The most common first piece of equipment that one buys when they start diving is a Snorkel Set. And there are so many to choose from! I wouldn’t recommend buying one from the supermarket for $15 even though it says Jacques Cousteau on it. I honestly think he invested more into his equipment! But, fear not, you don’t need to spend as much as a pioneering explorer of the aquatic realm when you’re just starting out.
Just visit your local dive center and ask for guidance depending on your personal style and preference. Dive centers have some handy tips and advice for first time buyers even if you have never put your face in the water and taken a breath through a plastic tube. Some tips are as follows: did you know you needed to apply toothpaste to the mask lens to improve clarity in the water for example? Also, a few diver masks have a unique coating on the lens in order to prevent glare. Perfect for snorkeling/diving with us at Isla de Tortuga! There are so many different styles and configurations and there is always something for everyone.
More on mask differences: Try the difference between a clear skirt (wider vision) and a dark skirt (more of a tunnel vision) A mask with a dark skirt is a super mask for underwater photography, so take into consideration what kind of diver you would want to be.
Then there are differences in lenses. You can select inclined lenses which allow you to be able to look down very easily – good for divers so they can check their gear set up easier. You can have a mask with a one window view or two depending whether you prefer lenses split into 2 sections or not. Wear glasses? Well you can also order a prescription mask so those fish really will look bigger and closer! Don’t forget a neoprene mask strap can make removing and replacing the mask so much easier, especially for those of you with long hair.
Then there is the snorkel; make sure the mouth piece is not too big for you and you can choose to buy one with a purge valve in the bottom to make expelling water easier. Some have splash guards at the top, perfect for waves! Have a look at various styles; with purge, flexible tube vs rigid tube and whether you want a light or heavy snorkel.
As there are several styles of both mask and snorkel to select you’ll absolutely wish to shop around and evaluate the various choices prior to making a purchase. Don’t let the price be the final decision, go for comfort and maybe style… my first mask was PINK! It was comfortable but after a few months I got really sick of the color. 🙂
Some dive centers make you buy the basic package of mask, fins and snorkel before you start any course. Here at Rich Coast Diving you can use our rental gear and try different styles so you know what you want if you go out to purchase your own. Once you start your Divemaster course we also require this basic package and we offer great deals for our students; you can have your pick your choice and get special rates from Scubapro, Tusa, Cressi and Aqualung. Pass by our shop and ask the staff for advice