Shoal Bay Beach Snorkeling
The MOST popular snorkel dive spot in Anguilla.
Monday 1 April 2019 06:24 GMT
North of the airport on the northshore of Anguilla, the snorkeling at Shoal Bay Beach is highlighted by three coral reef formations offshore. For the most part, there are scattered, decaying coral heads in each of the three coral formations. On the outer edges of the formations, there is the start of some new coral growth including fire coral and brain coral. The best Shoal Bay snorkeling is on sunny, windless days with calm surf where the visiblity may get up to about 25 feet.
The western snorkeling spot has more sea grass and is more frequented by sea turtles. The central snorkeling spot is popular since it is located in the center of all the beach action and tends to be more protected than the other snorkel spots.
The best Shoal Bay snorkeling is at the far right eastern point of the beach. There is a long offshore reef with an outer edge marked by three white buoys. Since there is some east to west current around the point, a good place to enter the water is just past the reef about 50 feet past the point. Then snorkel out past the outer offshore edge of the reef and drift dive with the current to the west following the white buoys. The new coral growth on top of the decaying coral formation is best where the current is flushing nutrients against the outer wall. There is a lot of new growth fire coral and brain coral. While snorkeling at Shoal Bay Beach, you may encounter parrotfish, sergeant majors, grunts, snapper, wrasses, blue tangs, trunkfish, lionfish and the occassional hawksbill turtle.
To reach the snorkeling on Anguilla, you will need to fly into St Maarten and then take a small connecting plane to Anguilla via Anguilla Air Services. If small plane bother you, there is a regular ferry between the islands from Marigot ferry port on St Maarten to Blowing Point Ferry Terminal on Anguilla. In either case, a passport is required on arrival into the island even by ferry, and there is a $20 USD departure tax per person.
The dive site is located 3.4 miles north-northwest of The Valley. There are plenty of beach bars and a couple hotels along this amazingly scenic beach with fine, soft sand.
Overall, Shoal Bay Beach is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 10 snorkeling dives in Anguilla.