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teaching Snorkeling to senior citizen?

FlyKaesan

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Sometimes I ask such stupid questions....well most of the time...

I am taking my parents who are just retired to Maui. Is it possible to teach them how to snorkel? I took them to snorkel trip once and they got back on the boat after few minutes and never went back in. I ask why and they said they drank enough salt water for a year and don't want to try again.
I really want them to snorkel and find out how wonderful it is but don't want to force them too much. Maybe I will teach them at the pool.
 

falmouth3

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If they don't like it or don't want to like it, it will be very hard to make them enjoy it.

On the other hand, if they're willing to try again, I'd have them try the "dry" snorkels that keep the water from coming at the top. They still get water in them, but they are better than the old versions. Also, if they need vision help, get them to try the prescription masks. My husband was amazed at how well they worked for him.

I think your idea of experimenting in a pool is a good one.

Sue
 

Talent312

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I have heard reluctant or less agile snorklers say that they feel more comfortable when using a flotation device, such as semi-inflated inner tubes and those flexible soft-foam sticks. They place the floation device around their middle with the arms in front for paddling.

The flotation device keeps their faces+snorkels closer to the surface.
Inflatable vests tend to ride-up and thus, are less comfortable.
 

DeniseM

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They have boogie boards with viewing portals - maybe that would work for them. Or - you could try a snorkeling trip with instructors. I'd start with shore snorkeling, or the pool.

How did the drink the salt water? Through the snorkel? Taking their mouths off the snorkel?
 

Cathyb

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FlyK: We are 70+ yr olds who USED to snorkel a fair amount and have almost stopped. My reason is that I have so much trouble getting out of the ocean at places like Black Rock (we own at The Whaler and go almost every year). The waves returning back to sea knock me down and scares me. :eek:

My husband is just getting more 'frightened' he'll be pulled out to sea.

Thought I would throw these statements in from the 'elderly' standpoint for you to evaluate. We used to love to snorkel!!!
 

FlyKaesan

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They have boogie boards with viewing portals - maybe that would work for them. Or - you could try a snorkeling trip with instructors. I'd start with shore snorkeling, or the pool.

How did the drink the salt water? Through the snorkel? Taking their mouths off the snorkel?
When I saw them snorkel, I think it's the way they put on the mask. When they put their head on the water, it seems like the water kept on going in through the tube. Their tube wasn't straight up but side ways when they put their head on the water. I don't see myself when I am snorkeling so I don't know if my tube slides to the side or not but I do not have that problem. When the water gets in, I just blow them out.
 

FlyKaesan

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FlyK: We are 70+ yr olds who USED to snorkel a fair amount and have almost stopped. My reason is that I have so much trouble getting out of the ocean at places like Black Rock (we own at The Whaler and go almost every year). The waves returning back to sea knock me down and scares me. :eek:

My husband is just getting more 'frightened' he'll be pulled out to sea.

Thought I would throw these statements in from the 'elderly' standpoint for you to evaluate. We used to love to snorkel!!!
Is there anywhere in Maui where elderly people can snorkel without worrying about waves or worry about getting pulled to the sea?
When I go on snorkel trips, guides do not give lessons on snorkeling. I think I have to help my parents to the basics before going to the shore snorkeling. Acutally I guided my mom once and she loved it! I don't know if I should keep on guiding or maybe get a floating device to let them relax when they need to. I don't want them to step on any corals or any dangerous items.
 

Laurie

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Is there anywhere in Maui where elderly people can snorkel without worrying about waves or worry about getting pulled to the sea?
Not sure about Maui, but there are 2 great places for beginners snorkelers on the Big Island, if you can work in a second week: Kahalu'u Beach Park in Kona, where the water is shallow enough to stand up, and the warm ponds in Kapoho.

Last year we took my 86-year-old father to both places for his first snorkeling adventures, and he struggled with taking in seawater a lot at first, but was doing much better by the end of the trip. Kahalu'u even has a lifeguard - I asked him to keep an eye on my dad so we didn't have to hang so close by the whole time.

