Snorkeling at Catalina Sea Camp is one of those awesome activities that anybody can do! Grab a mask and snorkel, throw on a wetsuit, and kick around with your fins to experience the amazing underwater ecosystem Toyon Bay has to offer. Snorkeling makes it easy to see the marine life dwelling below, and some campers even challenge themselves to practice underwater photography or advance their freediving skills. But where did snorkeling even begin?!
Snorkeling is said to date back to over 5,000 years ago, when natural sponge farmers off the coast of Crete used hollow reeds to breath under water. From these simple tubes, other breathing apparatuses were developed to allow divers to stay below the water’s surface. In 900 B.C.E., Assyrian divers used animal skins filled with air, and later in 333 B.C.E. Alexander the Great encouraged the develop of the diving bell. By the mid 1500s, the diving bell was extremely advanced and allowed long, dry descents, but it did not allow for much mobility or a way to see easily into the water. Aristotle also references a snorkel-like device where divers had tubes that led to the surface for air. Leonardo da Vinci invented many breathing devices and drew up endless designs that ranged from simple snorkels to wetsuits that had self-contained breathing systems! These designs were ahead of their time but helped to inspire technology for other water activities such as SCUBA diving.
Today, snorkel equipment is very advanced, and specialized rubbers and plastics help to keep divers safe and comfortable. Hundreds of models of masks make it possible to find the perfect fit, snorkels are long lasting and resistant to ocean wear and tear, and in general it is a simple and affordable hobby. At Catalina Sea Camp you are guaranteed to have fun and see some of our favorite critters in the rocky reefs, like the California State Marine Fish, the garibaldi!
Written By: Jaclyn Lucas