I have just recently began learning to scuba dive. It has been one of those things that for years I have intended on doing but never got round to. You know how it goes. My other half was keen to become a scuba diving instructor, and now I really have it made: I get to go along with him diving for free in the stunning Florida Keys reefs. I pinch myself every day, truly.
But before you email me to say there is a typo in this blog post title, I am not talking about scuba now, but rather Snuba … Scuba diving’s little cousin.
What is Snuba?
Snuba is a combination of snorkelling and scuba diving, where your air tank is on a raft that sits on the surface above you, and you are connected via a long tube. This allows you to dive up to 20ft without any heavy equipment on your back. You just pop the regulator in your mouth and go! (See the image above, by Jeanie GreenMaki)
If like me, you love snorkelling but are geared up to have a deeper, more colourful experience but are slightly nervous to dive for the first time, then Snuba is the perfect start. You get the whole experience of breathing underwater but without having to do any previous training at all. A perfect chance to see if diving is for you without spending all the money and time beforehand.
Where I Tried It
I was invited along with Dive Duck Key, a dive shop on Duck Key in the beautiful Florida Keys to try Snuba for the first time. We headed out on their dive boat on a stunning day, and arrived at our first dive site, ‘Porkfish’. On the way, our instructor went through the basic skills needed to get us underwater. We learned how to equalise, what to do if we had any discomfort in our ears, and basic signals to communicate with him underwater.
I put on my wetsuit, fins, and snorkel mask, and that was it: I was ready to breathe underwater!
Each raft takes up to three people, and so myself and two boys were about to experience it together. One of them was only 8, which is the minimum age to try Snuba, and so I really didn’t have any excuse to be nervous – if an 8 year old could do it, so could I!
My first experience of equalising wasn’t totally smooth – it took me a few attempts before I got it. This just meant rising up a few feet and then descending again, continually holding my nose to softly ‘pop’ my ears (like being on a plane). As soon as I got the hang of it though I was fine, and haven’t had any problems at all since when diving. My instructor was super helpful, and helped each of us descend individually to ensure we were all fine.
I didn’t have any time after that to think about anything other than what I was seeing: I was underwater, and everything was so colourful! Nothing now will quite ever compare to that first experience I had on Snuba. Despite being attached to the raft, you really experience the freedom and lightness of Scuba. Seeing the tropical Parrot fish and coral up close for the first time was mesmerizing – who knew there was so much colour under there this whole time, and I had only just discovered it!
My Snuba Review
Since that first experience I was so ready for Scuba. Any initial concerns I had for diving: would I be able to equalise? Would I freak out? Would I get water in my mask? They all disappeared due to this experience. It was seamless, easy, and a world away from the snorkelling I had been thinking was wonderful my whole life. I highly recommend Snuba for anyone, who like me, left it 29 years before breathing underwater, and is ready for their first experience! In fact I would say do it today, as you will quite quickly see what you have been missing!
How Much Does It Cost?
A half day of Snuba, with one dive of around 50 minutes, an instructor, all equipment including mask, fins, wetsuit, and the boat ride with full crew and soft drinks is $150 with Dive Duck Key. The boat visits two sites, and you can either snorkel at the second dive site or you can dive both for $225.
The good thing is that you can wait to see if you enjoy it before you decide if you want to dive the second site, so you don’t have to commit beforehand. I promise though, if you loved it as much as I did, you will be desperate to get back in the water!
“Where Can I Try It!?”
There are only so many dive shops that offer Snuba, and you can find the full list here to see where you can try it in your next travel destination.
Thank you for reading and I hope you are in for the journey! If so please subscribe by e-mail to get the Luxury Backpack exclusive monthly newsletter straight to your inbox (you will find the sign-up box at the top of the homepage). You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, & bloglovin‘.
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