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Travel Archives

The Red Sea
Mauritius
Snorkelling in the UK
Maldives


Snorkeling Travel Hot Spot the Red Sea

The entire family can participate in snorkeling at the same time, regardless of age, skill and physical fitness, the Red Sea is an ideal location for family snorkeling travel. In fact for snorkeling travel this is one of the easiest, most fun and most popular ways for you to enjoy the brilliant underwater world in the Red Sea with your family.

Snorkeling and free diving in the Red Sea is a way-of-life in Egypt, most guides have been exploring the sea’s depths since they were small children. As a result, they know where to go to give you a truly memorable snorkeling adventure on your snorkeling travels. A knowledgeable boat crew will help you to better understand the reef environment. Why not take a Red Sea reef fish guide with you on your snorkeling travels. Moreover, snorkeling is a great introduction to the underwater world and expanding your underwater knowledge on your snorkeling travels. The use of snorkeling equipment like a mask snorkel and fins enables you to witness the spectacle of a shallow coral reef for extended periods of time without the burden of lifting your head from the surface in order to breathe.

In crystal clear indigo blue water, white sand, vibrant living coral reefs, tropical fish, sometimes even dolphins and turtles – what more could you ask from on a snorkeling travel trip? There are many resorts to choose from in the Red Sea on your snorkeling travels which all offer their own charm, however our focus this month is on Shams Alam.

Shams Alam is a perfect ‘get away from it all’ destination for snorkeling travel, with access to more than thirty snorkeling or dive sites by day boat or rib. Situated further south than its neighbor Marsa Alam, Shams Alam offers fantastic, pristine Southern Red Sea snorkeling from a peaceful shore base, situated along some of the most scenic coastline in the Red Sea, it is an idyllic spot for snorkeling travel and if you want to escape the rat race. 


Like its more northerly neighbour Marsa Alam, Shams Alam offers a few sheltered sites and some incredibly beautiful fringing reefs which are excellent for snorkeling and are accessed from the shore. Making it ideal for snorkeling travel.
 
 

The coral gardens of Wadi Gamal Island are situated in relatively calm water with good visibility. There is a vast array of beautiful reef fish among pristine hard and soft corals. They range from shoals of bright yellow banner and angelfish, to menacing moray eels and predatory lionfish, from the territorial trigger and clownfish to the rainbow colours of parrotfish and wrasse an amazing sight to see on you snorkeling travels.

Sha’ab Sharm is a large, kidney-shaped reef lying atop a vast undersea mountain that is thought to be an ancient volcano. This site is well known for its dramatic, sheer walls swept by strong currents so care should be taken when snorkeling and you should have boat cover. You will be almost certainly accompanied by large schools of jacks and barracuda. This is also the patrolling ground of grey reef sharks, hammerheads and tuna an encounter with a shark is something you will never forget on your snorkeling travels.

Sataya, or Dolphin Reef, is situated at the southeast tip of the well known Fury Shoal reef system and offers several sheltered turquoise lagoons that are frequented by dolphins. If you have an encounter with dolphins this is another experience you will never forget on your snorkeling travels. This is also a popular night snorkeling site for spotting Spanish dancers, sleeping parrotfish, crabs and shrimps.

 

 

 


If you have never snorkeled in tropical waters before then the red sea has something to offer everyone and is an ideal place to get some winter sun a great all round destination for snorkeling travels



 

The Island of Mauritius


This months travel feature is focused on Mauritius. With the prospect of Autumn the thought of some winter sun in the Indian Ocean is very appealing. The Mauritian sea boasts a wide and diverse range of marine life, with shawls of jewelled fish, moray eels, magnificent coral beds and even the odd turtle or shark. Most good hotels on the island have there own “house reef” accessible directly from the beach. So get off your sun lounger and put on your mask snorkel and fins to see what these tropical oceans have to offer. Remember to take your fish identification card for the Indian Ocean with you so you can report back on your findings!.


For the more adventurous you can go scuba diving and not only enjoy the variety of marine life but also get the chance to see various wrecks dating back to the 17th century.
If you don‘t fancy get wet then you can still view the marine life from the comfort of the Blue Safari Submarine.


Whilst you are on the island check out the following snorkelling and diving sites.

