Snorkeling in Cancun with Leonardo Da Vinci
What does Leonardo Da Vinci have in common with Xel-Há?
How modern snorkel was invented
Have you ever hear about Leonardo Da Vinci, the great artist who was born in Italia, in 1452? Maybe you’ve heard he was a polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Well, Da Vinci was also a great inventor and, you may not believe this, but he was the inventor of the modern snorkel!
Here’s the story. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist of the 1st cent AD, told about the first snorkels, made of the hollow reeds that are common to many lakes. But when Leonardo Da Vinci visited Venice, the “water city”, the Venetian Senate asked him to create a scuba gear for sneak attacks on enemy ships from underwater.
Da Vinci designed a diving suite equipped with a bag-like mask that went over the diver’s head. Attached to the mask around the nose area were two cane tubes that led up to a cork diving bell floating on the surface. Air was provided from the opening of the tubes to the diver below.
Da Vinci invented the scuba gear. His design is the predecessor of the snorkel that we use nowadays: a J-shaped tube that is open at the top and has a mouthpiece at the other end. It’s usually no more than 2 ft (61 cm) long. Of course, the snorkel can only be used when a diver is swimming face down near the surface. But it is definitely the easiest option to jumping into the magic aquamarine world.
It’s a pity that Da Vinci didn’t see Xel-Há, but, thanks to him, you and everybody can take a look to the amazing and colorful life of this paradise of the Mexican Caribbean.