Sand, sun, and sea —three things that are on everyone’s minds when talking about a Hawaiian beach holiday. However, the appeal of a seaside holiday is not limited to what can be found above water. Many people head to beach resorts not only to sunbathe and swim but also to get familiar with the marine life that live below the ocean’s surface.
Snorkeling adventures are unlike any other, but there is some etiquette to keep in mind best described by the rule of “do not touch”. It is a straightforward and effective rule one should follow to avoid the risk of harming sea life and themselves in the process.
Don’t Touch Coral While Snorkeling
The corals are absolutely breathtaking. No matter how robust they may seem on the outside, they are incredibly fragile. Whenever someone touches the corals with their hands, they unintentionally disrupt the protective mucous layer that contains its microbiome, similar to the one we have in our gut. Inflicting damage or removing the coral’s mucous layer can severely hamper its health and well-being.
Even though corals may seem like stones or plants, they are actually the homes of fragile invertebrates. These colonies are easily damaged, so standing on them or touching them is a big NO!
Avoid standing on corals even if you’re tired of swimming. Rather, rest on your back and float for a short while until you regain the strength to move again.
Touching the beautiful corals is highly discouraged and locals conside it akin to running over a kitten with your car. Even though it may sound silly, corals also possess the capability to bite you when you touch them, causing painful stings or scrapes that can be complicated to treat.
Marine Life – Look But Don’t Touch
You know what it’s like when someone invades your personal space? Of course you know that feeling. Do you think fish feel any differently when they see you trying to crowd theirs? Giving fish their space allows you to observe them longer and under more natural circumstances. Swim too close to them and they’ll just swim away! Touching or harassing turtles, monk seals and other endangered species is not only inappropriate; in Hawaii it’s against the law and punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid touching anything in the ocean. There are many things in the ocean that are poisonous. You may not know about them all, but there are plenty of them.
For instance, picking up a beautiful little seashell or a cone shell when snorkeling can prove to be extremely harmful.
And while we’re on the subject of touching, don’t let jellyfish or Man o’ War touch you. Their sting hurts!