I'm not quite as elderly, but not such a strong swimmer and don't like to get smacked around by waves, so these are my favorite snorkeling spots too. Kapalu'u is teeming with beautiful fish and often sea turtles, and the warm ponds are heavenly.
 

UWSurfer

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I deal with waves all the time and have worked with ocean swimmers for years on how to get through and deal with waves. I've also been a diver for most of my years on this earth and have taught snorkling in the past, particularly in socal waters.

I was particularly surprised when in Hawaii to see the cattle boats with 100 - 200 people going out to a spot to snorkle and just how low the bar is. On the trip last April off Kona I was required to have a floatation vest (insurance rules) (SIGH), and saw lots of people swimming around with foam noodles under their arms to aid in floatation as well as those using boogie boards with port holes in them to peer underwater.

Frankly THIS IS NOT what the diving community would call snorkling skills, but rather adaptations to get the masses to experience some very pretty underwater sites. I think this is fine, but I wouldn't call this snorkling.

However, given that this seems to be the normal in tourist operations, with a little practice in a pool or non-wave environment, your parents could do very well. The main skill to learn is not to breath through the flooded tube (snorkle) and how to clear it. It can become an unconcious, reflexive action but usually takes time to become sensitve to the resistive pressure when breathing and to differentiate between a flooded tube and a clear one. It also requires discipline and technique. I recall breathing in quite a bit of water learning it and still occassionally inhale when all is not clear. (cough)

BELIVE IT OR NOT, YOU CAN BREATH THROUGH A FLOODED SNORKLE TUBE, but you must do it very, very slowly. If you find yourself with time and are in a comfortable setting, you can try this but again it takes practice and should be in a depth you can stand in. Remember, breathing in water is also the definition of drowning!

I personally found it annoying that I was required to wear additional floatation gear because the ability level of people they take into the water is largely so poor. (Wow I'm grumpy this morning!!!)
 
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Mimi39

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As a senior I would advise going to a place where they can walk in from the beach to a place that is in a bay like the one near Kona on the Big Island rather than jumping off a boat and dealing with currents and waves to get back, this has always worked for me. Also a senior friend tells me that if they wear dentures to just forget about it, the mouth piece on the snorkle can pull the dentures loose!
 
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DeniseM

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When I saw them snorkel, I think it's the way they put on the mask. When they put their head on the water, it seems like the water kept on going in through the tube. Their tube wasn't straight up but side ways when they put their head on the water.
That would indicate that they didn't connect the snorkel tube to the strap of their masks and it was just hanging loose and would definitely take in water.

They would probably feel more comfortable in the water if they wore the water skiier type life jackets that you can rent at the snorkel shops every where. That would allow them to float in a vertical position while clearing their snorkel/mask and require a lot less effort to stay afloat, as well.
 

jacknsara

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Aloha FlyKaesan,
Since I do not understand the particular problem, I do not know if this will help solve it, so with that disclaimer:
http://www.finisinc.com/products-tr-snorkel.shtml
http://finisinc.com/pdfs/SwimmersSnorkel_PDS.pdf
For completely different reasons, I use a snorkel that has its own strap and goes to the front not the side. The tube extends out to clear over the front & center of the mask. Potential advantages for your situation include ability to accurately adjust the position of the snorkel prior to entering the water and absolutely no bite pressure required to maintain a water tight seal (seriously - just remember to keep the lips of your mouth closed around it). It takes practice to get used to adjusting this type snorkel, so at least one visit to the pool prior to ocean use is essential.
I saw other people at the pool where I work out using this snorkel. I swim very fast. I was having a problem with a conventional snorkel pulling out of my mouth due to the pressure of fast water. The centerline design of this Finis snorkel looked like it would solve that problem, which it did. A big bonus was the complete elimination of jaw fatigue. Once I learned to adjust it so that the mouthpiece hung in exactly the right spot, I discovered that I did not have to bite it at all.
Good luck with your challenge.
 

