Snorkeling might not have the romance and adventure connected with scuba diving, but what it lacks in sexy black neoprene and pretending you are Darth Vader, it makes up for in its variety of fish.
From the hugest sharks to the smallest sea slug; donning your mask, snorkel, and fins are usually the best way to experience the subaquatic world.
From having led snorkeling tours I know that it is in those first couples of meters of water where you find the color, coral, and characters that make the ocean such a remarkable place to explore.
Washed in light, it is like being on the surface of an interactive aquarium that is just as curious about you as you are of it.
Here are the most glorious snorkeling locations on the globe.
1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Stretching more than 2,600kms down Queensland’s East Coast lies the most renowned reef system in the world.
From impertinent clown fish peaking out from their anemones to swimming with inquisitive dwarf minke whales, the ‘GBR ‘ offers something for everybody.
Easily reached for each age and ability, a visit to Queensland truthfully isn’t complete without a look at some of the most abundant marine life on planet earth.
2. The Kona Coast, Hawaii
Situated on the Big Island, the Kona Coast supports some of the most varied and spectacular marine life found anywhere in the Americas.
With resident dolphins, regular visits from manta rays and a stunning coral and tropical fish population, it suggests more than one trip under the waves is on the cards. A night snorkel in Kona with manta rays is an experience you will never forget.
3. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Over on the west coast of Australia lies a remote stretch of reef that provides pristine coral, no crowds and the largest fish in the sea: the whale shark. As Whale sharks aren’t fans of bubbles it is only by snorkeling that we will be able to experience these delicate giants.
4. The Galapagos, Ecuador
In stark contrast to the barren landscape of the islands, outside the shore there is abundant life just under the waterline. Fearless of humans, sea lions happily swim up to visitors as sea iguanas glide past.
This is the single place in the world where snorkelers can safely swim with hammerhead sharks and see the captivating penguin burst past at lightning-fast speed.
5. New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Sometimes human intervention can actually offer an opportunity for marine life to flourish. Although most wrecks are found in deeper water, in the New Britain province of PNG, WWII wrecks can be experienced close to shore in 1 or 2 meters of crystal clear water.
Fighter planes, bombers and Japanese boats litter the floor and provide life even as instruments of war and destruction.
Though snorkeling may not push the bounds of equipment or experience, it offers the most amazing underwater experiences.
So be certain to always pack a mask and snorkel, because you never can say what may be prowling just under the surface.