Looking at the Union Island reef that protects the Clifton Harbor you would not think much of snorkeling it because it is too shallow, but you would be wrong. Newlands Reef (what my guide calls it) is very shallow and contains Green Island and Happy Island (I wrote about this island last week), both of which are very small. In between the islets I found what looked like a channel and decided to check it out with the snorkel. WOW!!!
Once you are in the channel it starts about 6 feet deep and 20 feet across. On either side it is less than a foot deep and covered in finger coral. As you swim down the channel it gets shallower and narrower, but the finger coral is always on the sides. By the time I was at the head of the channel it was a foot deep and the current was pushing against me. I came to a shallow hole like area behind a great rock and coral that had lots of fish. This was so cool to watch.
It did not look like I had anywhere else to go, but I want to make sure. Boy was I wrong! I continued snaking my way along the narrow, shallow channel being very careful not to touch or damage any of the coral all around me. All of a sudden the reef drops down and I was on the outside of it.
Now I was seeing even more coral, fish, colors, etc and the water depth was 20-25 feet deep. I even saw two different eels. One of them was a tiny baby and so cool to watch. When it was time to head back, I followed my course exactly, because looking at the reef you can not tell where the channel is. I hit it perfectly, but my buddy missed and was in super shallow water trying to figure out how to get to where I was.
I can not wait to sail back to Union Island, because I want to snorkel the reef again. This time I am going to remember to take my camera!!!! ????