One Step Closer to Scuba – Snuba Diving

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Lanai, Hawaii

I have never had any interest in scuba diving. When my ex came to visit me and dive in Honduras, he took his advanced certification while I wandered around town with my camera.

But something changed when I went snorkeling with beluga whales in Churchill. When they started turning around to get a better look at me I wanted more.


But I did nothing.


Until today. I took the first step to see if it’s something I could actually do by snuba diving at Manele Bay.

Snuba is best explained as a cross-breed between snorkel and scuba. You use an air tank but it floats in a dingy on the water as you swim twenty feet underwater and no certification is needed.

Our guide Frank from Trilogy was great at explaining how to breathe and how to unplug your ears before you go deeper.

I got in the water and put the regulator on and steadied my breathing but as I put my face in the water I began to breathe more rapidly and felt panicky.


Oh no. I can’t do this.


(c) Trilogy, alas none of these people are me


I raised my head out and paused to tell myself to calm down. I focused on long breaths as I do in yoga and I felt the panic slowly slip away. I swam deeper to get a closer look at the brilliant fluorescent fish.

It was incredible.

Unfortunately one couple wasn’t able to overcome the understandable panic but Frank was great at ensuring they were okay while directing us towards schools of fish.

Snorkeling is great but being able to see where fish were hiding and feeding was amazing.

Frank then he signaled me in another direction and I realized we were in really shallow water.


Time was up and I was out of air.


Rather than be disappointed I’m taking it as a good sign that I wanted more. I’m finally ready for scuba lessons.

The only question is: where should I take them?




Disclosure: I was a guest of the LānaΚΉi Visitors Bureau, they did not ask that I write a favourable review or be slightly disappointed that Frank was indeed happily married.
 Image(c) gadgetdude

Join the Conversation

  1. I got my SCUBA certification in 2000. I love it! I’m sure you will too.

    Be sure to do your training with PADI. They are by far the best!

    Also, I would recommend only going with PADI Dive Centers when traveling around. Especially in 3rd world countries.

    Have fun! I look forward to more diving posts.

    1. I wouldn’t say PADI are necessarily the best but they are definitely the most widely recognised organisation throughout the world and that counts for a lot.

      I don’t think there is a great deal of difference between the major diving organisations. The basics of diving don’t change.

  2. Matthew Karsten says:

    Yay for SNUBA! It’s also fun to say. πŸ™‚

    How long did your air last?

  3. Annette | Bucket List Journey says:

    I have snorkled and scuba dived, but never knew about Snuba! Seems like a perfect adventure for the hubby and I until he gets certified πŸ™‚

  4. Susan @ Travel Junkette says:

    YAY! I’m so excited for you! I got my scuba certification in Taganga, Colombia. It was awesome.. but I’ve also really loved diving in Dahab, Egypt and the Philippines — and those places have cheap courses, too!

  5. Snuba or scuba…I think you are incredibly brave! I don’t think I could do it. I would totally swim with the belugas in Churchill though. Still jealous of you for that πŸ˜‰

  6. Sarahsomewhere says:

    Hey Ayngelina, I can really relate to this post, having developed a very slow, sneaking desire to dive (whislt being too lazy and scared to do the course). I did a similar thing in the red sea, Egypt, only the instructor swam above us, guiding us and our tanks. Slowly I am overcoming my fears (the bends! drowning! Claustrophobia!) so hopefully I can pluck up the courage to ‘take the plunge’ too.(excuse the terrible pun). Go for it!!!

  7. Chrystal McKay says:

    I’ve never been scuba diving. I don’t think I could take the pressure of the water around me. It just isnt’ for me. I’ll stick to Snorkling although this looks like fun since you don’t go TOO deep!

  8. Roy Marvelous says:

    Glad you liked it. I went once (in Barbados) and I was like “meh”. It just felt uncomfortable and claustrophobic.

  9. Arianwen Morris says:

    I get that panicky feeling when my head goes under too. Hated it! But I did get used to it after a while. I love your comment about ‘realising you were in shallow water’. No matter how observant I tried to be, I still got a shock when we surfaced. As for where to learn, I read that Colombia’s one of the cheapest places. Or Honduras. I learned in a swimming pool in the UK then completed the course with open dives in the Maldives. Can’t complain!

