Being bought a brand new snorkel, I was desperate to try it out. There was no way I was going to be trying this new fang-dangled thing around the waters of the UK! What if it leaked and the murky water of The Solent crept in?
No, I was going to wait until my trip to Barbados in July.
First you have to know that these full face snorkels come in two sizes, catering for the size of your own noggin. Small and large tend to be the 2 sizes on offer and most of us know the size of our own faces, so I don’t want to lecture anyone on this point.
I bought mine on Amazon and the cost was around £29.00 (you can check out the different colours and sizes by clicking the Amazon link).
Before the live test, this full face snorkel had been tried on a dozens of times whilst sat on the sofa. It has a wide and soft rubber seal around the whole face and an elastic strap over the back of the head, which could be adjusted.
There was a ‘Go-Pro’ bracket above the forehead and my own, fitted the bracket perfectly.
Just wearing this mask at home it was obvious how different it feels compared to the old type mask, the in-mouth type snorkel that usually accompanied us to somewhere hot and with clearer waters. This new mask really was a new experience, comfortable and easy to breath through with the snorkel coming off the front of the forehead, all part of the mask.
It came in 2 parts and the snorkel part clips on and off the mask, when we compared them side by side with the old type it actually looked easier and more compact to pack than the old tube snorkel.
So July came and it was time to use it. The clear warm waters of Barbados gave me the perfect opportunity to put this full face snorkel to the test. Initially, being on a beach and watching those in the water still using the old type, this was my chance to show it off.
Popping the mask over the head, it felt like putting on a military respirator. The entire face was covered and the two tabs on either side of the chin were pulled and the mask tightened to give an air tight seal. People were certainly interested and was a talking point at the bar later on.
Getting in to the water was easy, the all round vision from inside the mask was obvious. Very little obstruction and very comfortable. Breathing was not restricted and the whole thing was very comfortable, even in the heat of the Caribbean sun beating down, it did not feel claustrophobic. The only thing left to do was to get under water and try this thing out.
Submersing and starting the first snorkel adventure was a little daunting, being used to the old type snorkel it was a completely different feel. It felt so free and unrestricted, it felt like something was not right. But once the initial worry passed it became obvious why this really is a massive step for snorkelling in general.
The view under the water was amazing, the clear large eye opening gave amazing views, we had to get used to the air circulation that came through the enclosing mouth part, along the inside of the visor to keep it moisture free but again when we got used to this function it was easy to ignore and enjoy the sights.
Breathing was so easy, there was nothing in the mouth and not restrictive at all.
Putting it through its paces
For the more experienced of snorkelers, who enjoy going down to the bottom, there is a technique to clear the pipe on the way up. I had to try this mask out. Tightening the straps up I went down, the seal remained in place and no water crept in. Holding my breath the snorkel sealed well with the large marble in the valve, and being under the water it was a joy. Nothing creeping down the tube straight into the moth (as the old one allowed) no pressure on the teeth just holding your breath and swimming.
Coming up, out of the water the mask performed well, I tried blowing out but this let water in around the face, so I decided to only clear the tube when on the surface and this worked well.
This mask is well worth the £30 price mark and for those that do not enjoy snorkelling but love the idea of seeing fish under water, this mask will change your mind. For those that enjoy snorkelling and want some more comfort then these masks will seriously make a difference.