My second babystep into scuba diving was snorkeling. I did helmet diving and snorkeling in the morning, and then took my very first scuba lesson in the afternoon. It seemed like a logical progression.
I was expecting snorkeling to be disappointing. I had gone snorkeling once before, at a “resort” in Haiti. I went into the water from the beach, and visibility was almost zero. All I could see was kicked up yellow sand. Plus, the saltiness of the seawater was overwhelming.
So, I expected snorkeling to be disappointing.
A boat brought me out to Shangri-la Marine Sanctuary, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines. Disclaimer: the photo is from Nalusuan Marine Sanctuary. I went snorkeling there maybe a week or two later.
As soon as I put my face into the water, I screamed “WOW!” through my snorkel. The water was deeper than I expected, and the water was much clearer than I expected. I felt like I was flying high above the seafloor.
Because of this reaction, I got even more excited about scuba diving. The water sports I did the previous day were all far more interesting than I thought they would be. Then, helmet diving was far more interesting than I thought it would be. Then snorkeling was far more interesting than I thought it would be. So, how awesome is scuba diving going to be?
The answer was: pretty darn awesome. I actually ended up diving through the exact same area that I had gone snorkeling through. So, first I saw it from a distance, and then I saw it up close.
In retrospect, I wish I had known about freediving back then. At the depth that I went snorkeling, it would have been bonus fun to practice freediving at the same time. But, for now, freediving is still a future adventure.