snorkeling experiences have been in shallow tidal pools, water less than waist deep.
Secondly, you escape, I think it's the silence and the total distraction provided by the fish, corals and other sea life. You do literally forget about all your "dry" problems.
Thirdly, because you are not chasing a clock (running out of air such as on scuba) nor do you have a dive master with a time limit, you can spend a lot of time studying things, looking closer, waiting for fish or other animals to come out of hiding spots, spend time photographing, appreciating and getting to know the little habits of individual creatures.
Fourth, you always find something incredible. Whether it's my fond memories of seeing octopus mating (in a tidal pool probably twice the size of a bathtub) to finding an insanely coloured new Nudibranch or your first experience with a moray eel. There is always something amazing to see, National Geographic amazing.
Fifth, it's good for you and Snorkel yourself healthy & happy, snorkeling invigorates the mind and soul in a weird way. I think it's the salt water, but regardless of the how, it works, some say it's the slight resistance you face when breathing through snorkel, if forces you into slow rhythmic breathing, much like meditation or yoga.
Sixth, you get in touch with nature, you get in touch with yourself, the combination of the entire experience, viewing amazing wildlife, being quiet and focused, breathing, excited, all at the same time. That’s a cool feeling.
Finally, it's accessible virtually anywhere, there are so many little rock polls, huge reefs, protected bays, the options for new snorkeling spots are endless and probably closer than you think, just a question of making the time to go explore.
My point and challenge from this article is this, you do not need to scuba dive or travel to far and wide exotic places, if you live near a coast somewhere (and the water isn't sub zero or chocolate brown course) just try it, put on a mask and snorkel and just look, even if it's a shallow bathtub of a rock pool. I promise you will be amazed