Joint Scuba and Snorkel Trip – Can it Work?
In short, yes, a joint scuba and snorkelling trip can work but as with all trips only with a great deal of planning and working out everybody’s expectations of the trip. Firstly, let me mention, this isn’t going to be a trip report about visibility, depth or marine life, but a report on how snorkel and scuba diving can be combined.
This August we tried it out. Oxford BSAC are lucky enough to own their own hard boat, Endeavour, moored at Weymouth. With a boat full of 12 divers and snorkellers we left Weymouth harbour on a foggy Sunday morning. Fifty minutes later, with briefings completed on the way, the boat pulled into Worbarrow Bay, where the snorkellers got the first dive of the day. This gave the scuba divers 25 minutes to start assembling their kit.
As soon as the snorkellers were back on board, the boat headed out towards The Aeolian Sky. After waiting for the slack, the divers spent around 40 minutes under the water. The snorkellers took this opportunity to debrief and a quick brush up on compass reading on the deck space recently vacated by divers plus kit.
A spot of dolphin watching kept everyone entertained. We weren’t lucky enough to see any, although frustratingly the nearby dive RIB, who was sharing our shot line, shouted across that they had just spotted a pod of porpoises under their boat.
Once everyone was back onboard, the 30 minute journey to Durdle Door consisted of scuba debriefs and snorkel briefs.
It was now the snorkellers turn to enter the water again. A snorkel along the bottom of the cliff face around to Durdle Door arch against the current and an easy fin back to the boat took 20 minutes whilst the divers kitted up for their next dive.
Three scuba divers then entered the water on the same cliff face diving in and around the small cave formations. Meanwhile two other divers went slightly to the right around Man O’War rock which lies protecting Man O’war cove.
The snorkellers used this time and now clear deck to do the final debrief of the day, to get changed and neatly pack away.
After all divers were back, the boat was moved a little further out and two different scuba divers entered the water to follow the Winfrith pipe work.
A successful day was had by all, the scuba divers enjoyed 3 dives of varying depths, the snorkellers two different dives and the younger snorkellers enjoyed helping watch for the scuba divers delayed SMB’s to pop up and shouting ‘diver’s up’ when heads appeared in the water.
So back to the original question, yes, a joint trip can work as long as each group makes the best use of the gap between dives. Everyone needs to respect each other in terms of keeping out of the way when one group is kitting up, also keeping the deck tidy is paramount, and it goes without saying that there has to be enough biscuits and cake to go round!