The best thing about my recent Mallorcan holiday was leaving the girls on the beach nattering about knitting patterns or Emmerdale or whatever and donning my snorkel, mask and flippers and striding into the inky, bottomless, widow-making ocean... full fathom five thy father lies, of his bones are coral made... pretending I was Jacques Cousteau or Sean Connery in Thunderball or perhaps Jürgen Prochnow off of Das Boot. I may be a newcomer to this activity but that hasn’t stopped me compiling an authoritative list about it:
”DREADNOUGHT” DILO'S DOZEN DOS & DON'TS (ABOUT SNORKELLING)
1: No fish, however exotic, looks like a used condom. They’re easy to catch but really not worth the bother.
2: Jellyfish stuck in your snorkel? Stop sucking!
3: Snorkellers are a silent fraternity: if you wave to them either they’ll not see or they’ll think you’re a twat.
4: Your snorkel says a lot about you – everything, in fact, when you’re cruising, “periscope up” - so make sure you get one that’s handsomely proportioned and in this year’s fashions.
5: If there’s no fish, it’s not an unlucky day - you’re near an industrial waste pipe or a nuclear power station.
6: Develop a birdwatcher’s mindset: be as happy to see three different types of small grey fish as you’d be to see one enormous red and blue stripy one.
7: Resist the temptation to undo swimmers’ bathing costumes, even they appear to be fastened with a simple cord within arm’s reach.
8: Don’t go out expecting to find either sunken treasure or your dinner: you’ll be lucky to come back with an interesting bit of seaweed.
9: You can get really close to a shag: see where it’s perched on the rock, cruise up at periscope depth then resurface about a meter away!
10: Dive quickly flicking your flippers in the air: this makes you look like a dolphin, persuading women you’re a sensitive and beautiful creature of nature.
12: That’s it :-)
The Cousteau Society rather arrogantly describes itself as "Custodians of the Sea Since 1943". 1943, eh? "Custodians"? Did you know that we know more about outer space than we know about what lives at the bottom of custard? Fact, that is.