Snorkeling Offers a Window into the Sea

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.29.04 PMWater is water, right? Except when it’s over your head and full of creatures you’re not used to seeing face-to-face. Then it can be a bit frightening.

Although Cozumel families live on a relatively small island, some rarely see the ocean, may not know how to swim and don’t own swimsuits. It takes time off work and resources for transportation to bring your family from the middle of the city to the beach.

A snorkeling class was held in the pool of FOC volunteers Mike and Hettie.

A snorkeling class was held last year in the pool of FOC volunteers Mike and Hettie.

About a year ago, Friends of Cozumel embarked on an educational effort to help families learn more about the sea that surrounds them. With the generous donation of masks, fins and snorkels from the National Assoc. of Black Scuba Divers, http://www.nabsdivers.org/ FOC volunteers were ready to begin. They first helped children practice in the pool, sometimes having to persuade reluctant first-timers to put their face in the water. It wasn’t long until enthusiasm overtook fear.

The next step was to venture into shallow stretches of shoreline for a real ocean experience at Sunset Beach. After the children’s initial hesitation subsided, they were excited to explore a world they may have only seen in photographs. The snorkeling masks gave them a clear view of colorful fish, anemone, sponges and a man-made reef offering a home to fish in the shallow depth.

The children’s delight has piqued the interest of parents, and now FOC has requests for entire families to experience snorkeling.

Yesterday was a great day at Sunset Beach where seven children from FOC-supported families and their parents practiced their snorkeling skills.

Como Snorkel (How to Snorkel). Thanks to NABS for donation of this equipment.

Como Snorkel (How to Snorkel). Thanks to NABS for donation of this equipment.

“Tanya was a little frightened at first,” said Gary, a volunteer from Nebraska who swam hand-in-hand with a new snorkeler. “But once she got the hang of it, she took off. I had to kick hard to keep up.”

“Me gusta mucho (I like it very much),” said Armando. “Hay hermosos peces en todas partes (There are beautiful fish everywhere).”

Larry (right) reviews safety information with the snorkelers.

Larry (right) reviews safety information with the snorkelers.

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Sunset Beach provided a nice shallow entry for the new snorkelers.

And the nachos and soft drinks afterwards weren’t bad either. Thanks to FOC supporters for opening a window to the sea for these local families. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska.

New snorkelers enjoy nachos after their time in the water.

New snorkelers enjoy nachos after their time in the water.

 

Volunteer Sami (left) helps a new snorkeler put on her fins.

Volunteer Sami (left) helps a new snorkeler put on her fins.

 

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Holding the hand of a volunteer made snorkeling for the first time a bit less frightening.

 

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