The sea surrounding the Isle of Arran on the west coast of Scotland is bursting with marine life. For over a decade, parts of the area have been highly protected against any extraction and therefore an abundance of fauna and flora inhabit the waters making them a special and unique place to explore.
A new snorkel trail featuring some of Arran’s most beautiful bays and beaches was launched recently. The self-led trail identifies areas for beginner and advanced snorkellers to explore all around Arran’s coast and discover what lies beneath the island’s waves.
The Arran Snorkel Trail – part of an expanding network of trails around Scotland – has been developed in partnership by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) as part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas programme, with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Bruce Wilson, the Trust’s Public Affairs Manager, said: “As part of our Living Seas programme we are trying to raise awareness of the amazing life beneath our waves and encouraging snorkelling is a great way to do this. People often associate snorkelling with exotic locations like the Caribbean, but Scotland’s seas have just as much to offer, even if they are a few degrees colder.
“It’s been great to work with the passionate team at COAST, who are instrumental in many great local, regional and national marine conservation projects. This is a very special island and getting under the water reveals even more of this great place.”
The waters of Arran are increasingly popular with visiting scuba divers and with the launch of the new snorkel trail, the partnership charities hope that locals and visitors alike are encouraged to get in the water and inspired to fight for the protection of our seas.
“To truly believe in something, you need to see it for yourself,” says COAST’s Outreach and Communications Manager, Jenny Stark: “Our seas are in a precarious position and it is up to all of us to do our part to help protect them. With the launch of the snorkel trail on Arran, we hope that more people are encouraged to get in the water to see for themselves the wonderful marine life that lives here and therefore want to take steps to protect it.”
Local MSP Kenneth Gibson, who was instrumental in getting the high level of protection for the waters around Arran, recognises the value that this trail can bring to the region. He adds: “Marine tourism accounts for 14% of all of Scotland’s tourism and I am delighted to see the Arran Snorkel Trail come to fruition as I believe it will really add value to Arran and put the island up there as a sustainable marine holiday destination.
“Thanks to COAST and the local community, Arran’s wealth of marine life has seen remarkable recovery in the last decade; it is great that locals and visitors now have a guide to afford them the opportunity to see it for themselves.”
The Suit Ocean Team leads the Ultimate Curacao Snorkeling Adventure
As passionate residents of our Dutch Caribbean Island, we must congratulate The Suit Ocean Team for creating more awareness about the importance of protecting our beautiful fringing reef systems in Curacao.
The film, Curacao Underwater Kunuku (Kunuku is Papiamento for Garden), not only documents this ultimate snorkeling adventure showing you how easy it is for everyone to access and enjoy a snorkel or diving experience, but it also showcases the interaction between man and nature, highlighting the beauty of underwater life while promoting conservation, preservation and the need to protect these vital habitats.
These are the key ingredients to this beautiful short film documentary. Watch NOW and please enjoy our “CURACAO UNDERWATER KUNUKU”.
This film, produced by the Lawrence Mensa Foundation (LMF), is also available in multiple languages including: Spanish, Papiamentu, Dutch, Portuguese and German.
7 best places to go snorkeling in Brazil
With more than 7,000 km of coastline dotted with bustling cities, white-sand beaches and coral reefs, Brazil offers a unique mix of culture, history and world-class snorkeling. This fascinating country is home to the largest coral reef system in the South Atlantic Ocean and has numerous snorkeling destinations. Between them, they include wreck diving meccas, vibrant coral reefs, marine parks, and a UNESCO World Heritage Center. But where are the best places to go snorkeling in this vast country? Let’s find out in our round-up of the best snorkeling in Brazil.
Recife is the main city in the state of Pernambuco and takes its name from the many reefs, or ‘recifes’, that surround its shoreline. It is known as the shipwreck capital of Brazil and boasts dozens of shipwrecks, from historic 19th Century ships through to modern vessels. All of which are thriving artificial reefs surrounded by huge schools of fish.
