Our resident guru of all things wilderness, Risdon, had a chat to MD2 surfing and snorkelling enthusiast Mei Mei Wang. She had some sound advice about preparing for any upcoming water based trips you might have.
Risdon: When did you first realise you had a passion for snorkelling?
Mei Mei: It was about an hour or so before I made my first trip. At first, I was like ‘holy moly this is expensive. What kind of messed up capitalist propaganda scam are they running here’, but then I just told myself that I’ll be a filthy rich doctor someday and just enjoyed the excitement of it all.
Risdon: Where is your favourite snorkelling hangout?
Mei Mei: Thailand, I went ten years ago and there was very little bleached coral so that was cool. Also, I feel as a kid you get this sense of wonder at snorkelling – it’s a whole new world down there so starkly different from anything we land lubbers normally experience.
Risdon: Snorkelling is a pretty dangerous sport have you had any injuries or close encounters?
Mei Mei: This one time my top lip became incredibly swollen. It had this botox injection gone wrong kind of look to it. I don’t know if it was the saltwater or maybe I’d been stung by some weird lip loving jellyfish. My hunch though is that the dodgy rusty snorkel I was using gave me temporary lip tetanus.
Risdon: Just like there’s a pretty big surf culture would you say there exists a snork culture?
Mei Mei: Yeah definitely. I mean the surfers think they’re so cool with their co-ordinated turns and how they look super fly all the time. I mean it is kind of rad but it’s not all about shredding the gnar. Snorkelling has this kind of laid back go with the flow sunburnt calves’ kind of vibe. I’m talking the kind of sunburn that feels like your body has been frequenting a solarium located in the suns core. Once you’ve shared that kind of pain you are bonded for life. I guess it’s kind of similar to completing a medical degree.
Risdon: If you could Snorkel anywhere in the world where would it be?
Mei Mei: Without a doubt it would be Phillip Island! I hear they have penguins down there and the water has some sort of seaweed spore that does wonders for your skin.
Risdon: As you’ve mentioned Snorkelling is a lot of fun but it can also be quite physically and mentally tough. Any tips for new players?
Mei Mei: Very true! It’s a common misconception that you can just throw on some goggles grab a snorkel and get into it. There is a lot of behind the scenes work before that performance. I put in a lot of research hours with the likes of Blue Planet, Finding Nemo and the Sharknado’s one through to six (a personal favourite being Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!) The research is important, I mean you wouldn’t go to a lecture without at least having a flick through the pre-reading, same with snorkelling.
To get into shape I feel it’s important to get used to the apparatus. A few weeks out from the trip I normally start wearing my mask in the shower and spend a few hours planking – as being able to lie prone is very important. Also, Where’s Wally Books are a pretty good way to get better at spotting things.
Risdon: Thanks for your time Mei Mei! Any Final words?
Mei Mei: No problem. I’m just thankful that I got the opportunity to learn how to snorkel and love passing on my wealth of knowledge to others. Come hang out with me at the WMMS trip and I’ll give you some pointers!
Note: Although Mei Mei’s advice may be hilarious it is not a substitute for proper training. All water based activities have the potential to be dangerous. If unsure about your abilities seek further training to ensure you are safe.