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Snorkeling at Silver Sands - Where

Tour From The West Beach

It is very easy to simply walk into the ocean from the shore and casually snorkel for as long you wish. The "start-up costs" only involve putting on your snorkeling equipment and a pair of beach shoes, modified flippers, or regular flippers (in which case you have to walk in backwards to make any progress).

A good place to start is just off the East corner of the house called Ebb Tide (No. 27). Walk into the water, picking a path through the sea grasses and discarded conch shells being careful to avoid the occasional sea urchin whose spikes would be very unpleasant to pick out of your foot or leg. After a few feet the sea grasses disappear, and you can dive or jump into the shallow, wonderfully tepid waters. Immediately you'll see schools of small doctor fish, surgeon fish, perhaps a blue tang in its baby color of yellow, and wrasses of various colors, as well as baby fish of other varieties swimming around isolated pieces of coral.

Don't stop now, but continue swimming, checking back over your shoulder occasionally to keep yourself swimming straight out from the Easternmost corner of Ebb Tide. At some point you'll find yourself entering a "valley" with coral on either side. There'll be isolated mounds of coral on the right hand side that are fun to explore. Here you'll find small soldier fish and squirrel fish, damsel fish, perhaps some sergeant majors, the usual wrasses, doctor fish, surgeon fish, parrot fish, and some blue tangs.


Continue on swimming out into the valley. Now it's time to concentrate on the left hand side. Here is a coral mound just teeming with schools of fish, those you've seen before, only much larger and in amazing abundance, but the stars of this reef are the grunts. They cover the reef swirling back and forth. It's great fun to learn to recognize the several different varieties. As you explore this area, if you're lucky, you may see a group of squid lined up looking at you. They are friendly, curious creatures that are as fascinated by you as you are by them. Usually there are eight to fifteen or so of various sizes, but once my husband and I saw 32 lined up (that is not a "fish" story!). You also might see a manta ray scuttling along the bottom, though that's much more common out on the big reef.

Once you learn to hover quietly over rocky outcrops with hiding places you will see eels and puffer fish. Beautiful butterfly fish and the occasional angel fish provide bright spots in the tapestry of grunts, soldier fish, and blue tangs. There is a large brain coral just to the East of this coral reef. Swim around that taking time to look at what congregates there and then head due East to what we call the "monster" rock. This is a very large rock a few feet north of the coral reef that always holds a surprise or two, such as an eel or an angel fish or a high hat, among its soldier fish and squirrel fish.

Now you can head back to shore, either through the valley you came up or if you're more adventuresome over the coral reef heading in the direction of Jamahome. As you swim along, you'll see several coral "tables" with crevasses surrounding them. These are marvelous things to investigate (good places to see a puffer fish) but as always, particularly in a rough sea, be careful not to swim too close. Finally just in front of Jamahome or off slightly to the East there are some interesting little nooks that may on occasion have all sorts of interesting fish, even a flounder which blends in almost perfectly with the white sand.

Alternative routes:

  • When you're out on the coral reef to the West of the valley keep going West across another valley, and you'll reach another coral reef. It has pretty much the same fish as the coral reef you've just been at but you may see a new type of butterfly fish.
  • When you're at the "monster" rock, instead of heading toward Jamahome, stay along the edge of the coral reef going East and then at the jetty turn south and come into shore at Rum Jetty. You'll see more fish and an occasional surprise like the orange-spotted file fish.

Tour From The Swimming Beach

There is a small coral reef in the West part of the beach with a few fish, but to see more fish, go to the far East of the beach near to the steps and then swim East. This is a different snorkeling experience from that described above because the rocks are closer so you see the fish up closer. It's a good idea to wear a life jacket the first time you go here because the coral is so close to the surface it can be a bit rough. There are interesting things to see in the pieces of coral continuing East around to the deserted beach beyond Silver Sands' property. (Do not go onto the deserted beach. In all probability no one is there but if they are, they do not want any visitors, and you should respect that.)

Tour From A Boat

Get in touch with the Mysilversands Rep who will put you in touch with someone to take you to the big reef. He'll take you to a good place and patiently wait for you to snorkel for 45-50 minutes (an hour all together with the ride there and back included). Here you'll see some of the same but also many different fish from those you saw on the smaller reefs. You'll notice schools of blue and brown chromis, lots of parrot fish, some very colorful larger wrasses, loads of sergeant fish and damsel fish. Here you're also much more likely to see a manta ray on the bottom in the valleys within the coral reef. You may even see a barracuda. (But in all the snorkeling we've done, we've never seen a shark because supposedly they stay out beyond the big reef.)

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