Ile-d’Ambre – North East Good reefs and a wide range of sea life
Grand- Baie – North Home to Island Dive one of the islands major dive operators but also good reefs.
True-Aux-Biches – North West Several artificial reefs can be found in the area. These used to be a large fishing vessel. The “Aquarium” at 20m is an amazing coral patch and often sharks and turtles are seen here


Balaclava – North West Another interesting artificial reef site
Albion Lobster city!! There is an abundance of lobsters here but not so many fish
Flic-En-Flac – West This is an excellent snorkelling site with an abundance of fish. For divers there are two great dive sites. The Cathedral is a cave at 30m and The Rampart Suisse is a huge rocky formation which drops from 15m to 40m, its full of caverns where you will find lobsters and lots of fish, so it worth taking a small torch with you to look in all the nooks and crannies !
La Morne – South West Good reefs and fish life including sharks
Ile-Aux – Benitiers South West More excellent reefs and fish life
Blue Bay – South East Not many reefs but lots of crab lobsters, squid and shark sightings.
Grand Port – East Here is the wreck of Sirius a 19th century British Frigate and also Saint Geran a 19th century French Indiaman. This is an interesting dive with all form of sea life to be found on this site.

These are just a few of the many great snorkelling and diving sites on the island so have fun exploring !



Snorkelling in the UK?

When you mention the word snorkelling most people think of clear warm tropical and bright colourful coral and fish and what an amazing world the underwater world of far off oceans are. But there are many snorkelling sights around the UK. Even our cooler waters can provide a diverse range of sea life which is fascinating to observe. We have added a Fish guide to the British Isles and Northern Europe to our selections of guides to help you get the most from snorkelling in your native waters. Here are a few suggestions of good snorkelling sights around the UK.

SOUTH
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset


This bay has it all. Set in a marine reserve on the Jurassic coast, it has a variety of good dives with an abundance of UK marine life. Kimmeridge is well known to divers as a launching point with access to many wrecks across Purbeck. However, snorkellers know there’s no need to go further than the bay itself – Kimmeridge is shallow, ranging up to 7m on the edge of the bay.

In addition to reefs and ledges of black shale, there are lots of interesting species of weed and kelp, which vary the environment and wildlife. There are many fish, especially wrasse, blennies on the ledges. It is fairly sheltered except from the south. The bay is so shallow it sometimes resembles a huge rock pool, making it the ideal venue for snorkellers!

Stair Hole, Lulworth Cove
Stair Hole is a good spot for an experienced snorkel diver wishing to complete a more adventurous dive. Access can be gained by either climbing down the facing cliff – which can be a little challenging with equipment – or in good weather by snorkelling around from Lulworth Cove. It is a famous geological site forming a small lagoon area surrounded by cliffs, with a large hole in the outer cliff leading to open sea. To the left of the hole, there is a small cavern, St Clement’s Cave, with a sandy beach at the far end. To the right there is a tunnel through which you can easily snorkel at low water and it leads to the farthest part of the rock formation.

If you have snorkelled around to the site from Lulworth Cove, you can easily swim on the outer wall of the hole, where lobster can be found, as well as dogfish and spider crabs. Average depth is approximately 4m in the lagoon area, descending to 15m a little way out from the hole into open sea. The site is protected from all winds other than southerly and visibility can sometimes be good, but on average is about 3-5m.
 
Swanage, Old and New Pier

Both piers at Swanage can be rewarding sites for the snorkel diver. Access is obviously very easy – either by using the steps at the side of the pier or by a stride entry from the lower level of the New Pier into deeper water. The piers are protected from most winds, allowing a safe and calm area in which to snorkel, and abound with life, such as spider crabs and wrasse.

Visibility can be up to 10m, with a depth of 7m on a high water, allowing the snorkeller to survey from the surface before choosing a subject to dive down to. Under the New Pier, there are also many unexpected things to find that have either fallen from or been discarded by the strollers- we recently found a fisherman’s deckchair. The Old Pier is very good for spider crabs as well as some colourful anemones and soft corals.

SOUTH WEST
Drawna Rocks,Porthkerris Cove, Cornwall


Porthkerris Cove is popular with divers heading for the Manacles. However just to the north of this cove, you will find Drawna Rocks, a set of rocks breaking the surface which are superb for snorkelling. This is a very visual experience – seaweed grows thick on the rocks in deep greens, reds and even purple. Filtered by the light-green water, sunlight forms picturesque arcs through the water column.

