Monday, April 20, 2009


Evidence has shown that the history of snorkeling dates back to 3,000 BC. It was not known the use of the same technology we recognize nowadays. Although they were smart enough to use some simple ways of snorkeling as the nature has provided or as their fiction led them at this time. In 3,000 B.C., all what they used were hollow reeds to be able to breathe for a while underwater. The evidence shows that the sponge farmers in Crete used hollow reeds to breathe as they went looking for their sponges, or oysters.

By 900 BC, the Assyrian invented an easier method of breathing underwater as they used the animal skin for this purpose. They filled it with air and carried below the surface to breathe as the bas-relief depictions of Assyrians show.

The efforts were continued to invent a more simple way of snorkeling while the rule of Alexander the great as they used then a snorkeling bell to trap the air. These efforts were very acceptable in 333 BC as the invented bell kept the air inside it for a long period. They carried a massive bell apparatus into the water, which allowed breathing during descent.

In 1538, the air-trapping bell was somehow technologically advanced. The bell allowed explorers remain dry. In this year, two Greeks in Toledo, which is located in Spain, performed a demonstration in the TagusRiver, using a large kettle to descend to the bottom of the riverbed. It was a great surprise to see them returning to the surface without their clothes get wet and with a burning candle in their hands.

Although the air-trapping bell was useful for allowing people to remain below the surface for extended periods, there was a need to invent a simpler apparatus to make mobility of the explorers easier as the bell was limited in terms of mobility. It was also proven that using the bell for some feet depth under the water is not possible as the pressure increases. Hence, attempts were made to allow the explorer breathe directly from the surface air.

By the 16th century, Leonardo Da Vinci included a diving apparatus among his inventions several designs for diving apparatuses, which varied so widely from simple tubes leading to floats at the surface of the water to an almost completely self-contained diving suit. He even had a sketch for webbed swimming gloves, a forerunner of the modern fins. From here comes the idea of the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, which was developed later.

Once again, the idea of snorkeling under the water surface started to be more exciting when a British engineer called John Smeaton developed plans for the first air pump in 1771. The air pump preformed a specific procedure moving air through the pressurized tubes. It was amazing to get an apparatus, which enabled to descend to the depth then.

Soon, designs for pressurized suits and chambers were more practically made. This eventually led to the invention of the SCUBA system. The Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus developed quickly to go with the excitement of exploring the underwater world.

Nowadays, we witness a revolution in the developments of snorkeling and diving to meet the huge demand of science and tourism all over the world.

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