The Fantastic Subaquatic Paradise of the Maldives.
Children of all ages love to look at the wonderful world under the ocean, especially in the tropical, warm waters around the Maldives. The vast array of colours from coral to fish swimming in this subaquatic world are not only a fantastic experience, but superb for learning to snorkel and of course all this activity is healthy for them (and parents), too.
It is vital for any aquatic activities that you have a water aware child that can swim well. There are a multitude of reasons to get your youngster swimming from an early age, few children can swim under the age of four or five as their head size exceeds the buoyancy in their bodies, but it is possible to get children water confident much younger and by five they can certainly swim up to 10 meters if you take the time to get them in the water regularly and encourage them.
Trick To Learn Swimming
Our trick for getting children to swim was to first get them to love the water and then use either a buoyancy vest with removable floats, blow up arm bands or similar and slowly, slowly each time let more and more air out of the device until they are swimming unaided without really realising the aid is airless!
Being Able to Swim is Crucial
To really enjoy snorkelling in exotic locations I would recommend that the children can swim actively for at least half an hour and can in one stretch swim at least 25 to 30m. Anything less is going to limit enjoyment or have too much risk so please be safe. In fact some resorts will insist that they can demonstrate swimming ability before they will be allowed out on any snorkelling trips.
Use a Traditional Mask and Snorkel
Anyone who wants to savour snorkelling in the tropical waters of Indian Ocean you will need to choose the right equipment. In the past the only option was to use a diving style face mask and snorkel but now you can also buy the full face covering snorkel equipment that allows you to breath normally without the danger of water entering the snorkel. My strong preference for children is that they become used to the traditional snorkel and mask set, but the newer versions might be useful for some children.
Invest in Well Fitted Snorkel Equipment!
Given the price of a Maldives holiday the small addition of investing in a mask that fits well and a good snorkel is worthwhile for your child especially if you take regular beach holidays. Yes, these can be hired at the resort but the fit may not be as good and the hire masks can often be scratched and worn. Choose a mask that covers eyes and nose – snorkelling is all about breathing through the mouth. Check fit around the eyes and under the nose, it should adhere to the face and hold a vacuum when pressed slightly. I would also wash it out once with washing up detergent as they are often made with a film on the glass. A light wash after each use in tap water is also required. For the snorkel it is probably worth considering the ones that have a valve to easily expel water after diving down.
Other Snorkel Essentials
The other essential is flippers – they allow a more effortless faster swim and for free diving down when snorkelling are must. If you are travelling light you might want to borrow/hire flippers but again a small investment can assure the comfort of you child in the water. Generally they come in two versions, full foot or half foot with a heel band, for younger children the band version may allow more growth room and extend the investment. Whichever is your choice make sure the fit is snug as you do not want to lose them during a snorkel session. A rash vest is highly recommended to avoid sensitive skin from getting burnt during water activities, sun tan cream alone does not suffice, during a prolonged and exciting snorkel trip.
Respect All Sea Life
Snorkelling for some resorts in the Maldives, will be possible from the beach, others, like Lux South Ari, surrounded by sand will need a boat ride to reach the coral and this is something to consider when choosing your resort. Before snorkelling near reefs make sure your children understand the rules of the water. You must never touch anything alive and that includes the coral. Coral is also sharp and will cut you if you finger or bump it so stay away and respect all sea life. Look do – not touch!
Discover the Underwater World for Real!
Jerome is an accomplished snorkeler having learnt to swim under 5 and has been using a mask since 6 or 7 when swimming on our travels. These days he is like a fish in the water he seems to spend as much time free diving down just surfacing to blow water from his snorkel, catch a breath, before re-submerging. He even reached 12m free diving after a turtle during our recent stay in the Maldives! I hope our little guide will help your kids to learn snorkelling and discover the wondrous underwater world for real!
Follow us on Social Media