The beach at Porthkerris is black and rocky – so you get a clear sea bed and decent visibility. The best snorkelling site is between the beach and the Drawna Rocks. There’s lots of opportunity for surface dives here in relatively sheltered water. Fish tend to be found along the rocks, with dogfish on the sea bed.

Prussia Cove, Cornwall


One of the prettiest coves in all of Cornwall, this is actually made up of three coves – Piskies, Bessys and Kings. Prussia Cove can only be reached on foot, the nearest parking is about half a mile away – which keeps it fairly quiet. There is not much beach, especially at high tide, and what there is consists mainly of pebbles.
The steep climb down from the car park will reward you with a beautiful expanse of shallow water. There’s lots to see in a rugged and stony area with many gullies to explore. The site is particularly notable for its jellyfish, which sometimes occur in dense masses, saving you a trip halfway around the world to Palau to snorkel in Jellyfish Lake!

WALES
Trearddur Bay, Anglesey

There are some fantastic snorkelling dives around Trearddur Bay. The easiest one to find is the bay opposite the dive shop on Ravenspoint Road. It’s a great snorkel around the island, with clear water and plenty of marine life. Quite a number of bays in the area offer good snorkelling, however, some include an overland trek.
Beware of the currents at both the inlets to the bay, especially when the tide is ebbing. It’s great fun using the narrower inlet when the tide is flowing, and when you can go on the snorkelling equivalent of a drift dive: it saves a lot of finning when returning to the bay.

A short walk through the caravan site to the right at the top of Ravenspoint Road will bring you onto the foreshore, where more small bays can be discovered – quiet and too shallow for scuba divers, but teeming with marine life.

NORTH WEST


Coniston Water
Lake dive; site on the east shore at the very northern end of Coniston Water, park in car park next to shore. Depth approx 5m in middle of lake, no boats with engines are allowed on the lake and the sailing boats do not come near the northern end.

NORTH

North Landing, North Yorkshire
Here’s a little treat from the northeast: a shore dive in a sheltered, sandy bay with rocky outcrops and plenty of life. North Landing is closed to scuba divers, but we’ve spoken with the local lifeboat crew and snorkelling there is not a problem.

To get there, drive from Bridlington Head towards Flamborough on the B1255. Keep on this road through Flamborough village towards Thornwick Bay and North Landing – the car park is on the right opposite a shop, and access to the site is via a steep road which leads to the now disused lifeboat station.

Flamborough is a peninsula, stretching 4 miles into the North Sea and bounded by steep chalk cliffs to the north and east. Underwater, you will find a good mixture of kelp, seaweed and fish, though visibility is highly variable.

Boggle Hole
Sea dive; site on beach next to Boggle Hole Youth Hostel which is situated at southern end of Robin Hoods Bay, between Robin Hoods Bay village and Ravenscar. Although this is the east coast the site faces North East, so a North or East wind can make this site undividable, but a great dive in the right conditions.

Farne Islands
Boat Dive; launch from Beadnell Bay just around from harbour, several good snorkels dives are available depending on the sea conditions. The Long Stone is ideal giving good anchorage and shallow water in bay on southern end of island. If your lucky you will get to play with the Farne Island seals !

SCOTLAND

The Caves, Loch Long
Your choices for entry are either via a tunnel under the bridge, which marks the dive site – or by a path that requires careful steps down a steep, slippery, gravel slope using branches and small tree trunks as handholds. Easy enough for a snorkeller, The pinnacles are about 50m to the left, so you can fin off in that direction, keeping fairly close to the rocky shore where the sea bed is clearly visible. At low tide, the tips of the pinnacles are only about 1m below the surface, you will be rewarded by the stunning sight of plumose anemones on several pinnacles.

Conger Alley
On the A83 between Succoth and Artgarten. Argyll.
There are 2 old piers which are best snorkelled at low tide when the legs of the piers are alive with crabs, mussels and starfish and the depth is only about 3m.

Trail Island
Near Millport on Great Cumbrae in the Clyde.
Wrasse a few crabs, evil-looking jellyfish as well as the possibility to see seals while many gulls cormorants watch snorkellers while sunning themselves on the rocky outcrops.


 

The Maldives

We love travelling at activeaqua and are happy to share our impression of the Madives with you .The image of the Maldives fixed in most visitors’ memories is an aerial view of an open ocean interspersed by tiny islands surrounded by beautifully patterned lagoons, beaches and reefs.


