Snorkeling on Roatan...
An Adventure the Whole Family Can Do!
Snorkeling on Roatan is an amazing, and inexpensive, Family Activity. At West Bay Beach the Coral Reef starts onshore at the southern edge of the Beach and extends out parallel to the Beach less than a couple hundred yards. Just walk down the white, flour sand Beach, walk into the water, put your Mask and Fins on, and, if you are lazy - as I am - lay on your 'Float Tube' and just relax! No need for a boat excursion out to the Coral Reef here.
Some of the Corals are within 'inches' of the surface. And a lot are within the 3 to 6 foot range from the surface - excellent 'close-up' views. But resist the temptation of standing on the Corals as that is a big 'no-no'!
Generally, because of minimal current and wave action, very little energy is expended, enjoying the underwater 'scenery'.
Before you know it, several hours have passed while you are engrossed in watching the Colorful Fishes, Coral Structures, Plants and 'Critters'. Which brings up a major 'to do'. Make sure you have lots of water-proof, high SPF sunscreen on your 'backside' or you will probably become 'overcooked'. While you are 'at it', you might as well put some on your 'front side' also. Looking up from the water can get your face sunburned as the sun's rays are being reflected off the surface of the water.
The West Bay to Sandy Bay part of the Reef System is designated a Marine Reserve/Park to protect it for future generations. An Outstanding Accomplishment! The following are a list of 'rules' that must be followed so that all persons, now and in the future, can continue to enjoy what you are now enjoying.
REGULATIONS FOR THE SANDY BAY-WEST BAY MARINE RESERVE
- Wastes are not to be disposed of within a three mile distance of the Marine Reserve.
- Plastics are totally prohibited.
- Harpooning of fish is illegal.
- Divers are not permitted to use gloves.
- It is not permitted to touch, stand on, take or remove marine organisms which are alive or dead, including: soft or hard shelled snails, conchs, fish or any other forms of life.
- It is not permitted to throw garbage into the ocean or on the beaches.
- The following sports are not permitted in West Bay: water-skiing, jet-skiing and other similar.
- Within the Marine Reserve, boats should maintain a cautious speed.
- Boats are not to drop anchor or tie up beyond the extension of the dock.
For all Snorkelers:
- You are within a Marine Park and must abide by the rules. Please do not touch or remove anything from the water other than recent trash (as animals may live in old stuff), and avoid contact with coral (as it is a living organism and may result in its death).
- When kitting up, find a shallow sandy area (free of sea grass and/or coral) to put fins and masks on in an effort to avoid harming marine life.
- While snorkeling, you should avoid shallow areas (2ft or less). These areas usually produce waves, which may result in the snorkeler having direct contact with the reef.
- Being in salt water, you can float; therefore refrain from standing anywhere as you may damage coral with your fins. Avoid standing in rubble, sea grass, and coral areas. If you have to stand, only stand in sandy areas and look where your feet go!
- If you see other snorkelers standing or touching the coral, please inform them that they should not do so, as they are damaging a living organism.
- There is usually minimal boat traffic or currents, but snorkelers should proceed with caution at all times, especially when hearing a boat engine.
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