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For new snorkelers — a bit of unsolicited advice.


mk-ultra
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You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them.  These sound tempting.  Do.  Not.  Buy.  One.

I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues.  4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues.

The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear.  All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward.  Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to.

The mask WILL fog up.  You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel.  This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise.  You have to move more air to get the same result.

Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job.  Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out.  The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel.

I'd ban these things if I could.  It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time.  If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first.

Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.

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18 minutes ago, mk-ultra said:

You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them.  These sound tempting.  Do.  Not.  Buy.  One.

I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues.  4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues.

The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear.  All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward.  Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to.

The mask WILL fog up.  You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel.

Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job.  Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out.  The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel.

I'd ban these things if I could.  It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time.  If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first.

Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.

1000% on this !  I tried one ONCE and it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done.  My neck had a crick in it for a week.  

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I bought one for my Mexico trip last year and it worked out great. No fogging, no trouble breathing. but I chose a special model with a CO2 certification. You'll have to take into account that diving is not possible with the mask as you don't exhale through the snorkel. Not a problem for me as I can get panic attacks when I can't breathe so I'll stay at the surface. Tbh due to my asthma I wouldn't be able to clean the snorkel of water by exhaling anyway.

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I too am a certified diver and my wife is in the process of certification, but for snorkelling, my wife uses a full face mask. They work fanatic and NEVER fog up, even after a couple hours in the water. You need to be aware of the type you buy as there are various versions and qualities. Research the newer versions which allow for air to be cycled, so the air you breathe out can escape. This way you are always breathing fresh air. This is something cheaper / older version did not do. Also make sure the model has a snorkel which can only attach one way with a replaceable rubber seal. I actually tried my wife's one, even diving down underwater and had no issues with water getting in and certainly no fogging unlike my regular face mask which I apple anti-fog gel prior to use.  

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A couple of years ago I bought and used an expensive full face snorkel mask on our cruise until I almost drowned at Bonaire.  I have sinus issues and apparently was breathing through my mouth and exhaling carbon dioxide into the face piece.  Apparently the full face mask with nose cup is designed to release exhaled air through the float tube.  After Bonaire, I switched back to a conventional mask and snorkel and have had no problems and have snorkeled in Bonaire, Grand Cayman, Labadee, etc.

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Do you have any other unsolicited advice to share? I'll be snorkeling for the first time at Labadee in August. I can swim well enough, but have never breathed through a snorkel. I'm nervous about being able to breathe comfortably and dive down to see the good stuff. How deep of water do these excursions normally take you to?

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I have been using a full face snorkle mask for about 5 years and love it. With that being said, I agree and definitely suggest testing it out in a pool before going snorkeling as it can get some getting used to. 

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On 4/27/2022 at 4:38 PM, mk-ultra said:

You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them.  These sound tempting.  Do.  Not.  Buy.  One.

I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues.  4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues.

The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear.  All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward.  Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to.

The mask WILL fog up.  You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel.  This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise.  You have to move more air to get the same result.

Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job.  Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out.  The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel.

I'd ban these things if I could.  It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time.  If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first.

Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.

Thank you for this information. I was thinking of getting my wife and I these, but after reading, I don't think so. 

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On 4/27/2022 at 4:38 PM, mk-ultra said:

You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them.  These sound tempting.  Do.  Not.  Buy.  One.

I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues.  4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues.

The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear.  All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward.  Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to.

The mask WILL fog up.  You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel.  This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise.  You have to move more air to get the same result.

Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job.  Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out.  The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel.

I'd ban these things if I could.  It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time.  If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first.

Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.

While we're on this topic... Any recommendations for TRAVEL sized friendly FINS??

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On 5/4/2022 at 6:52 PM, RisingTideRenee said:

Do you have any other unsolicited advice to share? I'll be snorkeling for the first time at Labadee in August. I can swim well enough, but have never breathed through a snorkel. I'm nervous about being able to breathe comfortably and dive down to see the good stuff. How deep of water do these excursions normally take you to?

A couple of things as a certified freediver.

  • When diving down, take the snorkel out of your mouth. Nothing is probably going to happen, but if something does and you have the snorkel in your mouth, water can be funneled to the lungs. 
  • If you feel any ear or head pain, head back towards the surface instead of heading deeper.
  • The "secret" to staying down longer is calm, relaxed breathing at the surface. Hyperventilating is a big, big no.
  • Lastly, don't test your limits. General rule of thumb is never exceed 80% of your max abilities (with these sorts of things) so there's 20% remaining if a situation occurs.
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On 5/4/2022 at 3:52 PM, RisingTideRenee said:

Do you have any other unsolicited advice to share? I'll be snorkeling for the first time at Labadee in August. I can swim well enough, but have never breathed through a snorkel. I'm nervous about being able to breathe comfortably and dive down to see the good stuff. How deep of water do these excursions normally take you to?

The snorkel-only trips are usually on top of a reef no more than 10-15 feet below you.  You can bob around on the surface and still get a decent view of fish and coral.  If you do want to dive down a bit, it's a really good idea to try it in a pool first.  Learn how to clear your snorkel when surfacing (it's just giving it a good blow with your head tilted back a little).  If you inflate your BC vest (buoyancy compensator) you won't be able to get underwater.  I'd start with it fully inflated when you step off of the dive boat.  If you're comfortable after that, you can let air out of it to let you dive below.

Rackham's advise above about staying calm and relaxed with your breathing is spot-on.  If you feel anxious, surface, re-inflate your BC and chill out on top for a while.

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I'm so confused.  I booked two different snorkeling excursions for my family of four on our Aug 6 sailing.  I just assumed that the equipment was included.  Am I going to have to buy equipment on top of the expense of the excursion?    

 

Edit: I just checked the excursions and it says top quality equipment provided.   So I don't need to buy any?  Is there something I'm missing.

 

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26 minutes ago, burbuja0512 said:

I'm so confused.  I booked two different snorkeling excursions for my family of four on our Aug 6 sailing.  I just assumed that the equipment was included.  Am I going to have to buy equipment on top of the expense of the excursion?    

 

Edit: I just checked the excursions and it says top quality equipment provided.   So I don't need to buy any?  Is there something I'm missing.

 

You do not need to buy equipment. Some people choose to, once they’ve tried snorkeling and decided they want to do it regularly. You will be just fine without it however!

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15 minutes ago, KristiZ said:

You do not need to buy equipment. Some people choose to, once they’ve tried snorkeling and decided they want to do it regularly. You will be just fine without it however!

Thanks so much for this confirmation!  We've never snorkled before so I would be terrified to buy equipment without knowing if it's for us.  🙂 

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On 4/27/2022 at 4:38 PM, mk-ultra said:

You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them.  These sound tempting.  Do.  Not.  Buy.  One.

I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues.  4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues.

The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear.  All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward.  Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to.

The mask WILL fog up.  You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel.  This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise.  You have to move more air to get the same result.

Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job.  Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out.  The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel.

I'd ban these things if I could.  It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time.  If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first.

Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.

I have to agree.  Keep to the regular dive/snorkel masks.   

Many here say they have good luck with these full face masks.  I'm sure some do. My wife bought one and I tried it out and I immediately knew the big flaw.  Inevitably, there is some reason you might need to clear a mask [usually fogging, but water seepage, sinus pressure...other]...and there no way to clear these full face masks without essentially taking it off.   Clearing a mask, any mask, is essential. But each to their own of course and some people really like them [the fullness of breathing is surely more comforable...again, until you need to clear]. My vote is don't buy them.  My wife's sits in a closet somewhere; used once or twice and she gave up on 'em as well .  

 

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