If you have ever gone snorkeling, you will probably agree that it is a very relaxing activity, as the ocean bottom can be rich in underwater life and rock formations.
Places with a rocky bottom and a relative depth of six to ten feet offer the richest underwater landscape. Many times in a swim towards the rocky and remote areas around the sandy beaches reveals a variety of caves and caverns of varying sizes. I am always careful to stay away from strong currents, and to stay close to the shore, especially if my distance from a busy beach increases. I have compiled a beach index where I also rate the snorkeling experience according to my own visit.
There is no overstating the need to invest in a quality silicon mask which fits well around your face. The plastic masks typically sold in the beach stores usually fill with water very fast and make it impossible to see.
A snorkeling mask with a wide glass area is also best for snorkeling since
it offers a wide angle of view. The snorkeling masks that have two lenses
-one for each eye- are better suited for deep diving but restrict the
field of view. A good mask should cost over €35 and you can find
them in outdoor gear stores, or specialized scuba diving stores. A good
shave is also prescribed for male divers since a beard cannot let the
mask create a seal around the face, leading to a mask full of water and
a frustrating snorkeling session.
If you have ever snorkeled you probably know that lens fogging can be a frequent problem. Surfacing and cleaning the mask every five minutes can be vexing and taxing. There are a variety of products in the market that promise to keep a snorkeling mask clean, but experienced divers would tell you that your own (free) saliva to be just as effective. Before entering the water rub some of your own saliva on the inside of the lens and rinse it with sea water. If you do this before the mask gets wet you should have a fog-free lens for at least half hour or more.
For a long time I used an inexpensive €2 snorkeling tube which worked fine, but once I invested the €25 to buy a tube with a filter, I enjoyed my dives even more. The snorkel with the filter allows breathing even when small waves crash over the tube, and I would recommend them highly.
A pair of quality fins can also enhance your snorkeling experience
by allowing effortless propulsion through the water, and by keeping their
shape after many many dives. Expect to pay over €40 for a good pair
of fins, and you can purchase them at the multitude of scuba diving shops
An underwater camera can also be a useful accessory for snorkeling.
If you are a serious photographer you can buy a dedicated underwater still
or video camera, but if you just want a few snap shots here and there
you can purchase the disposable water proof cameras sold in photo
supply stores and even supermarkets in Greece (they cost about €10
and contain 27 exposures.)
The water of the Aegean and Ionian sea is usually very calm in the morning, and as a rule it becomes choppy in the afternoon (after 4:00 PM). The visibility in the water, the wave height and currents vary from place to place, and from time to time so use caution on every dive. If you are not experienced swimmer make sure that you snorkel with company and stay close to the shore. Many times the passage of a large ferry off shore can bring a few unforeseen waves crashing onto an otherwise calm beach, and they can catch a diver by surprise. Also, be on the lookout for speed boats. They are plenty of speed boats in Greece, and they always seem to come dangerously close to the shore. As a rule of thumb I always try to swim as close to the rocks as possible, and as soon as I hear a speed boat approaching I surface and make my presence evident.
Revealing the sea bottom can be a shocking experience for a child. I
bought a snorkeling mask for my daughter at age five, and she used it
primarily on sandy bottoms for a few months before we began venturing
towards the rocky bottom of the beach. We always swim close together and
point to the different fish and rock formations on the bottom. A disposable
underwater camera and a net are great tools so a child could interact
with the underwater life thus making a game out of the whole experience.
Regulations Concerning the Underwater Activities SCUBA Diving Regulations
(Offical ource: Greek National Tourist Organization reprinted by permission)
Underwater activities with breathing apparatuses
are allowed from dawn to sunset.
Sea Areas for Underwater Activities (SCUBA Diving)
(With the use of oxygen tanks)