News 09 Feb
Yes, you can go snorkelling with a disability!
By Adam Sheppard
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
For me, it would DEFINITELY be breathing underwater.
I have ALWAYS had a real fascination with the ocean. So it’s probably a good thing I grew up surrounded by one of the best natural and biodiverse oceanic playgrounds in the world. Thousands of different species of fish, rays, dolphins, sharks (my favourite giants of the deep), the humpback whale, and even the occasional sea turtle. Who wouldn’t want to get amongst these and spend some time beneath the waves?
Everyone knows the Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks. Movie World, Dreamworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild and of course, my favourite, Sea World. I’ve never really been one for rollercoasters or other thrill-seeking rides, but I am 100% all about the experience, so when I was recently gifted a Reef Snorkelling experience at SeaWorld Australia, I jumped at the opportunity.
This reminds me, have you ever seen a guy in a wheelchair with completely non-functioning legs try and find his way into a wetsuit? If you haven’t had the pleasure, let me tell you, it is something you’ll get a good laugh out of… I might even let you know the next time I attempt it so we can all have a laugh!
Anyway, back to the snorkelling.
The team at SeaWorld was fantastic. I had a good size accessible change room for the epic journey into my wetsuit. Even better was the waterproof wheelchair I could use to get down to the water’s edge because, let’s face it, wheelchairs and saltwater don’t play well together!
Once I had a quick discussion with the guide about any specific assistance I might need, I was straight into the water. Seeing these fantastic aquatic creatures in documentaries and magazines simply does not do them the justice they truly deserve. It’s not until you are swimming above a ray that is larger than the TV the vast majority of us have in our lounge rooms that you truly get an understanding of the phenomenal animals they are.
As a lover of all things outdoors and adventure, I am forever grateful that businesses such as SeaWorld choose to go the extra mile and are starting to understand the importance of inclusion for the community it serves and opening themselves up to a new demographic of customers.
With one in five people in our community identifying as having some form of disability, inclusion at parks such as this one is something I’m hoping to see become second nature in our community.
All image credits: (Adam Sheppard, 2021)
Every individual's ability to snorkel may vary. Please consult your doctor before participating in snorkelling or any physical activity to determine if it's suitable for you.