Avoid the Crunch! Your Guide to Underwater Snacking


Neither I, nor Maui Dreams Dive Co. endorse or suggest that you should attempt any of the acts described in this blog or the accompanying video.  All activities depicted and described were performed by professionals and supervised by safety personnel.

The French Classicist François de la Rochefoucauld once said,
“to eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”   

It is my [safe] guess that ol’ Frank wasn’t much of a SCUBA diver. He did, afterall, live roughly 300 years before his fellow countryman, Jacques Cousteau, the father of modern SCUBA diving. Had Le Monsieur Rochefoucauld been an avid aquanaut, he surely would have included a line referencing the utter stupidity of attempting mastication beneath the waves. 

Lacking his guidance and finding no related counsel from the renaissance onward, I did as any social media scientist would do and endeavored to answer the age-old question: what’s the best snack while SCUBA diving? 

Sushi would seem the logical choice, as we are often surrounded by it as we explore the ocean depths; but I am also keenly aware that the pallets of ocean predators also lean toward Japanese cuisine. With the obvious choice eliminated due to the perceived hazards to my appendages, I went on an adventure to the grocery store in hopes of procuring some of my favorite terrestrial snacks for this scientific research. 

Several factors went into the selection of culinary delicacies that I would sample.

First, the snack must have packaging that would be either easy to secure and dispose of post-dive (the ocean has too much of our trash in it already!) or biodegradable and ocean-safe. Bananas and oranges fit well into this category as nature provides a reliable packaging system, so I tossed them into the cart.  

Next, I had to think about what would be relatively easy to process between my teeth. The items selected would have to either be bite-sized, or unlikely to spoil when exposed to water. Marshmallows came to mind given that their purely chemical makeup was likely to protect the uneaten bits of goodness in the bag and they are surely bite-sized. Marshmallows in the cart.   

Finally, as a child of the internet and social media era, I knew that no good viral video is complete without some obvious errors built-in. Enter: Gogurt, granola bars, and ice cream — all added to the cart. 

A handful of other items were selected based on input from fellow scientists interested in peer-reviewing my work: Swedish Fish (thanks for a terrible idea, Maddy!), Capris Sun, seedless grapes, dried fruit, string cheese, and champagne. 

So, with a trunk full of SCUBA gear and snacks suited for a middle school sleepover, I made my way to a pool owned by one of my research assistants. 

Before long I found myself extremely grateful for the small team of safety personnel both poolside and in the water with me.  Each bite came with a rush of chlorinated H2O eagerly attempting to make its way down whichever throat opening I made available. Choosing life, I probably drank an easy gallon of pool water before all was said and done. One star; do not recommend. 

Ultimately, I discovered a few things about eating underwater: 

First (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), if your air consumption rate is so good that you might get hungry while diving, consider using smaller tanks and taking surface breaks for lunch. For example, my co-worker Kelly can make a 50 cubic foot tank last somewhere in the two-hour range thanks to her surface air consumption rate of .2 cubic feet per minute (a good reason to take the Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty from her!). If she were on an 80 cubic foot tank like most of us, she’d need to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the water before she needed to change tanks. Be like Kelly: great air co nsumption; eat on land.

Secondly, if you insist (don’t) on eating while diving (just don’t…really), avoiding anything that requires a lot of chewing should be off the list. That means crunchy things like granola bars or chewy things like Swedish Fish. Not only will the amount of chewing required result in a need to constantly remove your regulator in order to masticate, but you will also get stuff stuck in your teeth and swallow a ton of water with each chomp. 

Conversely, food items that require little to no chewing are relatively easy to manage (THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD GO DO IT!). I found that squeeze packs of apple sauce, Capris Sun, string cheese, and bananas present only minor complications when compared to some of the chewier, crunchier items. 

Finally, if you are looking for a combo lift bag/snack, marshmallows are the way to go. I swear, if I’m ever on a camping trip that somehow turns into an underwater salvage operation, I will be more than adequately equipped! 

So, kids, if you are looking for that next hot date spot to take your paramour for a candle-lit dinner, just go ahead and scratch Ulua Beach off your list.  Based on my research, you’d have more success getting the candles lit than you would scarfing down your appetizers, and the a la mode dessert will come with a cloud of vanilla instead of a scoop.

Until next time!