Why Are Galen and Nicole Snorkeling Around the World? Do They Do Anything Else?

Nicole and her dog Ginger.

Hi. We are Galen and Nicole, authors of this site and our eBook snorkeling guides. It probably goes without saying, but we are really in love with snorkeling, the underwater world, and thoroughly enjoy sharing all of our travel stories, pictures, and snorkeling tips with you.

Traveling has always been our passion and we try to take two or three long snorkel trips a year, in warm tropical waters. So no, we are not snorkeling non-stop around the world, but we do visit as many places as we can.

We both also love hiking (with our ridiculously loved dog Ginger) in Washington State, our home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. This is often a nearly underwater experience (it rains a lot here).

Nicole and Galen and their dog in the forest of the Pacific Northwest.
Nicole, Galen & Ginger on a hike in the rainy Pacific Northwest

Galen is also an avid small boater and tinkerer, with maybe an incy-wincy boat addiction problem. Besides snorkeling, nothing makes him happier than an afternoon of dinking around in a sailboat in the waters off Port Townsend.

Galen sailing a small wooden boat on Port Townsend Bay in Washington State.
Galen sailing in Port Townsend Bay

When we started Tropical Snorkeling in 2006 we knew we wanted to write better snorkeling location and equipment guides than were available, to help snorkelers have great experiences. But back then we could not have realized how wonderful and large of a snorkeling community we would end up belonging to, and supporting. Or that we would be working with companies to help bring snorkeler-centric services, products, and travel opportunities to our community.

Well, lots of gray hair later (for Galen at least), with new pairs of reading glasses everywhere, we are still plugging away at this project. We have many places we still want to snorkel, and another decade of work and travel planned to help snorkelers.

How It Began – A Hard Knocks Lesson Leads to a Better Life

Prior to this we owned a natural health and massage business. We worked our tails off on it and nearly destroyed our own health and happiness in the process. Working from 8am to 8pm in a building was not what we wanted for our lives. It was a torturous choice at the time, but we sold the business, and it was the best decision of our lives.

Do What You Love

Looking down at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii from the hills above.
Looking down at Kealakekua Bay

You have heard that before, right? Hawaii here we come! Directly after selling our business we housesat for some friends on the Big Island of Hawaii for a couple of months. It was on Kealakekua Bay, one of our favorite snorkel spots. We snorkeled a bunch, ate lots of dark chocolate macadamia nuts (and drank lots of Kona beer!), and thought about what we wanted to do next.

The Problems We Encounter as Snorkelers

School of Pennant Bannerfish backlit in blue ocean, taken in the Maldives.
School of Pennant Bannerfish in the Maldives

On that trip and others we encountered the same problems, over and over. Most of the information available on the web and in books is focused on diving. Even the books that say they are diving and snorkeling guides generally have some pretty worthless, dated, and incorrect snorkeling information. And when snorkelers join a diving boat trip, the priority is on going to the best diving spot, which often leaves the snorkelers exploring a spot that is too deep to enjoy.

Well, diving and snorkeling are two different things. Diving is a wonderful activity, but snorkeling is not some lesser cousin, and snorkelers are not just beginner divers. Actually there are over three times as many snorkelers as divers. Yet, for some reason, snorkelers are often treated as second-class citizens, a feeling we have heard many snorkelers express. As snorkelers we want and deserve better destination information and service. So we decided to do our best to create it ourselves, and to build a supportive snorkeler community.

And now, with climate change doing so much damage to shallow coral reefs, there is the additional challenge of finding healthy reefs.

Over a Decade And a Half Later

For many years we worked part time jobs, so that we could travel and write. And it has grown enough that for the past several years we do this full time.

Most recently we got involved in an extremely time consuming house building project, which took twice as long as expected, and distracted us from our website work and travel. Happily we are back at it with a vengeance now, with lots of trips in the pipeline!

It’s a Passion and a Small Business

G&N Web Publishing is our little company of two (three with Ginger). We work our tails off on this, and travel is expensive, so having a successful small business is essential.

Galen is more the longer term big picture person, Nicole is better at the important fine details. Galen has more experience in photography, although we both take pictures. We both write, but Nicole is the editor. It’s a good partnership.

We try to keep these principles firmly in mind with everything we do:

  1. Help snorkelers
  2. Be honest
  3. Work hard, but have fun and take care of ourselves
  4. Snorkel the world!

Obviously we have income from our eBook snorkeling guides. We also make commissions from many of our partners for trips and equipment we recommend. So you can help us by using the links on this website for purchasing products, and it does not cost you anything extra.

What We Are Most Proud of So Far

What’s in the Future?

  • We are really looking forward to upcoming new snorkel trips.
  • Continued reviews of new snorkeling equipment.
  • Expand our snorkeling photography resources, education, and tips.
  • Continuing to listen to the needs of our community.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful journey so far!

Galen and Nicole standing on a remote sandy beach in the Maldives at sunset.
Galen and Nicole on a remote beach in the Maldives

How to Contact Us

Use our contact form and we will get back to you quickly.

You can also send mail to us at our private home office:

Galen Piehl & Nicole Atkins
4711 Emerald St.
Port Townsend, WA 98368