Despite having been in Southeast Asia for 9 months already, and having already traveled quite widely before that in my life, I had never been snorkeling before. It simply wasn’t something that appealed to me very much. Really, I thought it would just be a lame version of diving… not that I’d done that either!
I could not have been more wrong.
My traveling companion helped me to put the mask on correctly, and gave me a couple of tips on breathing through the snorkel, then I was on my way into the water. I got a little way out until the water was deep enough to swim comfortably, and dipped my head under. In that moment, I encountered a whole new world.
I can’t speak for anywhere else, but the coral-packed waters off many of Southeast Asia’s beaches are magical, incredible places. I had seen corals before in photos, and thought they didn’t look so special. I’d seen them before in movies, like Finding Nemo, and assumed they were exaggerating their beauty. Again, I was wrong on both counts.
The plants themselves look like they’ve fallen from an alien planet. Their incredibly strange shapes resemble nothing that you’ll find on land. Then, of course, there are the fish. Again, the sheer level of diversity in the creatures which weave through, play around and nibble at the corals is unlike anything you’ll find on solid ground. A typical reef will be home to a seemingly endless variety of fish, which come in every shape, size and color you could possibly imagine. And, if you go to the right reef, there are so, so many of them. The sheer amount of life in these teeming places is unbelievable.
Please don’t make the mistake I did. Now, I feel like I’m making up for lost time, and every time I go to any type of beach location, the first thing I rush to do is go snorkeling. If you haven’t tried it yet, then do so as soon as you possibly can. A whole new, wonderful world will reveal itself to you.