There’s something about being in the water and feeling like you become a part of the watery environment. It is overwhelmingly amazing – swimming around the corals and colorful Nemos. But have you always wondered how snorkeling started?
Modern snorkeling roots can be traced 5,000 years back in history. Humans’ fascination with the secrets of the ocean’s depth has always been there. As years go by, technology is improving to accommodate the need to explore more the depths of the ocean through snorkeling. There are also more efforts to make this activity safer, more enjoyable and more educational.
In 900 BC, Assyrian divers started using animal skins filled with air as their oxygen supply on their underwater explorations. This is so their time for diving could be increased.
Around 500 BC, the Greeks used hollow reeds so they would go unnoticed in the water and Persians would not recognize them. This allowed one soldier to swim surrounded by the Persian fleet but remained underwater using the only a reed. While underwater, the soldier was able to cut them free from their moorings thus avoiding an attack. Then, he went back to rejoin the Greek army by swimming.
It was in 333 BC when Alexander the Great encouraged the development of the first diving bell. This bell has trapped a pocket of air so divers could enjoy longer dives. This bell made them breathe underwater.
In the year 1300, Persian divers started making goggles from tortoise shells. The shells were sliced super thin just enough to make it translucent and polished it so stuff can be visible enough.
It was in 1400 when Leonardo Da Vinci first talked about air tanks in Italy. He also suggested to invent diving tubes, floats that contains air on the surface of the water up to totally separate diving suit.
Guglielmo de Lorena completed a shipwreck dive in 1531. He used a diving bell created by Da Vinci.
In the year 1538, two Greeks demonstrated in Tagus River the effectiveness of diving bell. They used a large kettle to descend deep down the river’s bed bottom and returned absolutely dry with their candlelight still burning, which astounded the audience. However, the diving bell had limited their movement. So this made them rethink of ways so divers would breathe from the surface.
British engineer John Smeaton invented the air pump in 1771. This expanded the world of diving. Inventors later see that air pumps along with pressurized tubes would allow divers to go much deeper.
It was in 1912 when Frenchman Louis de Corlieu invented modern fins. He was able to demonstrate it for the French navy. He was able to get the patent in 1933.
Guy Gilpatric had swim-dived using waterproof goggles based on the invention of Maurice Fernez in 1920.
During the modern era, the invention of rubber and plastic paved the way to create masks that fit properly without any water leaking. Materials that have been used are resistant to the ocean water and allows to see underwater better.