The amount of land that lies above sea level in the Maldives represents only a tiny fraction of the country’s overall land mass, most of which lies below sea level.
The relative isolation of the Maldives, far from any landmass, has led to a fabulous variety of marine species.

REEFS AND SNORKELLING / DIVING

The Maldives boasts an incredible number of dive and snorkel sites. The diverse nature of dive sites in the Maldives makes it suitable for divers ad snorkellers of all experience levels. Within each atoll there are sheltered reefs located away from fast flowing currents that are suitable for training new divers and snorkelling..



SEASONS AND DIVING

There are two distinct seasons in the Maldives. The North East monsoon from December through to April represents the Maldivian summer and is generally characterised by drier conditions and a current flow that runs from the North East through the atolls exiting out to the South West. Visibility on the Eastern sides of the atolls is excellent through the North East monsoon. The current is typically faster at the start of the monsoon and decreases in power as the season progresses. Water temperatures remain fairly consistent at around 28° centigrade. Although the visibility drops on the Western sides of the atolls during the North East season, divers are more likely to encounter Manta Rays and Whale Sharks.

The South West Monsoon from May to December shifts the focus on diving to the western sides of the atolls. The current flows from the South West through the atolls exiting out to the North East. Dive sites in the west experience wonderful clear visibility and slightly cooler water temperatures, attracting many of the shark species closer to the surface.

The two equinox months of May and November mark the transition of the Monsoons. Currents can be changeable and there is a slightly higher chance of stormy conditions.
Several years ago the effects of El Nino in the Maldives were widely publicised. The vast majority of their hard corals died from the effects of coral bleaching. Marine biologists predicted many years before the reefs recovered. Although there are still large areas of bleaching the recovery of some dive sites has been remarkably swift. In general reefs exposed to strong currents are recovering quicker.



Angaga

Located in the middle of South Ari atoll, Angaga benefits from a beautifully natural atmosphere and one of the finest beaches in the Maldives. Beyond the beach, there is plenty of safe swimming available in the sheltered sandy-bottomed lagoon.


HOUSE REEF

The house reef at Angaga is rewarding to both divers and snorkellers alike. There are four entry points onto the reef, which wraps around the entire island. Supporting plenty of soft coral and marine life, the house reef provides access to unlimited diving for experienced divers, dropping to 35 metres at its deepest point.

Ellaidhoo

Located in North East Ari Atoll, Ellaidhoo is considered by many in the Maldives to be one of the finest diving resorts in the country. .


HOUSE REEF

There are 5 entry points onto the reef, which encircles the entire island and drops dramatically to around 30 metres. The house reef arguably provides one of the best shore dives in the Maldives along its southern wall. At various points around the reef there are overhangs, caves and cleaning stations. Soft corals cover the drop off, which starts just 3 metres from the surface. At the end of the jetty a small wreck of an inter island cargo ship completes a near perfect house reef. Experienced Divers and snorkellers can enjoy 24 hour access to the house reef and can expect to see both Grey and Black tip sharks, Sting rays, Eagle rays and Turtles, along side a vibrant reef system.

Eriyadu

Eriyadu is a perfectly formed divers island, boasting a fine white beach and an excellent house reef that wraps around the entire island. Conditions on the house reef make the island suitable for both divers and snorkellers.


HOUSE REEF

Eriyadu house reef surrounds the island. The whole reef is accessible via 5 entry points with the majority of the reef formed into a gentle slope falling to 30 metres. Coral formations on the reef are both interesting and varied with the east edge forming a particularly dramatic wall. The reef’s formation makes the island an excellent choice for snorkellers, as a lot of the colour and marine life is easily visible from the surface.

Hilton Maldives

Situated in South West Ari atoll, Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa offers superb diving opportunities from one of the finest island resorts in the world..


HOUSE REEF

Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa has an accessible house reef, which runs down the inner atoll side of the main island. Snorkelling on the island is particularly good with a gently shelving reef that has numerous points of interest. There is an extensive amount of soft coral covering the reef and a prolific amount of marine life, including a resident population of eagle rays. These rays are often attracted to the lights at night on both the jetty linking the two islands as well as the underwater restaurant!

