Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

Before The Snorkel, There was Free Diving

Woman swimming underwater

Join us on the Hoku Nui for the best snorkeling experience in Hawaii.  Our great crew will sail you out to Kealakekua Bay and you can hop into the pristine waters at the most famous snorkeling spot near the Captain Cook Monument.  Our crew will ensure you have a great experience whether you are a first time snorkeler or a seasoned pro.

Before the snorkel, there was free diving which was the old-fashioned way to swim underwater while holding your breath.  Free diving was practiced in ancient cultures to gather food, or hunt for certain items such as pearls and sponges.  Sponges were popular for bathing in early Greece and were mentioned by Homer and Plato.

According to Wikipedia, some activities that surround free-diving are traditional fishing including spearfishing, competitive and non-competitive free-diving, synchronized swimming, free-diving photography, underwater rugby and football.

There are also competitive free diving where participants attempt great depths or compete for length of time or distance on a single breath.  In the early days there were no mechanical devices that enabled people to stay underwater for long periods of time.

Free divers face the same problems with decompression that today’s scuba divers face such as blacking out or decompression sickness.

Pearl divers in the Phillipines often harvested large pearls from the Sulu Archipelago and large pearls were consulted property of the Sultan and selling them would be considered illegal and punishable by death during those early times.  In Japan, the ama divers started diving for pearls 2,000 years ago.

Free divers were also used to salvage whatever they could retrieve from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. During times of war, free divers would hunt sea beds where underwater barricades could be placed to defend against enemy ships.

Luckily today, we have more devices for everyone to enjoy the magnificent sea life under the pristine waters of the Kona Coast.




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