Snorkeling History

The roots of modern snorkeling Key West can be traced 5000 years back in history. Man has always been fascinated by the secrets of the ocean’s depth and so, over the years, technology has improved to facilitate this need to explore through snorkeling. Not just technology but efforts have also been put to make it safer, more enjoyable and much more educational. Marine life is full of wonders and snorkeling Key West enthusiasts have always found something to take back home in terms of experience and education.

Hollow Reeds as Earliest Snorkels - The earliest free divers can be traced back to 3000 B.C. and they were the sponge farmers in a Greek island called Crete. The modern snorkel was developed later but the earliest snorkels were just hollow reeds. Ancient divers used these reeds to breathe when they were submerged in water.

Animal Skins of Assyrian Divers - After that, as the world and technology progressed slowly but steadily, more complicated and efficient equipment was developed to pierce the ocean’s depths and surface alike. A bas relief from ancient times (from somewhere around 900 B.C.) reveals that Assyrian divers filled animal skins with air and then used them on their underwater explorations, so that the time of their dives could be increased.

Diving Bell - Alexander the Great was responsible for encouraging the development of the first diving bell in 333 B.C. This diving bell was a huge contraption which trapped a pocket of air when lowered inside the water. Through this device, divers could enjoy long dives without returning to the surface to breathe and this bell would allow them to breathe underwater.

By the year 1538, this technology of diving bell had progressed enough for 2 Greeks in Spain (Toledo) to experiment its effectiveness. Their demonstration took place in Tagus River where they used a large kettle to descend to the river bed’s bottom and then, they surprised their audience by returning absolutely dry to the surface, their candle still burning bright. The purpose of the diving bell was allowing stupendous feats to be performed and to facilitate underwater breathing.

However, the diving bell was rather limited when mobility was concerned. So, further attempts were made to find a way for divers to breathe air from the surface. Aristotle mentioned about divers breathing surface air with the help of a tube and he likened this contraption and the process to an elephant’s trunk.

Da Vinci’s Educational Sketches - Leonardo da Vinci, whose scientific sketches were full of marvelous devices of amazing accuracy, designed many diving apparatuses and they can be found in his collection. These apparatuses ranged from simple tubes (that allowed divers to breathe surface air) to a diving suit (which was self-contained in every respect). The modern fins also find a place in Da Vinci’s sketches in the form of swimming gloves with webbed fingers.

John Smeaton’s Invention of the Air Pump - However, people soon realized that tubes that connected divers to the surface had no great use because of water pressure below 1 – 2 feet was too much for human lungs to breathe in air.
However, British engineer, John Smeaton, invented the air pump in 1771, thereby opening new avenues in the world of diving and diving technology. Previously uncharted territories and depths were soon scaled and reached because of these air pumps which works by moving air through a couple of pressurized tubes. Using this invention, diving suits and pressurized suits started looking like a reality again. It was through this breakthrough that the SCUBA system was invented.

Modern Technology and Snorkeling - The current times use modern technology and more technically complex and efficient diving equipment has, thus, been developed. Not just that, even basic snorkeling gear has seen improvement and has become much more efficient. Driver’s safety is improved by using treated glass and for snug fitting goggles and masks, plastics and rubbers are used. The ocean’s atmosphere can be corrosive to normal materials and for that, improved materials came into being which withstood that atmosphere better. Also, these materials allowed better visibility underwater and improved divers’ experience overall. Snorkeling fins were another development which allowed all types of divers to navigate pretty easily underwater, were efficient and extremely easy to use.

Ultimately, it is because of these development and inventions of modern technology that snorkeling Key West and diving are such popular and still, safe hobbies to pursue.