By: Thoshlae Williams
Being an island girl, I learned to swim at an early age and I always loved the beach.
However, it wasn’t until I was around 11 or 12 when I was chosen to participate at scuba camp at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) that I saw just how beautiful our reefs and marine life are.
Please keep in mind I am no snorkeling or scuba expert. I only spent four summers obtaining a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Junior Open Water Diver certification.
I have been snorkelling on Bermuda’s South and North Shore. Completed one ship-wreck dive, night snorkel and seen some of the best places to snorkel accessible by sea and land.
Here are a few of my favourite snorkelling spots below.
Remember look but don’t touch! Corals take hundreds of years to form and the touch from humans can eventually kill species. If you don’t believe me read more here
- Elbow Beach
Located on Bermuda’s Southshore, Elbow Beach, is a tucked away gem that is worth a visit. To be honest I do not regularly swim here due to my distrust of the undertow on the Southshore. However, since I have been trying to take my husband to new beaches every time we are back on the Island we decided on this one since it is in a great central location. The beach is beautiful and luckily we went on a calm day. There a few reefs close to shore that have cool fish to look at. I remember the fish here being super friendly and swimming extremely close to us. Coming back to the issue of the current, the Southshore is famous for having a strong undertow. If you do notice you are getting pulled do not panic and swim toward the shore. Instead, make sure you swim in a horizontal direction before swimming towards shore.
- Tobacco Bay
Location: St. Georges
Tobacco Bay is becoming increasingly popular amongst locals and tourists over the last few years. If you are not staying in St. George’s or close to it be prepared for a bit of a journey to get there. I’m from Warwick and it typically takes me 40 minutes plus to get there by car. Aside from the drive the beach is lovely. With large rock formations on either side there is little to no current to fight. You can see small fish by the rocks. Also, there is very little seaweed. The best part is once you are done snorkelling you can head over to the beach bar to enjoy the relaxing vibes filled with music, drink, snacks and free wifi. You will also have access to equipment rentals and bathroom facilities.
- Gibbets Island Beaches otherwise known as “Police Beach”
Location: Smith’s Parish
I last snorkeling here in the Summer of 2018 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You have to park near the side of the road and there is not a lot of parking so you may want to get there early. The land is private but accessible to small respectful groups. What makes the beach nice is that it is somewhat enclosed by a small island which disrupts the current and makes the water calm. It is also a very shallow beach. You can walk a minute or two before reaching the reef formations and observing the varieties of intriguing coral and fish.
Location: Northshore Outer reef
Northrock, the largest coral reef in Bermuda’s outer reef is a breathtaking spot to visit if you have access to a boat or can book with a chartered tour willing to take you there. From my understanding a lot of tours choose not to go to Northrock because of the distance from shore. It is a 7 mile boat ride from the East and 20 miles from the West. If you are able to get there I am sure you will not regret it. You will see many marine organisms including fan and brain corals, plankton, krill and trumpet fish. Remember to stay with the group as it is easy to get lost and stick to shallower spots for snorkelling because you will likely see more.
- Whalebone Bay
Location: St. Georges
I have many great memories snorkeling at Whalebone Bay with the BIOS camp. The beach is accessible by sea or land and is part of Ferry Reach Park. Though it has been a few years since I revisited I recall the Bay being U shaped with a large rock and coral formation in the deep part of the middle. It is a great place if you are a beginner snorkeler because you can stay in the shallows snorkelling around the perimeter. Or if you are a stronger swimmer looking for more scenery swim out to the middle. At this location you will likely see parrotfish, lobster and at night bioluminescent phytoplankton that glow around you as you swim. Talk about experience of a lifetime.