WildQuest Snorkeling 101
A Beginner’s guide to Snorkeling (with dolphins!)
Are you a first-time or beginner snorkeler? It’s perfectly normal to feel a little nervous when trying anything new, and maybe more so when it comes to breathing underwater! Our aim is to support you in overcoming your fears by giving you some simple steps to help you prepare for, and feel more at ease about, your trip.
Believe it or not, many of our guests are beginners and even first-time snorkelers when they arrive… and most are snorkeling fanatics by the time they leave! So if you’re feeling uncertain, we assure you that “anything is possible” (one of our favourite WildQuest mantras).
On your visit to WildQuest, you’ll be supported by our highly skilled crew who will gently guide you through every step of the process, and always at your own pace. On Day 1 you’ll get set up with a good fitting mask and fins while we’re still on land, and you’ll receive a full induction so that by the time you get in the water, you’re all set.
Our expert crew will be with you the whole time, checking that you’re feeling comfortable and safe. Plus, we have plenty of flotation devices on hand for anyone who wants some extra support. Each and everyone who comes on our retreats (even those with BIG fears of the water!) are able to experience being with the dolphins.
Being in the ocean, whether snorkeling on the beautiful reefs surrounded by tropical fish or swimming with a pod of wild dolphins, can be a truly magical and life-changing experience – and it’s our wish that as many people as possible get to have this experience in their lifetime.
Here are our top three tips to help you feel more prepared for your wild dolphin swim experience:
1. Practice & strengthen your swimming
Go to your local pool (or local waters) if you have the opportunity and do some swimming. Focus on styles of swimming where you’re kicking your legs eg. front crawl, backstroke, freestyle – as this is the technique you’ll use when snorkeling. If you have a pair of fins, even better, do a few lengths wearing the fins to get used to the feeling. It’s one of our safety requirements that all swimmers wear fins when snorkeling, as they give you more momentum in the water (like a dolphin!) so it’s great if you can have practice.
2. Relax and float
Our first tip for being in the ocean is RELAX. Being in the water is a new experience for many people, so we always start with relaxing body and mind. This alone will greatly enhance your experience. Focus on taking long deep breaths, slow inhale, slow exhale, and fully relaxing into the feeling of being held by the water. You can also practice this deep breathing on land, anywhere, anytime (or on a yoga mat) to simply learn how to get into a state of relaxation.
And, if you have the option, a good practice (in a pool or local waters) is to get used to floating. Allowing your body to simply float on the surface, feeling fully supported by the water.
3. Submerge and trust your body
If you’re not used to being in the water at all, you may want to go to the shallow end of a pool where you can comfortably play with submerging under the water a little, or simply putting your face momentarily in the water. Some of our guests even pop a snorkel on at home and do this in the bath!
And, lastly and most importantly, always trust your body. Our bodies always know best and are designed to keep us safe. Go at your own pace and you’ll have the best experience for you.
Congratulations, you’re now ready to discover a whole new underwater world!
If you aren’t able to do any preparation before your trip, don’t panic as you’ll receive all the training and preparation you need when you arrive at our retreat centre. Bimini in The Bahamas is such a perfect place to let go of your fears and fall in love with the ocean. The waters are crystal clear, warm and most of the time we can see the sandy ocean floor as it’s so shallow – usually around 30 feet depth or less. Plus, of course, there is SO much beauty to experience and discover.
We’re very careful when we’re out on and in the ocean, safety is always our number one priority, as well as the protection of the dolphins and other marine life who live there. We are guests in their home and we treat them with the same respect as we would if we were entering someone’s home. We don’t chase, touch, or do anything which may disturb them.
You’ll receive a full safety briefing before we leave the dock, plus we have a Code of Conduct for being with the dolphins and we’ll share with you how to enjoy the best experience.
For the more advanced swimmers, we can also guide you when you’re ready to go a little deeper and try some free diving, a fun way to engage with the dolphins below the surface. Our crew will give you top tips and support you if you want to have a go. A lot of fun awaits!
Happy snorkeling! We’re excited to welcome you to Bimini’s magical underwater world.
Note: We rent top-quality snorkel equipment so you don’t need to buy it before your trip. But if you are looking to purchase your own, we recommend ‘dry’ snorkels and silicone masks. We don’t have full face masks for rent and we don’t recommend them (in our experience these only work in flat calm weather and diving down with them is not recommended as it’s difficult to equalize your ears).