  10. This does sound scary, but it sounds like it was worth it. I’m so happy you’re getting your scuba certification now!

  11. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Wahoooooooooooo! Best decision you’ll ever make. I vote Great Barrier Reef!

  12. It’s a good way to ease into it. I remember feeling the same anxiety, but then I got used to it. If anything, getting a certification sort of opens up a whole new travel experience. Good luck in the next stages!

  13. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    I was very scared about getting my scuba certification… mainly because I always felt like I was about to drown when I was snorkeling. But it was definitely worth it when I finally did it. I was happy I picked a good school that did not rush through things, and I felt comfortable and safe the whole time.

  14. I’ve never been scuba diving but friends swear by it. I’m a bit afraid of the ocean but I love all the beautiful fish. Maybe I should try snuba some time…I’m so jealous that you’re in Hawaii, by the way.

  15. Snuba looks like great fun.
    I got my scuba certification in Ontario after an open water exam – a dive in Lake Ontario just after the ice left, with visibility of about three feet. I need to go somewhere warm and get my confidence back.

  16. My advice is to take “Introduction to Scuba diving” class…Usually these lessons are very cheap, and often can be credited to your Open Water class ( if you decide to take one ).

    The class is about 2 hours long and takes place in a swimming pool. It’s a great and safe environment to see if scuba diving is for you.

    It’s going to be different from snuba, not only because it has different equipment, but also because to get certified, you’ll be doing a lot of training ( clear mask, buddy breathing, swimming without a mask, orally inflating your BC )…

    I have to admit, scuba diving is not for everybody. I’m still a beginner, and after more than 50 dives, I still feel nervous every time I go diving πŸ™‚

  17. Everyone I knew in Playa del Carmen was doing some sort of scuba or deep-sea diving certificate. It’s a crazy popular thing there.

    I’m really so curious about what can be found underwater and would love the chance to swim with whales and sharks. Unfortunately I have a horrible fear of water which I don’t think I’m ever going to get over.

  18. This sounds really cool. I tried to get my scuba certification a couple years ago but I couldn’t clear my ears underwater, sinus issues, etc. But also in the process the idea of being that far underwater and having to remember all the little things you have to do really started freaking me out. I might be willing to try this at some point though. But snorkeling is fun too.

    P.S. Your disclosure made me laugh πŸ˜‰

  19. Don Faust says:

    We did the same SNUBA tour – it was a lot of fun and pretty effortless, without having to worry about having a tank strapped to my back. However, it was a good intro to help us decide if we wanted to get SCUBA certified, which we do.

    Did you have a chance to go in town to the Ohana Poke Market? mmmmmm

  20. Glad to hear you’re going to make the jump to scuba! The freedom it affords is amazing – being able to follow any fish, inspect under ledges, etc (all while watching your dive tables of course)

  21. Ahh.. I’m the same way. I never wanted to scuba dive (I still don’t have the desire) but I did love Snuba.

    My dad happens to be business partners with the guys who invented Snuba so we got a free Snuba adventure while we were on a family vacation in Aruba. I think that is as close to scuba diving as I want to get.

  22. Jonathan Look, Jr. says:

    Check out Utilla off of the coast of Honduras for learning to dive. World class dive instruction, a fun island and some of the best rates on the planet!

  23. Torre – Fearful Adventurer says:

    Ayngelina β€” come to Koh Tao, Thailand and hang with me on the beach and keep me company and drink cocktails with me and … oh … take Scuba lessons here. πŸ™‚ It’s one of the top places in the world for Scuba training (THE top place?). Ivan is currently getting his instructor training and will be ready to teach in about 3 weeks. I’ve been too scared to attempt it thus far.

    Did you know that when you get your advanced open water, you have to do a night dive?!! The good thing about learning in Koh Tao is that this island certifies 45,000 people per year, which means the sharks have 44,999 other people to pick off instead of you. Ivan has only seen 1 shark (reef) in 100 dives anyway.

  24. Alexandra says:

    I love the folks at Trilogy! Such a great tour company. Even though I am a Maui native I too am terrified of the snorkeling! I keep pushing myself. Went SCUBA diving in Bali and snorkled with Whale Sharks in the Philippines. It’s all about baby steps! I can’t imagine going on a night dive! Although I do think the night dive with the giant manta rays on the Big Island would be amazing! Good luck on your new mission of getting certified. I think you are a bit braver than I πŸ˜‰

  25. Cole @ Four Jandals says:

    Definitely get your certification! Well worth it and allows you to dive in so many places. Make sure the guides/dive companies you do go with are certified too though because we heard horror stories in Egypt when we were there.

