The 1950s were the heyday of older-generation snorkel-masks, first for the pioneers of underwater hunting and then for the general public who swam in their wake. One even-minded authority of the time declared that "the advantage of this kind of mask is mainly from the comfort point of view. It fits snugly to one's face, there is no mouthpiece to bite on, and one can breathe through either nose or mouth". Another concluded with absolute conviction that "built-in snorkel masks are the best" and "a must for those who have sinus trouble." Yet others, including a co-founder of the British Sub-Aqua Club, deemed masks with integrated snorkels to be complicated and unreliable: "Many have the breathing tube built in as an integral part of the mask. I have never seen the advantage of this, and this is the opinion shared by most experienced underwater swimmers I know". Six decades on, a new generation of snorkel-masks has come to the marketplace (see Figure 3).
A common problem with all mechanical clearing mechanisms is their tendency to fail if infrequently used, or if stored for long periods, or through environmental fouling, or owing to lack of maintenance. Many also either slightly increase the flow resistance of the snorkel, or provide a small water trap, which retains a little water in the tube after clearing.
This especially applies to corals. Some are toxic and can cause nasty cuts or even massive infections—not to mention that even an unintended kick to a coral head can damage decades’ worth of growth. During some of our snorkeling outings, the water over reefs is so shallow that you cannot even wear fins—follow your guide’s instructions when visiting these spots.
But the faux-tropics didn’t offer anything like the sunbaked warmth of the real tropics. Instead, the steady heat and lack of fresh air made me feel as if I were being slowly microwaved. Over lunch, I Googled things like “How long do flamingos live in captivity?” and “What do you call a group of flamingos?” A flamboyance of flamingos can live up to fifty years in captivity, and T.I. added theirs only seven years ago. Meanwhile, I’d been inside the dome for a few hours and was already craving an exit plan.
Only go out if it is calm. This often means going in the mornings. Nothing will ruin your first time experience like going out into the ocean when there are waves. It makes entering, exiting and swimming in the water dangerous. It makes using your equipment more difficult. It greatly increases how much effort swimming requires. It may make you seasick. Waves almost always reduce underwater visibility, so you won't be able to see what you are there to see. So only get in the water if it is calm your first time (less than six inch waves).
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Our women's bikini swimsuits are perfect for swimming or just catching some rays, but you'll need a few other things to complete your look. Grab a trendy tote to hold essentials like sunblock and a good beach read. Protect your eyes from UV rays with some new sunglasses, and make sure that your face stays free from sunspots with a wide-brimmed hat. The right accessories can upgrade your bikini from cute to must-have status.