Passepartout

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I think your best shot at success will be in a pool. First in about waist deep water to get them to put on the mask and get a good seal. Then to practice holding their head so that the snorkel tube is close to vertical and blowing out *hard* first to expel water from the snorkel before breathing. Next, bend over putting the head under water looking around. Then move on to a little deeper water and transition to swimming. When they are comfortable going this far, they might be ready to snorkel off a boat, but wading out from shore and dealing with waves still might be off-putting.

I had my at-the-time 78-year-old mother snorkeling in Hawaii several times. She loved it! Darn near drowned smiling and pointing at the beautiful fish and underwater sights. She'd smile and her mask would lose it's seal around her high cheekbones. It was funny as all get out! The outfitter had put a flotation device on her, so no danger.

On the other hand, my DW- not a strong swimmer by any means, absolutely panics at the thought of putting her face underwater. We couldn't get to the second step above. It kind of puts a cramp on the type of vacations we book. Oh well.

Good luck getting your parents snorkeling.

Jim Ricks
 

Cathyb

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There is a beach down near Kahana that you can walk in -- but do it very early in the morning because as the day goes on, the waves get much stronger. Maybe someone on TUG can tell you where I am talking about.
 

Liz Wolf-Spada

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I have some problems with snorkeling and so I don't even try, but I swim and look at fish by just wearing prescription goggles. Yes, I have to come up for air, but it feels more natural to me and I love being in the water. One thing I noticed watching my friend snorkel when I was onshore, is that the water was pulling her out and I wasn't sure she was aware of it. (She had been concerned earlier about her swimming strength.) I realized it happened because when you keep your head underwater for 20 minutes or so at a time, it is easier to lose track of where you are. I guess all I'm trying to say is, you can enjoy the water and the fish without snorkel gear.
Liz
 

Timeshare Von

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I must admit a love/hate with snorkeling, the actual act of doing it. I love the see the underwater life and swimming in general. Some days, the gear just doesn't work well for me. Everything from fogging up to not getting the dry snorkel "just right" creates frustrations. Sometimes I get upset enough I say "never again" but I calm down and the next day give it another try.

I imagine as I get older (I'm 50 now) I will become increasingly frustrated and probably less patient (if that is possible) and give it up. But for now, I still love looking foward to doing it . . . and once in comfortably . . . happy doing so.
 

Dollie

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We are part of the over 60 crowd and still enjoy snorkeling. I am more timid at it than my husband; he is a much better swimmer than I am. Last time on Kaua`i we took a guided snorkel trip on Tunnels Beach with this tour http://www.alohakauaitours.com/seafun/Detail%20Description.htm . Even though this is not Mau`i, you might be able to find a similar tour.

The points that I liked and might also appeal to your parents included: they supplied all the gear including wetsuits (to the knee and elbow length) which gave you a little more warmth; they instructed you how to put everything on for a tight fit; showed how to stop fogging; they took along a surf board that had rope handles along the side and one of the instructors was constantly with the board. Weaker swimmers and nervous people could hold onto the board and be pushed through the water by the instructor, no problem with currents, a place to rest, and some people actually lay across the board and just looked down into the water.

I found I liked snorkeling a while with the group and then would go to the board for a rest. Worked out quite well.
 

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Love Snorkeling!

Never snorkeled until after I was 50. I do not consider myself a strong swimmer ... I prefer a pool where I know where the bottom and sides are! Howwever I was determined I was going to snorkel in Cozumel. My recommendations.... definitely start in a pool....but even before you get in the pool make sure they feel comfortable with the mask on...and won't panic if they feel they "can't breathe" As noted by others, make sure the snorkel is attached to the mask. I learned in a pool. For me, I loved having the vest when I entered the ocean...so I did not have to worry about "swimming" I couldn't get enough snorkeling (both shore and off a boat) once I started....and I am usually not comfortable at all in the ocean. IF you snorkel off a boat. see if you can find a boat that has a staircase the opens down into the water. You can walk down the stairs and just swim into the water. It's SO much better than having trying to get down a ladder and perhaps dislodging your mask as you hit the water. Also you don' t have to worry about having the strength to get back up a ladder. Hope they will try again!!
 
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