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Published January 9th 2017
Take a dive and leave the heavy equipment afloat
If you're looking for ways to cool off in Adelaide's unpredictable (yet brutal) heatwave and know how to swim, then here's a water sport that you must try - SNUBA. Having been around for over 20 years worldwide, SNUBA has recently made a breakthrough in the Australian market.
Contrary to the belief that this might be a typo, SNUBA is the amalgamation of elements from snorkeling and scuba diving, where you are able to dive into the ocean without the need of a diving license.
Port Noarlunga SNUBA is the first and only licensed business in Australia that provides us with the luxury of being able to participate in SNUBA. Having been around for the past six years, the business has started gaining popularity in recent times. Ben Walker owns and operates the SNUBA tours during the summer season every year. He wanted to share his passion and love for the ocean with those who have always felt like the need for a diving license was a setback from letting them explore and unearth the beauty that resides deep in the ocean waters.
Ben says, "there are so many snorkelers out there that will never go scuba diving because they're too intimidated and scared, or they do not want to invest their money and time into extensive training".
Thus, Ben hopes to provides his PADI-certified training in scuba diving as well as SNUBA diving to take small groups out to sea and provide tour participants with a fresh, new perspective on the marine life that resides right underneath the Port Noarlunga jetty. He also hopes to provide an easy and fun-filled experience to his customers by eliminating the need for bulky equipment (air tanks) and expensive and extensive training (a diving license) to explore the ocean up to a maximum of 6 metres underwater.
You can opt for a 2-hour group tour with up to 6 people ($99) or a solo tour ($199), where Ben will guide you through the main points along the reef. You can feed the fishes that swim by the jetty, touch the ocean bed, and generally marvel at the beauty that surrounds you while you're underwater. You also receive a briefing beforehand, where you are provided with a rundown of the tour, along with "sign language" that Ben uses throughout the tour to make sure you're comfortable and enjoying the tour.
Equipment provided include a wetsuit, a mask, a pair of fins, and a lightweight belt that can help you go underwater. Benny is a very laid-back, chilled guy who is ever ready to answer any questions you might have, so don't feel shy to ask questions, because chances are that others participating in the tour may have the same queries in mind.
Upon embarking on my 2-hour tour with Benny and a beautiful family from the US, I was exposed to some of the most picturesque views underwater. Fish seemed to swim alongside me, not feeling afraid and being ever so gentle and friendly, especially when Benny provided them with some delicious nibbles to munch on. We were surrounded by colours of turquoise, blue, and green shades of water (depending on how far down you went in the water). While we didn't see dolphins, the fishes swimming with and around us certainly made up for it.
Preparing to meet with our underwater friends (Photo by Jessie Krieg)
Additionally, we got to experience some perfectly preserved reefs that were in hues of orange, red, and beige. It was also nice to see the locals joining in with the fun, by bringing their own equipment and snorkelling in the ocean. The fish must be well used to humans frequenting their environment (and to Benny, who regularly runs tours during the summer season), so there's nothing to be worried about.
It's a whole new universe when you go underwater and the beauty that lies there is unimaginable and breathtaking. Benny's relaxed attitude and love for the ocean puts our nerves at rest prior to and during the tour, so you can be assured to be in good hands. While I was struggling to feel comfortable enough to go to the bottom of the ocean, I still feel like I got a lot out of this experience by snorkelling and going just a bit under the water. As Benny said to me after the tour, "no one can really fail at SNUBA-ing". It's all about your level of comfort, how well you can get used to the equipment, and basking the serenity of an underwater life.
Holding a starfish during the tour (Photo by Port Noarlunga SNUBA)
Summer season has been on and off this year for Australia (and for Adelaide), so if you've run out of ways to stay cool, I'd highly recommend this semi-extreme water sport. Beginner or expert, this sport is for everyone from 8-80 with good health and good swimming skills.