Whilst you won’t be able to access many of the wrecks as a snorkeler, Recife’s numerous reefs offer easy snorkeling in warm, clear waters all year. There are numerous reef fish to observe among the patch reefs, plus sharks, sea turtles and rays.
2) Fernando de Noronha
Take a trip 400 km offshore from Recife and explore a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. This volcanic archipelago offers the best snorkeling in Brazil and has countless undisturbed snorkeling spots.
Famed for its clear waters and spectacular topography, Fernando de Noronha is made up of 21 islands that are home to seabirds, reptiles and abundant marine life – including spinner dolphins. It is a sanctuary for wildlife and a National Marine Park that offers exceptional scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling.
Fernando’s waters are extremely important as a breeding and feeding ground for tuna, sharks, sea turtles and marine mammals. Go snorkeling there and you have a good chance of encountering the resident dolphins and schools of pelagic fish.
There are caves, swim-throughs, tunnels and caverns dotted around the islands, with beautiful rock formations that host an array of reef fish. With lagoons and tidal pools as well, Fernando de Noronha is a must for any ocean fan.
3) Porto de Galinhas
Porto de Galinhas is a small coastal city an hour’s drive down the coast from Recife and has a long golden beach with reefs sitting just offshore. Simply step off the beach into the warm, azure waters and you’ll find lots of colorful fish and reef life.
The waters are shallow, clear and calm, making it perfect for snorkelers. There are also rock formations that have created snorkeling pools, with hot water around 28°C. This is a great place for novices to learn how to snorkel or try scuba diving for the first time.
4) Ilha Grande
The oceanic islands near Rio de Janeiro are a must for snorkelers. These islands attract diverse marine life and are the perfect place to spot and photograph numerous fish species, plus moray eels, rays, sea turtles, octopi, and visiting dolphins.
Ilha Grande is one of the most famous islands and has clear waters, forest trails, and excellent snorkeling. You can cruise around the island, dipping in and out of the water and exploring the soft, white-sand beaches all day long.
5) Regiao dos Lagos
Regiao dos Lagos in the state of Rio de Janeiro is a popular region that has some of the most famous beaches in Brazil. This area receives nutrient-rich, cold waters from the South Atlantic Ocean, attracting an array of different marine species. There are lobsters, sea turtles, friendly dolphins, pelagic fish, and rays in these rich waters.
Costa Azul is one of the most famous places there and is thought to have some of the best diving in Brazil, thanks to its many dive sites, plus dive centers that offer kit hire for all your snorkeling needs. There are numerous snorkeling spots and softy, sandy beaches with clear, shallow waters.
6) Abrolhos Archipelago
The Abrolhos archipelago is a group of five uninhabited islands off Brazil’s southern Bahia coast and is home to the Abrolhos Marine National Park. This unique park offers some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world and is famous for its rare coral formations.
The crystal-clear waters of the Abrolhos archipelago are home to the most extensive coral reefs in all of the South Atlantic Ocean and host around 19 coral species, including brain coral. These are some of the most interesting reefs in South America.
Many of these reefs are called ‘chapeiroes’ because they grow upwards in columns that resemble huge mushrooms. These unusual reefs host around 160 fish species and numerous sea turtles. The marine park is also known for its visiting humpback whales. Visit from July to November for the best chance of spotting these ocean giants.
7) Sao Paolo
Sao Paolo is Brazil’s largest city and is a dazzling cultural, architectural, and fashion center with iconic buildings and a great selection of museums. It is also home to the Laje de Santos Marine Park, a famous migratory route for manta rays.
Sao Paolo’s coast is dotted with multiple dive and snorkeling sites in the north and south, which can be reached with a short boat ride. The Laje de Santos Marine Park is the most popular place for divers and snorkelers in the area. As well as numerous visiting mantas and sea turtles, this marine park hosts pelagic fish, rocky-bottom fish, crustaceans and South Atlantic species.
For the best chance of encountering manta rays at Sao Paola, visit from March to September.
Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.
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