Learning to scuba dive can take several days (especially if you need a refreshing course in swimming underwater or if you want to do it out in the open). Snorkeling, although exciting, has its limitations.
Enter snuba diving.
Snuba diving is the perfection marriage between snorkeling and scuba diving. It allows you to swim underwater with no previous training and no matter your age. In fact, kids as young as six can try snuba diving after just a few minutes of training and instructions. Because there’s no extensive training required, snuba is much cheaper than scuba. A typical scuba diving certification program will cost you U$400 or more. However, you can jump into the water and try snuba diving for as little as U$100.
During a snuba diving session, you’re supplied with a diving regulator (breathing mask), goggles, a weight belt and flippers, but instead of wearing an oxygen tank, your mask is connected to a thin hose. That hose goes all the way to the surface, where it connects to a floating oxygen tank. The tanks are usually located on board pontoon rafts. This allows you to get all the air you need without having to worry about the extra weight and the training required to handle an oxygen tank.
Most snuba diving outfits offer a hose that is about 7 meters (23 feet) long, so you have a chance to truly explore underwater without having to worry about decompression sickness or other dangers associated with scuba diving. Because you’re always connected to a floating raft, you can always return to the surface and hold on to rest or if you feel uncomfortable. This is great for people who are slightly apprehensive about diving in without a “security net.”
In Phuket, snuba diving tours are usually organized by the same outfits that offer snorkeling or scuba diving. A favorite destination for snuba diving is around the Phi Phi islands, where the coral reefs are, but other locations around Phuket are also available. Snuba is always done with a guide or instructor nearby to help you feel comfortable and guide you as you learn your way underwater.
When choosing a snuba provider, remember to ask whether they participate in the Reef Alliance program. If they say yes, this means they strive to protect the reefs and “leave nothing behind” that could harm the environment and the creatures that live in it. Aloha Snuba Thailand and Phuket Scuba Club are considered two of the best snuba providers in Phuket and good options to try if you want professional guides and top-of-the-line equipment.