With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Andy Torbet weighs up the romantic possibilities opened up by the prospect of a snorkel.

Although February is known for being the shortest, the snowiest or the leapiest, it is also notable for being the month of Valentine's Day. And what better way to spend quality time with your beau than by taking them snorkelling?

Bex and I often go snorkelling together, albeit less so now we've got two small children, but as they grow I hope so will our ability to go snorkelling as a family.

Why do we snorkel?

The vast majority of my diving these days is either for filming or exploration and so involves long, often cold, technical and cave dives using hypoxic gases, rebreathers and long decompression. Not only is this her idea of hell - quite sensibly many would argue - but even if she was enthusiastic about this type of aquatic activity it has little to offer in the way of spending quality time together. Even working as a buddy pair, you can operate silently and independently; there is little room for chatting, catching up and just hanging out together on these logistically intensive dives. With kit to build, check, sort and dress into, there's little time for pleasantries. The dive itself, which can be many hours in length and take up the majority of the day, offers zero opportunities for conversation or socialising. So, as much as I enjoy these trips, I'd not recommend them as a date.

Andy and Bex

By contrast, snorkelling presents the polar opposite. The mental and physical effort to prepare for a snorkel is not overly taxing, so you're not stressed before the activity begins. We can truly be in each other's company, chatting and catching up on all the time we've been apart. And when we're out at sea, even if only a little offshore, we are removed from every distraction - email, phone, social media, work and, dare I say it, the kids. There is just the two of us and the ocean.

The perfect date

I spent a great deal of time in 2019 working as a stuntman and the underwater stunt specialist on the new James Bond film. This meant the majority of the year was away from home, the kids and Bex. As much as going to the cinema or the theatre may seem like a great date, in reality, you spend the majority of the time in silence watching the performance rather than actually catching up and interacting with each other. So, an hour's snorkelling is an hour of focused time together, away from disturbances with time to actually talk and reconnect. And, rather importantly, it's low stress and high fun - a tryst like this isn't supposed to be dull.

As a date with your loved one, or even as a first date, I'd thoroughly recommend snorkelling. However, if you are considering undertaking some starry-eyed tube-time perhaps it would be best to propose the idea on February 14th but plan it for later in the year, when the weather and water are a little more enticing. There's little romance to be found in creeping hypothermia, zero viz and the possible involvement of the coastguard.



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Article by Andy Torbet for SCUBA magazine, Issue 99 February 2020. 

Image credits: Dan Bolt

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