Vilamendhoo

Located on the Southeast corner of Ari atoll, Vilamendhu lies in the heart of some of the most thrilling dive sites in the Maldives. Situated between two channels this long oval island boasts an exceptional house reef that attracts both divers and snorkellers back year after year.


HOUSE REEF

Vilamendhu is a long, thin island that lies parallel with the prevailing seasonal currents. The house reef encircles the island and at 900m in length is one of the largest accessible house reefs in the Maldives. At various points down either side of the island, the edge of the reef is just metres from the shoreline and beach. There are 10 entry points on to the house reef, which varies in depth from 28 to 35 metres.

The reef is beautifully formed with several shallow caves and overhangs. Owing to its location gentle currents sweep down either side of the island attracting many pelagic species in towards the reef, which itself supports an abundance of marine life.
 
 
Why Prescription swim Goggles should not be used for Diving or Snorkeling
 

Prescription goggles are an essential part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set. If you wear glasses or contact lenses you can benefit from prescription goggles when you go snorkeling. When you buy your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set then be sure to included prescription goggles. At www.activeaqua.com we sell a great range snorkeling equipment and snorkel sets and they are all available with prescription goggles.

It still amazes us when we talk to customers who are buying snorkel set and snorkeling equipment from www.activeaqua.com that they can also buy prescription goggles and no longer need to struggle with their vision when snorkeling . If you have bad vision then prescription goggles are a must. Use them with your snorkel set or snorkelling equipment, use them for snorkelling or swimming.

When you go on holiday you spend a lot of money on your holiday and there are so many wonderful things to see in the underwater world so investing in prescription goggles for swimming or snorkeling is a valuable part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set. You would not want to miss out would you?

Many swimmers use prescription goggles in the swimming pool but they don’t realise that you can also get prescription goggles as part of your snorkel set or snorkeling equipment. However it is not a good idea to wear prescription goggles designed for swimming for snorkeling. You should only wear prescription goggles designed for snorkeling as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set. It can be very bad for your eyes to try and snorkel in prescription goggles designed for swimming. So buy the correct equipment for the correct activity. Prescription goggles for snorkeling should be part of your snorkeling equipment or set these typically have a soft “skirt” which cover your nose this means you can equalise the pressure of your snorkel set or snorkeling equipment prescription goggles. Prescription goggles designed for swimming have no nose pocket so you cannot equalise the air pocket if you use these prescription goggles as part of your snorkel set or snorkeling equipment. So you can get mask squeeze which is a feeling of your eyes being sucked out very nasty!!. So you can see it’s not worth risking damaging your eyes by buying the wrong type of prescription goggles for your snorkel set or snorkelling equipment.

I love choosing new prescription goggles when I am looking to buy a new mask for my snorkel equipment or snorkel set. I get very excited because you know that lovely set of prescription goggles is going to let you see so much and enjoy so much you are going to share many adventures together. Say you had not invested in prescription goggles to go snorkeling in, say you had decided not to included prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling set, just think how upset you be if you has an encounter with a lovely turtle or dolphin and all you could see was a blur or if you had no prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set you would not be able to see the tiny little fish living on the coral heads in the reef. You have saved for and planned your snorkeling adventure all year and you decided to not bother buying prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkeling set, you miss out on an opportunity of a life time. What a shame.

Prescription goggles are not expensive here at www.activeaqua.com, we have tried to find an affordable way for you to buy prescription goggles as part of your snorkel set or snorkeling equipment prices start from £69.95. So you see  they are affordable and in fact a must if you are going to get the most from your snorkeling holidays.

Its not just the enjoyment you miss out on if you have not bought prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set it’s also a matter of safety. Imagine going snorkeling off a boat and surfacing and not being able to recognise your boat, if you had invested a small amount of money in prescription goggles as part of your a snorkeling set or snorkeling equipment you would save yourself all that anxiety. The other scenario could be even worse. Imagine if you come out of the water, the current has drifted and you are along the shore,  you can’t see where you are you can’t see any familiar landmarks, everything is a blur you can’t find your beach towel or hotel. You can’t even see to reunite yourself with your glasses. All this worry is so unnecessary if you buy prescription goggles as part of your snorkels set or snorkeling equipment.

So for enjoyment of your holiday, invest in prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set. To avoid your eyes being damaged and for safety, invest in prescription goggles as part of your snorkeling equipment or snorkel set.