How to Go Snorkeling for the First Time

March 20, 2019

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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji | Blog

Snorkeling is a great way to relax and unwind while taking in the gorgeous sights hidden below the surface of the water. Most cruises heading to luxurious tropical locations offer snorkeling as an optional activity, so why not make the most of the opportunity to check out cities built from coral, schools of shimmering tropical fish, or even come face to face with a turtle or ray?

If you’ve never been snorkeling before, though, the experience might be daunting. You may not know what to expect, or feel anxious at the thought of breathing with a mask. With a bit of practice and this helpful guide, you can feel free to get the most out of your cruising holiday and see the beauty that lies beneath the waves.


You do not necessarily have to know how to swim to go snorkeling, however, the confidence in doing so can make the experience a little better. With snorkeling, for the most part, you won’t be diving that far into the water. In actuality, you’ll be almost entirely staying at the top of the water so that your tube can bring the supply of air you need.

Gaining some basic knowledge in swimming however can go a long way into improving your experience as you could potentially dive into the water further to find harder to access areas. This could be learning how to tread water, or even how to doggy paddle.


Feeding off the previous point, do check the strength of the tides coming in on the day you’ll be snorkeling. Stronger waves could mean that water might randomly gush through the tube causing you to breathe it in. Moreover, checking for the high and low tide times could mean the difference between finding hard to access reefs or not.


Before you leave for your cruise, practice trying on your mask and swimming in shallow water to get used to the idea. Make sure you know how to clean your mask and snorkel, especially when it comes to clearing both of water.

It’s easy to clear a snorkel or mask of water. If your breathing tube becomes blocked, just exhale strongly, sending a puff of air back through the tube and clearing the water away. A few snorkels come with valves which will allow you to easily drain water away from the tube.

Like swim goggles, if water enters your mask, it can obscure your vision. You may also need to intentionally let some water into your mask if it starts to fog up. The easiest way to clear your mask is to lift your head out of the water and pull the bottom of the mask away from your face. Some masks also come with a purge valve, much like the drainage valve for the snorkel, which allows you to push water out of the mask while underwater simply by blowing through your nose.


If you especially lack the confidence in swimming, the best thing to do is go snorkeling with a friend or a group of people. While you may not know how to swim, someone else might. If you begin to struggle, you can easily call them for assistance and they should promptly help.

Also important to stay nearby the group if you do have low swimming confidence, as currents could possibly push you further out to sea faster than expected. With no help nearby, this could cause an emergency fast.


The most important thing while snorkeling is to simply avoid at all costs touching the wildlife, especially the coral. While it might be fun touching a rare exotic fish, you might unintentionally scare the fish or hurt yourself if they turn around and bite.

The coral is especially important as these form the homes for the fish. By touching them, you could potentially destroy the homes of marine wildlife. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that the next group of people can enjoy the same experience as you did. Even by touching the fish or coral, you run the risk of ruining that experience for the next person.


Captain Cook Cruises Fiji offers plenty of snorkeling opportunities, allowing you to see the beautiful ocean floor and incredible array of life under the stunningly clear blue waters. The Yasawa Islands Cruise and Northern Fiji Heritage Cruises will both let passengers check out the picturesque Fijian waters – is there anywhere better to try out snorkeling for the first time?

There are great locations in the waters of the Yasawa Islands, Tivua Island and Vanua Levu to get into the water and glide over spectacular coral reefs near white sandy beaches. If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are also great diving opportunities included on most cruises offered through Captain Cook.

For something more than just snorkeling, check out our diving packages which cover a number of sites across Fiji that you would immediately fall in love with.

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