When we bought our gear, snorkels and masks were one of the very first things we got. I was way more concerned about color than anything. I wanted it all to match.
The snorkel (a brand name in scuba diving) started breathing wet about a year into ownership. It never bothered me much. I didn't use it much diving, and when I did snorkel, I was able to just shoot the extra water it had taken on out. I looked just like a whale spouting, and it helped hubby keep track of me :)
Things changed when I had to complete the 800 meter/ yard (whatever, stinking long is all I know) swim for the divemaster program. We had to keep our face in the water the entire time, breathe through only the snorkel and we got to use fins.
Oh, and it was timed.
So I knew my snorkel wouldn't cut it and I couldn't use hubby's cause we would be doing it at the same time. I came up with the brilliant idea of just getting a cheapy one from the general all purpose store. Big mistake.
To make my idea even more brilliant, I cut it off so the tube would be a lot shorter, therefore having less "dead air." (a concept I had just learned about in divemaster class)
So the time came. We were lucky enough to do it outside in the quarry, as it would have been extremely difficult going back and forth in the pool with our big fins on.
The instructor said go. We went. And about 50 yards into it, I stopped and yelled to hubby "go on without me." And I swam back to shore. I was just about dying. I couldn't get any air at all. So I trudged back and explained I couldn't do it because of my snorkle. The instructor saw it and began laughing hysterically at my homemade cheapy contraption.
One of the other girls in the class offered hers. And one of the other students (who had just purchased the fabulous and wonderful scuba pro split fins) offered me her fins. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to try the new fins AND maybe get a great score.
So I cheered and rooted hubby on till he finished and then I started again, all on my own. No way to gauge my speed, but I could look at my watch for time elapsed.
The borrowed gear was great. The snorkel stayed dry and worked great. And those fins!!! I'm saving up for a pair.
I ended up passing and getting four point out of five for my time. It all worked out. But I learned that those cheapy snorkels are for nothing but pictures and a good laugh.