  26. Oooh, hadn’t hard of this…might be a good transition for me as well! Something about SCUBA just seems terribly suffocating.

  27. I got mine many years ago and I was afraid at first but it was awesome and I’m so glad I did it. Though my mom was freaked out over buddy breathing and safety procedures.

  28. Leah Travels says:

    I’ve never heard of SNUBA before. It sounds like a good place to start for a beginner. I went SCUBA diving in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago and got seasick going out. I pushed on through and did the SCUBA anyway. It was fantastic. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

  29. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says:

    I’m a snorkeler but have never SCUBA’d. I’ve definitely felt a bit panicky at the thought of being that immersed in the sea… but this seems like a happy medium! Would love to try this.

  30. You should definitely learn to scuba! I wasn’t interested either until recently I was snorkeling in Thailand and I saw some learners scuba diving below – and it looked really fun!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Have you done it yet?

  31. Andrea @diveATW says:

    Thrilled you enjoyed snuba. If you’re interested in diving PADI is a great organization & recognized worldwide but other agencies such as SDI & NAUI provide education & are well known as well. I wish you success & great times in the water!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I heard from a few people that PADI is the most widespread and I would have the easiest time with them, is that true?

      1. Arianwen Morris says:

        I know I’m not a fountain of knowledge on this subject but I used PADI and they were great. It was really easy to arrange to start the course in the UK and complete it in the Maldives and the instructors were really helpful too. It’s the big one everyone’s heard of, so you wouldn’t have any trouble in future proving you’re certified…

      2. PADI are probably the best agency to study with as they are by far the most widely recognised.

        I don’t think PADI courses are any easier or more difficult to SSI / NAUI / BSAC etc. A lot would depend on your instructor.

        If possible, try to learn with a PADI 5* Centre as in theory, they should be a better standard.

  32. Michael Figueiredo says:

    I’ve been SCUBA diving three times (in less than 3 meters so I didn’t have to be certified, but have never tried SNUBA before. It sounds (and looks) like so much fun!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      SNUBA is pretty cool because you don’t have to wear anything on your back, much easier if you are only going 3 meters.

  33. Haven’t tried either since I’ve never been too drawn to it. I might give this a go, though. πŸ™‚

  34. Annie of TravelShus says:

    I have the same fears about scuba as you did and thought there was no way I’d ever figure out how to deal with it. This looks like a great middleground to get comfy with the idea of all that water and all that underwater breathing!

  35. Ava Apollo says:

    I also tried SNUBA before SCUBA and it got me totally hooked. Now I plan my destinations around whether I can dive there or not. It’s an addiction!

  36. I’d love to try snub, scuba diving, and snorkeling! I’ve yet to do any of these. My sister and I signed up for snorkeling in Hawaii ages ago, but the wind was strong and so was the current, so the boat had to be turned back around. Being underwater has to be like being in another world!

  37. Oops. *snuba*

  38. Audrey | That Backpacker says:

    I was a mess when I tried snorkeling, but it has made me want to try scuba. (Never heard of snuba until today!) I loved seeing what roams beneath the surface. πŸ˜€

  39. Elal Jane Lasola says:

    I totally freak out most of the time when I am in the water! Envy your courage. πŸ˜€

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Can you swim?

  40. Pingback: How to be authentic | GeoPosted
  41. Steve @ ImNotHome says:

    I’ve never heard of Snuba…

    Get your diving certification! It’s fantastic, so many amazing places to dive.

  42. This is cool — I never knew snuba was an option. Good for you for taking the plunge so to speak. I was very scared to scuba when I went to the Great Barrier Reef about two years ago, but you do calm down once you’re under and are mesmerised by everything around you. I hope you find a good place to take lessons.

  43. Jade Johnston says:

    haha disappointed that he was married? So I guess Canadian dating is not going well?

  44. Great job Ayngelina! With time and patience you can certainly overcome the fear of being underwater.

  45. Sean @ Outdoor Travellers says:

    This would be great for my girlfriend. She panics when we scuba dive, but I’m sure she’d be much more relaxed snuba diving!

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