When we first heard we were going to try SNUBA-diving off the Caribbean coast of St Kitts we didn’t know what to expect. As certified scuba divers, we were quite skeptical about this new sport. We had the preconceived idea that it would be limiting and we wouldn’t be able to see as much as we would while scuba diving. But it turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.
On our SNUBA experience with Kantours, our tanks were attached to a raft which could be pulled along as we explored the reef underwater. Each tank was shared by two divers, limiting the time that the group can spend underwater (usually a maximum of 25-30 minutes). The best thing about SNUBA is that only minimal gear is required – it felt exactly like scuba diving without the heavy gas tank.
Mask, fins, weight belt, harness and regulator were the only equipment that we needed. The lack of BCD and tank on your back was a big relief, making the experience feel more like snorkeling or free-diving. The fact that we were physically attached to a floating device made it easier for the dive master to control the group.
I found it easy to navigate without the weight of a gas tank and soon we were swimming alongside big coral fans and colorful parrot fish. Our diving guide even pointed out a hawksbill turtle to us and we stared in awe as it swam slowly alongside us. We also spotted a beautiful aero crab, a spider-like marine creature that tiptoed its way in our palm like an underwater insect.
On the other hand, there were some disadvantages to SNUBA from our perspective. The hose limited the maximum distance that we could swim away from the raft (usually around 6 meters/20 feet). This means that we wouldn’t be able to dive at our own pace nor go deeper than 20 feet. The constant pulling also felt somewhat uncomfortable. There was also the possibility of entanglement with other divers’ hoses so we had to be constantly aware of other divers’ positions.
Uncertified divers would be happy to know that SNUBA does not require a diving license and is a great alternative to snorkeling. If you are curious about scuba diving but don’t want to enroll into a one week course just to realize it’s not your thing, we highly recommend giving SNUBA a go.
Would we try it again? Hell yeah!
Wikimedia photo by Jim Mayfield