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Reed Snorkel
"I don't care if you did see that in a movie, Gilligan is not breathing through that reed!"
—The Professor, Gilligan's Island. He's correct.

Plucking a hollow reed and using it to breathe while underwater.

This is an example of Reality Is Unrealistic: the major problem is not the pressure, which only becomes a problem as you go really deep (most people are swimming just a few inches below the water, hardly low enough to crush your lungs), but that the width of the reed (or snorkel) needs to get wider the longer the tube isnote . Otherwise you are just rebreathing the same air over and over, which will kill you after long enough. Unless you breathe out into the water, which defeats the purpose by highlighting your position with bubbles. Hmm... maybe you could do it with two reeds.

Examples:

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Anime and Manga
  • Orochimaru does it to listen to Team 7 in the Forest of Death in Naruto; significantly, he isn't underwater.
  • Done in Mahoraba during a game of hide-and-seek.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Sugiyama uses it to breathe whilst looking for tanks underwater. Since she isn't trying to hide, she could theoretically have done the "breathe into the water" technique.

Comic Books

Film - Animated

Film - Live Action

Literature
  • The Phantom of the Opera (novel version) not only did this, but he would also sing through it to get people to look overboard so he could pull them under.
  • Referenced in one of the Tiffany Aching Discworld books. Miss Tick considers being able to breathe underwater through a hollow reed after being tied up and thrown into a pond an essential survival skill for witches traveling through places where they aren't welcome.
  • The hero of the first book of the Sienkiewicz Trilogy uses this trick to escape from a besieged city.
  • Encyclopedia Brown has a story in which Encyclopedia's clue that the story is false is this trope. Being himself, he knows that it doesn't work nearly so well in Real Life.
  • Various Redwall characters use Reed Snorkels.

Live-Action TV
  • Rated "Plausible" by the MythBusters. They could breathe while remaining concealed underwater using a reed snorkel, and with a little practice they could also make it double as a blowgun, and hit a target above the water.
    • However, they were barely a foot from the surface, which makes their secondary objective of remaining undetected (it was a Ninja episode) pretty difficult in a perfectly still pond.
  • The page quote comes from the Gilligan's Island episode "Gilligan's Mother-in-Law". Ginger and the Professor are hunting for Gilligan when Ginger notices a reed sticking out of the water.

Real Life
  • "Brady's Leap". Sam Brady hid underwater breathing through a reed stem while escaping from Indians.

Video Games
  • In Tenchu 2, you can use this to become invisible in the water, which is slightly jarring as the water is depicted as crystal clear.
  • A breathing reed is one of the various items in Terraria, though its use is limited due to the shallowness it requires. You can breathe perfectly for up to three blocks underwater, and double your breath for any further depths. You also can't use any other item while using it, and due to the simplistic way the game handles water physics, you can easily dig air pockets above you even if you're in progress of draining an entire ocean.

Webcomics
  • Used in Schlock Mercenary. On an unknown, alien planet.
    Elf: How do you know these reeds are hollow?
    Kevyn: Reeds are always hollow.
    (Either Kevyn is referring to some kind of botanical rule - which seems unlikely, since he's a professor of subspace physics and not xenobiology - or he's directly referencing this trope.)

Western Animation
  • Race Bannon does this while approaching the tribal camp in the Jonny Quest TOS episode "Pursuit of the Po-Ho".
  • Sylvester tries this with a lead pipe to "save" Tweety, who is stranded by high tide, in one Looney Tunes short. Hilarity Ensues when a seagull decides to roost on the pipe.
    • In one of the first Sam and Ralph shorts, Ralph (who is unnamed in this episode) tries to use a reed snorkel to sneak up on the sheep. Sam (who's named Ralph in the short) shoves a stick of dynamite down the reed when he swims by.
  • A Tom and Jerry short has Tom use one to hide from a swarm of bees. It works until Jerry points the bees in the right direction.


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